WLP002 English Ale

  • Item #U11
  • Price: $8.99
  • Part #
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In stock, will ship on Sunday, December 4

A classic ESB strain from one of England's largest independent breweries. This yeast is best suited for English style ales including milds, bitters, porters, and English style stouts. This yeast will leave a beer very clear, and will leave some residual sweetness. Attenuation: 63-70% Flocculation: Very High Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 65-68°F Alcohol Tolerance: Medium

Reviews from White Labs

" ... there were distinct differences"
By: Rick Kocher
Date: Aug. 26, 2011
Beer brewed: Smoked Cherry Porter
Comments: I made this smoked cherry porter and I used this in one 5 gallon carboy and the WLP013 London ale in the other carboy. They both turned out great, but there were distinct differences. The 002 left a fruiter, more cherry tasting porter. I put a 3lb can of cherry puree in each carboy. However, the 013 left almost no cherry flavors, but the smokey flavors in the 013 were very evident. There was very little if any smoke character in the 002. Very interesting experiment. (Note: This review also appears under WLP013).

"Leaves an English hint of ... "
By: Brewer Dave
Date: Sept. 18, 2009
Beer brewed: Moose Drool Clone, Pumpkin Ale
Comments: Superb yeast! Let your beer remain in the primary fermenter for 2 weeks and you will have crystal clear beer. Leaves an English hint of flavor/sweetness. English ales demand this yeast!

" ... this is the yeast you want ... "
By: Les Nadon
Date: Feb. 16, 2009
Beer brewed: English Bitter
Comments: My absolute favorite yeast -- always gets going in about 4-6 hours (with a starter) and ferments completely in 3 days. Sometimes, the ferment gets going so active, it looks like it is (almost) boiling! I usually let it rest for another day or two, keg it, drink it! If you've ever had the real thing from a hand pump in a British Pub, this is the yeast you want to use to reproduce it.

"Any advice?"
By: DB
Date: May 28, 2008
Beer brewed: Smoked Ale
Comments: My tip: After reading the reviews I used a full 2 oz. of NB yeast nutrient to make a 1 pint starter 6 hrs. before pitching at 75F. After pitching I put a cork on the carboy and vigorously rolled it back and forth for a minute (I learned this technique from watching Papazian in 'American Brew'). Fermentation began almost immediately. It was a late boil, and after 24 hrs I simply left a window open to cool it over night. To my surprise the flocculation actually caused the temperature to rise back to 76F after initially cooling to 70F. Question: Does anyone have any advice or opinion on the use of this yeast for a smoked ale? I use alder chips and the flavor is kind of mellow, so I am a little worried it won't be apparent in the finished product.

" ... adds a nice fruitiness ... "
By: Xak
Date: January 01, 2008
Beer brewed: ESB, bitter
Comments: I brew ESB and bitters often and I love this yeast. Leaves the beer very clear and adds a nice fruitiness and leaves some sweetness. When using a 16oz starter, the yeast shows active fermentation in about 3hrs and is usually complete in about 2 days.

"My clearest beer to date"
By: T.J. Vitolo
Date: November 29, 2007
Beer brewed: Imperial Porter
Comments: Brewed a High Gravity Porter 8.8% ABV. Looking for residual sweetness to balance the high IBU's. At first I was skeptical that the strain could handle almost 9% ABV. Not only did it handle it, but it fermented down to the FG in 7 days. Racked to secondary, flocculation was awesome. My clearest beer to date. It took 6 weeks to carbonate in the bottle. Another 8 weeks to blend and mellow. This beer is a winner. The quality, characteristics and hardiness of this strain created a perfect winter brew. OG 1.090, FG 1.024, AA 72%. Unrefined sucrose in 15% of the Grain Bill.

"This yeast was great for a malty brown ale"
By: Doug C.
Date: November 02, 2007
Beer brewed: Brown Ale
Comments: This yeast was great for a malty brown ale. The lower attenuation really allowed the beer to keep a sweet flavor profile. The fermentation was right around 70F and the esters complimented the malt bill extremely well.

" ... the yeast is worth the wait"
By: Rob
Date: October 16, 2007
Beer brewed: 2 Pale ales and a brown ale
Comments: The yeast gives a great flavor but always makes me a little tense at first. For me it has taken a day for it to really get going and on all 3 batches I regularly have to agitate it. I do not have a wort aerator so I would think that would help quite a bit. However, the yeast is worth the wait and I have obviously come back to it. Contamination has never been an issue.

"Great malty flavor"
By: Anonymous
Date: June 04, 2007
Beer brewed: English Brown
Comments: Excellent flocculation; fermented first week between 63 and 69 degrees F, and second week between 72 and 75 degrees. Great malty flavor with light nut and earthy flavors. Great success with Kent Goldings for bitter and Fuggles for flavor/aroma.

"Wait before separating yeast from beer"
By: Dr. Evil
Date: June 04, 2007
Beer brewed: English Ales
Comments: This yeast can produce diacetyl (butter scotch flavor) if you do not leave the yeast in contact with the beer long enough. Wait 3 days after your air lock stops bubbling before separating the yeast from the beer.

" ... a nice 'bready' taste."
By: Anonymous
Date: May 21, 2007
Beer brewed: Mild
Comments: I am very pleased with this yeast strain when brewing a mild. I've gone beyond the recommended temp, and kicked it up to 72 degrees and had wonderful results. Very pleasant esters (plum notes...), and a nice "bready" taste. The average score I've been getting in competitions since brewing with this yeast strain at these temps is 39, with a high of 43.

"Works great for the style."
Date: April 07, 2007
Beers Brewed: mild, ESB, brown mild
Comments: My favorite yeast! Works great for the styles listed. Very clean. Is slow to start, but if you agitate it a bit within the first 10-12 hours, it kicks into high gear. Maltiness really comes through. Beer is very clear when finished. If producing authentic English ales, and the water has been treated with added minerals, the mineral tastes are more enhanced.

" ... pretty clean."
By: 925
Date: March 05, 2007
Beer brewed: Bastard
Comments: Basically hopped with Amarillo and Goldings. Yeast is pretty clean, but really masks hop aroma and flavor. So flocculent that friends will think your beer is filtered.

"It made a nice tasting beer. "
By: Patrick Kahle
Date: Nov. 30, 2006
Beers brewed: ESB
Comments: "This left more residual sweetness than I thought it would. Here are the specifics...
O. G. – 1.056 = 7.4% F.G. – 1.018 = 2.3%
It sure made a nice tasting beer... I think I'll try a brown ale with it next time."

FAQ for this yeast
I have used White Labs Liquid yeast on two separate occasions. WLP002 for a brown ale and WLP004 for an Irish stout. Using one vial in 5 gallons of wort, the wort showed no signs of fermentation after 2-3 days. Then I added one packet of dry yeast, and within a few hours, fermentation began. I am wondering why the beer doesn't ferment with only the liquid yeast? I purchase it from homebrew store, and it is kept refrigerated until it is used. Also, to my knowledge, neither had expired. 

Sometimes they just need some agitation, which is sort of what happened when the dry yeast was added. It gave nucleation sites for gas to escape and signs of fermentation to be evident. That happens a lot when fermentations don't start; you add another yeast, and soon you see fermentation. It isn't actually what was just added but the kick-start into the yeast. Both WLP002 and 004 are flocculent, and they can settle to the bottom after pitching. With flocculent strains it is even more important to stir the fermenter in the beginning. Either leaving a fish-pump type device with an air filter on for 1 hour post-pitching or stirring the fermenter a few times a day will keep the yeast in suspension and drive out CO2.

Is WLP002 English Ale supposed to be grainy? I got the yeast out of the cooler and shook it up as I normally do, and it appeared to be coagulated. I've never used this strain of yeast before -- is this normal? 

Yes, the yeast often looks coagulated - that is the high flocculation characteristic of this yeast. You will see a similar look with our other English Style strains as well. You have to give it lots of aeration at the beginning. Shake the carboy every 15-30 minutes for the first few hours after pitching. Because the yeast is so flocculent, it gets easily caught in the trub and hops. 

I am a long-time user of your product but I am a relative newcomer to reusing yeast. About 2 months ago, I made an ESB using your WLP002 English Ale yeast. I was very pleased with the results. I made a starter and split the starter between the beer fermenter and a sanitized storage jar. I then stored the yeast in the storage jar in a refrigerator at 34-40F for about two months. I opened the jar yesterday to make a new starter for a Rye Pale Ale and I noticed a sour smell from the solution in the jar. Can I use this yeast or will it impart an off-flavor?

The sour smell can be a problem, or it can just be the smell of concentrated yeast stored for a while. The biggest problem would be a bacterial contamination, which would smell sour. If you’re going to store yeast, it is best to sterilize your glassware in a pressure cooker. The other problem would be yeast cell death, autolysis, which could also give a sour like aroma. Two months is a long time to store yeast in the refrigerator. Generally, when reusing yeast from a fermentation, half of the yeast dies in the first month. So by 2 months you only have 10-30% living cells. For White Labs Yeast, the yeast is lab grown with a special media and process, extending the shelf life. If you want to store yeast after fermentation, we would recommend a maximum of two weeks and releasing the pressure in your container every other day. Some people do go longer than that, but the results are mixed. It is also difficult without a lab to check the quality of the yeast before reusing. So, to answer your question, there is really no way to know if you can use the yeast at this point without a microscope and plates. Best not to risk it. 

I am attempting to brew with WLP English Ale yeast. However, the yeast production in the vial appears different from other yeast strains that I have used many times before -- it almost looks coagulated. I am worried that during transport and storage my vial spoiled? I have just placed the yeast in a starter solution to see if I will get any results. My Question is: How can you tell if a WLP yeast product in the vial is viable?

You have described our English Ale yeast to the tee. WLP002 is highly flocculent yeast and "coagulates” together; it is totally normal. You can’t tell by looking at a vial of yeast whether it is viable or not. We know from studying our yeast that the yeast has a shelf life of four months from packaging. Even after that, there is still viable yeast, but the percentage of viable cells is not considered pitchable anymore. Most brewers will make a starter when close to or after the best before date.


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