WLP001 California Ale Yeast

This yeast is famous for its clean flavors, balance and ability to be used in almost any style ale. It accentuates the hop flavors and is extremely versatile.

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Play Audio Description of WLP001 California Ale Yeast »

Chris White, president of White Labs, discusses the company's strains.

Style Performance Listing

A listing of how this style ranks amongst different brew styles, on a scale from 0 to 4.

StyleRatingStyleRating
American Style Cream Ale4 American Style Wheat Ale4
Fruit Beer2 Herbs & Spice Beer4
Specialty Beers4 Specialty Honey Ales4
Smoke Flavored Beer4 Golden Ale Canadian Style Ale4
German Style Kolsch2 Classic English Style Pale Ale2
English Style India Pale Ale1 American Style Pale Ale4
American Style India Pale Ale4 American Style Amber4
English Style Bitter2 English Style ESB2
Scottish Style Ale2 Irish Style Red Ale2
English Style Brown Ale2 American Style Brown Ale4
German Style Brown and Dusseldorf Altbier2 Robust Porter2
Brown Porter2 Classic Irish Style Dry Stout2
Foreign Style Stout2 Sweet Stout1
Oatmeal Stout2 English Old Ale English & American Strong Ale4
Barley Wine Strong Ale4 Strong Scotch Ale2
Imperial Stout2 Imperial IPA4

Reviews

Feedback and experiences from previous customers. Want to leave a review of your own?

“Clean, smooth flavor for a honey blonde ale”

By: Spyder | Date: Apr., 13th 2014 | Beer(s) Brewed: Honey Blonde Ale

Was the first time I used it, and it was in a honey blonde ale. The beer turned out perfect. Clean, smooth finish, highlighted by honey and the sweet orange peel I added. The fermentation was vigorous, and needed a blowoff even though the OG was only average (1.05) This yeast produces a high quality brew, and is now my go to strain!

“"This stuff is crazy!"”

By: Tim | Date: Mar., 1st 2014 | Beer(s) Brewed: stouts,brown ale, pale ale

This yeast is the epitome of the saying "Relax..have a homebrew" I can't screw up with this strain. Had some hidden in the back of my freezer for 8 months in some glycol solution. Decided to see if it was still viable so I threw it into some starter wort....BOOM! it was only about a teaspoon of slurry in two cups of wort and it rocketed off the next morning....had to brew a quick batch of stout after that! (plan to wash the cake and store away some again afterwards)
Smells clean and slightly malty. This strain is a must for beginner brewers..very user friendly!

“All around perfect yeast”

By: Jig Slinger Brew co | Date: Feb., 11th 2014 | Beer(s) Brewed: blondes pales ipas stouts and meads

I use this strain in almost everything I brew from blonde ale to milk stout to even my mead! I love it!!

“I have won numerous home brewing awards using White Labs California yeast”

By: Chris Ormsby | Date: Feb., 19th 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: Ales, Specials

I have won numerous home brewing awards using White Labs California yeast. This is my go to yeast! Fast, clean and clear. I cannot say enough good things about this strain. Thank you!

“Just used this on my breakfast stout and it was one of the cleanest beers I have produced”

By: Morgan | Date: Jan., 6th 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: Breakfast Stout

Just used this on my breakfast stout and it was one of the cleanest beers I have produced. All the coffee, chocolate, and hops popped out of the 8% ABV stout with no off-flavors. Just used it again for a scottish ale and I am excited to see the results.

“First time using this yeast”

By: Eric Mendoza | Date: Jul., 19th 2012 | Beer(s) Brewed: Rye IPA

First time using this yeast I made a 1L starter with two vials I pitched at around 74 and with in an hour I had bubbling from into a one gallon carboy from the blow off after a few hours I switched it out and when I smelled what was inside it smelled like peaches just nice ripe peaches. I think the yeast is complimenting the hops very very well can't wait to taste and smell the finished product.

“Very Good Stuff!”

By: John McGee | Date: Jun., 23rd 2012 | Beer(s) Brewed: IPA, IIPA

I use it all the time for ipas. I have never used a better strain. Very good stuff.

“That's from start to drinkin”

By: Joe | Date: Dec., 4th 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: Amber Ale

I am impatient and have just started brewing lagers. I don't have the capacity for 2 month beers.....or better yet I can't wait. I have made lager that at best have aged 5 weeks. That's from start to drinkin. This yeast was pitched without a starter into a 1.050 wort. In 11 days at 62 f attenuated to 1.008. Wow. Also force carbed that same day and had a party the next. Raised to 70 degrees last two days. Tastes more like a lager than anything made so far. Great to have on hand. I will keep pitching directly on to yeast cake as my go to beer while I experiment with other styles. Thanks white labs. You have made me and my friends really happy in a shorter time frame.

“I am pretty much using only this strain...”

By: Joe Zynel | Date: Aug., 19th 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: Pliney the Elder Clone, 2XIPA

This strain is a must for anyone who is brewing a hoppy beer. No off flavors, ferments quick (3-5 days), cleans up nice and lets the hops come through. I am pretty much using only this strain for most of my beers. I am curious to try the limited edition WLP090 I heard it was a lot like a famous Oregon strain. Keep up the good work.

“It's just for me to learn...”

By: Sauce | Date: Jun., 26th 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: SMASH Vienna/Cluster

Making my first SMASH recipe with 100% Vienna Malt and Cluster hops. It's a 1 Gallon batch. My yeast was getting a little old so I decided to make a starter. Probably over kill for a 1 gallon batch, but we'll see how it turns out. It's just for me to learn the flavors anyway :)

“Beer Update”

By: Kline Miller | Date: Apr., 21st 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: Widmer Hop Jack Pale Ale Clone

The beer is tasting very good and clean. Although I never had the original Hop Jack, I like this beer very much. My next batch of this will be a all-grain version.

“Will taste in a few days...”

By: Kline | Date: Apr., 19th 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: Widmer Hop Jack Pale Ale clone

Pitched one vial in 5 gal bath at 68 degrees. OG was 1.0549. Fermented at 68 degrees for 15 days. Final gravity was 1.013. Based on my calculations, attenuation was 76%. Beer looks great. Will taste in a few days after forced keg carbonation. This is my third bath with this yeast, and all have been good. (Note: See above review for update).

“A month later the beer is tasting like an IPA...”

By: Branden | Date: Mar., 21st 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: IPA, Pale, amber, Stout

I am trying my hardest to make other White Labs yeast my go to (just to be a different) but am not having any luck. This yeast does what I want it to every time. I whipped the wort up with my wine mixer and drill and pitched 180ml of second generation slurry into my IPA with OG of 1.078 down to 1.014 within a week. A month later the beer is tasting like an IPA I would pay $10+ a six pack. Reading Chris Whites book on Yeast was an eye opener!! thanks

“My house yeast strain ..”

By: Chris | Date: Mar., 14th 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: Pale Ale

I have been making Pale Ales with dry yeast for years. I used this yeast for the first time. Nice beer. Actually, my best so far. I fermented it at 68F. I am now on a third generation. The flavor is clean along with my Hallertauer hops. This is now my house yeast strain

“Working off the same vial for a year”

By: Shane Coughlin | Date: Sep., 12th 2010 | Beer(s) Brewed: All variation Pale Ale

This yeast has a great following and for good reason: it is clean, high attenuating, fast acting, pukes krausen all over and flocks out really clean. I use no finings, sometimes a starter, sometimes an old cake. I have been working off of the same vial carefully for like a year as we have no local store. So impressed with it that I have it going in a Kolsch recipe and I am certain it will produce a very clean light almost lager style beer. It is no wonder that this is one of the most popular yeasts White Lab produces. Any brewer I have turned on to this yeast has raved about it. You will too.

“It is doing wonderful...”

By: Ryan Hamlet | Date: Aug., 18th 2010 | Beer(s) Brewed: Psa Ipa

I was worried about this strain at first, it took about 20 hours to show signs of fermenting, then once it did it took off like a bat-out-of-hell. I am so pleased with this batch, I highly recommend this strain for ale brewing, I keep my brew at 72 degrees and it is doing wonderful.

“Gave the beer a few days in a starter...”

By: Stephen Schrader | Date: Jun., 30th 2010 | Beer(s) Brewed: American IPA, American Imperial IPA

Last batch I ran through was an American Wheat IIPA. Gave the beer a few days in a starter, a little over a 1/2 of a growler from a local brew pub. The yeast left the beer very clean is flavor, hop characteristics were clean and crisp but still sweet tasting beer. Definitely something to keep in the stables. Thanks White Labs.

“Wonderful clean flavor”

By: Dennis | Date: Apr., 24th 2010 | Beer(s) Brewed: California Pale Ale

Attenuation was 77% after 2 weeks fermentation, from 1.049 to 1.011, excellent. Krausen within 18 hours from a 2 week old vial. Wonderful clean flavor.

“It's a must”

By: Beau | Date: Mar., 5th 2010 | Beer(s) Brewed: APA, IPA, American Amber ale, American Wheat ale

This is by far the best yeast I have ever used! I have never had any off flavors with this strain. It's a must for most ales!

“Beer is super clean”

By: MB Pasadena | Date: Jan., 13th 2010 | Beer(s) Brewed: Imperial India Pale Ale

This yeast out performed my expectations. Made a starter 24 hours before I pitched into an IIPA with a OG of 1.079. I was hoping to have a finishing gravity of 1.020, actual was 1.012. Beer is super clean; no esters or diacetyl.

“Can't wait to compare...”

By: Rick Realsen | Date: Dec., 5th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: American Pale Ale

I brewed a couple of batches of High Gravity American IPAs with this yeast a year ago and am still drinking them with great delight. 001 is definitely a high attenuation yeast that produces a brew with the right balance of sweetness that does not overpower the flavor and purpose of brewing a highly hopped high gravity IPA. This brew has a fresh clean hoppy flavor that is not overly sweet. I will continue to use it. I am currently brewing two batches of similar style ales using the WLP051 California Ale yeast which is supposed to produce a sweeter brew and fuller body. Can't wait to compare these yeasts.

“I always have on hand...”

By: Dariush | Date: Nov., 19th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Everthing from a mild to a Imperial stout

I love this yeast and have used it in a wide range of gravities, from 1.03 to 1.10 as well as a variety of styles, American browns to Russian Imperial stouts. I believe the flavor profile is best between the second and fifth generation. Very versatile yeast that I always have on hand and am never disappointed with.

“This yeast bounced right back...”

By: Kash | Date: Oct., 16th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Strong Honey Ale

I was not very nice to this yeast. I direct-pitched two vials into a 1.077 OG wort, without making a starter. Honey was about 30% of the total fermentables, which I'm sure didn't exactly make the wort nutrient-rich. I also didn't use high-protein malts in the mash, so that didn't help the nutrient situation. And the cherry on top: I fermented below the recommended temperature range. However, this yeast bounced right back! The lag time was somewhat long (about 48 hours), but after that, the yeast took off. The beer finished at 1.015. Primed with raw, freshly mashed wort (SG 1.070), it took about a month to bottle-condition. The finished beer had some residual sweetness, but was very clean-tasting with very little ester character.

“Perfect!”

By: Don | Date: Jul., 31st 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Double IPA 150 IBUs

This yeast is an absolute workhorse that never disappoints. I just finished a Double IPA with OG 1.110. I did a 12 gallon batch and put in a pound and a half of hops. I made a starter up 2 days ahead of time. I pitched two vials of yeast in each Erlenmeyer flask that had 1.8 liters of 1.040 wort made with extra light DME. I used a stir plate for the starters (one for each 6.5 gallon carboy). I was shooting for 80% attenuation. Yesterday, I did a gravity reading (it’s been in the primary for 2 weeks) and got a reading of 1.020! Perfect! Again and again, this yeast does everything it is supposed to do and then some. It always produces clean, crisp flavors and often greater attenuation (especially when using a starter) than advertised. Well done!

“This has been going on for over a year now...”

By: Lance B | Date: Apr., 27th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Pales/IPA's/Stouts

WLP001 California Ale Yeast. Where do I start? I have brewed approximately 18-20 Pales, IPA's and Imperial Stouts repitching yeast from one vial. This has been going on for over a year now with great results. 5 gallon batches in a 6.5 gal primary. 75% of these have blown out of a 6.5 gal carboy, so I suggest a blow off hose for primary fermentation. Terminal gravity has been reached within 7 days even with 1.066 OG IPAs. Yeast produces excellent beers that have a nice clean dry hoppy finish.

“Great yeast for high gravity beers”

By: Greg Kozak | Date: Apr., 9th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Westinghouse Brewing

First double IPA. 5.5 gallon batch, 18 lbs. of grain, and pure Michigan Clover Honey (about 2 lbs.) for an OG of 1.084. Prepared a 1.5L starter on a stir plate. Yeast was amazing! Final gravity of 1.012, for an apparent attenuation of 85%! Great yeast for high gravity beers.

“Airlock still bubbles ...”

By: Tuan | Date: Mar., 17th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Rauchbier

The OG is 1.058. After 15 days, the airlock still bubbles every 3 minutes or so. Is that normal for this yeast? My fermenting temperature is 68 degrees F. Thanks. PS: Other styles come out great! :)
WL response (in part): What you are seeing is probably dissolved carbon dioxide coming out of solution rather than the byproducts of active fermentation. Some shaking will knock out the CO2.

“Look no further ...”

By: Mike | Date: Feb., 6th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Robust Porter

Even though this yeast is rated a 2 for the Porter styles I wanted to keep a level of consistency with all my ales. Despite using a ton of malt this yeast still lets the hops shine through creating some nice fruity undertones and terrific balance. I also didn’t add any hops after the last 30 minuets and the beer still has a faint hop aroma. If you like to bring out the hop flavor of your ales (any ale) look no further than the California ale.

“Great yeast”

By: Dave | Date: Jan., 17th 2008 | Beer(s) Brewed: American Pumpkin Ale

This was such an easy yeast to use. I fermented about 67 degrees F. Made about 79% attenuation at OG 1.06 with no starter made. Started quickly and finished quickly. Great yeast.

“You really can't fail with this yeast...”

By: David Stuedemann | Date: Oct., 2nd 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: American IPA

This is my old standby, you really can't fail with this yeast. It has a high tolerance for temperature variation, is a fast starter, and is highly attenuative. The malt and hop characteristics are very clean, and it's great for high gravity brews. It's fairly neutral with nice esters and slight diacytel which make for consistent, delicious beers. You don't have to wonder whether it's going to work out or not.

“Took off quickly...”

By: Rod | Date: Mar., 5th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Selected "Clone Brews" recipes

I found the California Ale yeast to be very aggressive resulting in shorter fermentation times. I usually split my tubes in two because I am cheap. I didn't use a starter, only half the contents of a tube and still cut primary fermentation by two days. The only drawback I noticed was a more pronounced alcohol finish on bottled beers. Did not notice it on same beer when kegged. A note on aerating wort: Since I use a 5gal bucket as a primary fermentor, I use a restaurant-sized whisk and just mix it vigorously.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am toward the end of a recent brew (bottle conditioning phase) and had a question about WLP001 California Ale Yeast. O.G. was 1.07 and I wanted about a 1.017 FG (76% atten) but I only got to 1.024 (65% atten). I want to try the recipe with the California again soon, and am wondering what I should do differently to get the attenuation to about 76%.

The issue may be with the fermentation itself or with the available sugars present to the yeast. Even though your mash schedule may seem correct, try dropping everything in your system 10 degrees Fahrenheit. That is where you would start to see if your wort becomes fermentable.

You could also try different base malt. For fermentation, make sure you pitch the yeast between 70-75F, then drop to a different temperature if you like after fermentation begins. Keep the temperature consistent during fermentation, even fluctuations during the evening can stall the yeast. Proper aeration at the beginning of fermentation will also be helpful. This is one thing that separates homebrewers and commercial breweries, commercial breweries have almost no problems with stuck fermentations because they have tight temperature control and they saturate the wort with oxygen before they pitch the yeast. One way to get more oxygen into the fermentor is to use a fish type of aquarium pump. Put an air filter on that you can get at homebrew shops, and turn on for one hour after pitching. Don’t use a stone, it will foam too much, just a small bore tubing, this will add big enough bubbles to mix things up, and you get good oxygen delivery into the wort. An additional tip is to transfer the beer when it gets to 1.025; the transfer itself helps to add a little oxygen and mix things up.


I had a question regarding the High Gravity yeast (WLP099 Super High Gravity Yeast). I used WLP001 California Ale Yeast for the initial fermentation of a 1.120 wort, and it pooped out at 1.032. I wanted to use the high gravity yeast to finish it off. Would the best route be to make a starter and aerate and pitch just like a new beer or will oxidation be a problem?

Make a starter and aerate the starter, not the beer. That will take care of the oxidation problem and still give the yeast a good start.


I live in India, and I recently got a couple of vials from an American homebrew store. They were in shipping for about 5 days and with an ice pack. Once they arrived, I put them in my refrigerator right away. Today, I used it for a batch of American Brown Ale I made. I had several questions about the yeast.

1. It was not white in color, and the yeast appeared brownish.

This is normal - we package the yeast with protein and lipids to keep them healthy in shipping.

2. I shook the vial (after removing from the fridge) and left it at room temp. When I opened the vial, there was a lot of frothing.

It built up pressure during shipping and warming to room temperature. One tip is to break the cap when you first take it out of the refrigerator, while most of the CO2 is still in solution. Then vent the cap periodically as the yeast warms up.

3. There was a peculiar smell which I haven’t got from any dry yeast.

This is normal for people to think it smells different; concentrated liquid yeast will have a different aroma. When yeast grows in beer, it smells different for a number of reasons, including the presence in beer of hops.


I brewed this past week while it was pretty hot outside. I used my counter-flow chiller w/ inline oxygenator as usual but could not get the wort temp down below about 83 Fahrenheit. Being in a hurry I went ahead and pitched the yeast (WLP001 California Ale Yeast). Not asking for a definitive answer but how big of a mistake was this?

Thank you for your inquiry. There will be higher levels of esters and fusel alcohols but since you were able to lower the temperature fairly quickly this may not have too much effect on the final beer. WLP001 is one of the more tolerate strains to higher temperatures. Ale yeast are more tolerant to higher temperatures, lager yeast do not survive well over 80F. Ale yeast will survive to 90F.

Characteristics

Attenuation73-80%

FlocculationMedium

Optimum Ferment Temp.68-73°F (20-23°C)

Alcohol ToleranceHigh

MiniFerment Data ?

As-is Diacetyl27.18ppb

Total Diacetyl78.12ppb

As-is 2,3-PentanedioneN/A

Total 2,3-Pentanedione8.61ppb

Ethanol4.825%ABV

Acetaldehyde14.005ppm

Ethyl Acetate17.46ppm

Isoamyl AcetateN/A

1-Propanol37.23ppm

Isoamyl Alcohol90.185ppm


Notes:

Final Gravity: 2.8 P Hours it takes to get to 50 percent attenuation: 40

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