WLP002 English Ale Yeast

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.

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Play Audio Description of WLP002 English 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 Ale2 American Style Wheat Ale2
Fruit Beer2 Herbs & Spice Beer2
Specialty Beers2 Specialty Honey Ales2
Smoke Flavored Beer2 Golden Ale Canadian Style Ale2
German Style Kolsch2 Classic English Style Pale Ale4
English Style India Pale Ale4 American Style Pale Ale2
American Style India Pale Ale2 American Style Amber2
English Style Bitter2 English Style ESB4
Scottish Style Ale2 Irish Style Red Ale2
English Style Brown Ale4 American Style Brown Ale2
German Style Brown and Dusseldorf Altbier2 Robust Porter4
Brown Porter4 Classic Irish Style Dry Stout2
Foreign Style Stout4 Sweet Stout4
Oatmeal Stout2 English Old Ale English & American Strong Ale4
Barley Wine Strong Ale4 Strong Scotch Ale2
Imperial Stout2   

Reviews

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

“WLP002 English Ale”

By: Josh | Date: Jun., 20th 2014 | Beer(s) Brewed: Ordinary Bitter

Brewed my first ordinary bitter using WLP002 and Jamil Zainasheff's recipe. Not being intimately familiar with this style, I was expecting something similar to a Scottish 60/- (which I brew using WLP001), but perhaps with a bit more fruity esters. This beer, however, has turned out to be extremely "malt forward" to the point of being unbalanced (at least to my taste). I'm wondering if anyone else has experience or recommendations for using this yeast, or would recommend a commercial example to compare to? I'd like to repitch this yeast in an ESB and/or and English IPA, but not if this batch is sub-par.

“Over attenuated”

By: Seth | Date: Jan., 18th 2014 | Beer(s) Brewed: Nut Brown / Xmas Ale

Brewed an english maple nut brown on washed 002 left over from a Pumking Clone, and then a holiday beer on that washed yeast. Both beers should have finished around 1.02-1.024 and instead I got nearly 80% apparent attenuation with the nut brown finishing at 1.012 and the xmas ale at 1.006!!! Is this because of having too much yeasties in there to begin with? I'm not going to complain about going from a 9.6% ABV to 11.4 or 9.4% to 10.4% , but now both beers are very dry. Much more so than planned... After 3 months in secondary they both still taste like jet fuel, and I will be bottle conditioning likely until next holiday season and beyond.

“Character - Does this Stain Flocc Out in First 36 hours?”

By: Mike | Date: Dec., 23rd 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: English Pale Ale

First time using this strain. Recently made a 4 gallon batch of a Pale Ale using this WLP002, and made a stater from grain, starter OG = 1.050. starter went for 24 hours and was pitched into 4 Gallon batch at OG = 1.046 @ 68*F. Batch had a nice start and Full Krausen appears to have hit within 24 hours. This morning at 36 hour mark after pitching starter, the Krausen head is disappearing and the "flurry" of yeast swarming around wort, and rapid airlock activity has subsided substantially. Seems to be "Floccing" out and hitting bottom of fermentor already.

Question: Does this sound like a typical character of this strain, OR should I be trying to rouse the yeast again in fermentor?

Note: my description above seems to be the opposite of experience with WLP001 where the Krausen head last 3-4 days before activity really dropped off.

“English ale yeast”

By: Almando Otero | Date: Oct., 10th 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: ipa porters pales ales

Best strain i've used so far aside form California ale yeast.

“Somewhat difficult to work with, but nice flavor”

By: Roger | Date: Aug., 31st 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: Ordinary BItter, Dark Mild

I gave this a shot in a mild and a bitter. The first pitch was a 1.036 dark mild. The yeast gave me about 69% ADF with a 153F mash. It has a nice flavor that took about two weeks to really come together after bottle conditioning. I liked the flavor combined with darker malts.

The second beer was an ordinary bitter with a light amber. Not as good of a flavor. It didn't really work well with the lighter flavor, and I had issues with the yeast flocing out at 1.014. However, after bottle conditioning, it ended up fermenting down to 1.012 which resulted in overcarbed bottles.

It's a yeast with decent flavor, but I am somewhat irritated at its tendency to floc out like a brick. If I kegged, this wouldnt be as much of an issue since I could vent. Or pasteurized or somewhat.

So basically do a forced ferment test to see the limit of attenuation with your wort, keep temps stable or rising slightly, and pitch enough yeast.

“QA Manager”

By: Ron Fortin | Date: May., 22nd 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: n/a

Can anybody tell me if there is a piece of equipment on the market that would do Bakers Cream Yeast Analysis? I need to know parameters for guidance for acceptable and non-acceptable levels. Thank you in advance.

“Everything is tasting great .....”

By: Brian | Date: Nov., 23rd 2012 | Beer(s) Brewed: ESB

I brewed my ESB with WL002, no starter. Pitched at 68F. Active fermentation started in under 24 hrs, and brought it up to 70F. Ambient room temp was kept at 66F. It went from OG: 1.053 to FG: 1.010 in 8 days. That's 81% apparent attenuation! Much higher than I expected. I'll be cold crashing and kegging it tomorrow. Everything is tasting great so far. I'll certainly be harvesting this yeast for future batches. Time to win some medals.

“... there were distinct differences”

By: Rick Kocher | Date: Aug., 26th 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: Smoked Cherry Porter

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: Sep., 18th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Moose Drool Clone, Pumpkin Ale

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., 16th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: English Bitter

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., 28th 2008 | Beer(s) Brewed: Smoked Ale

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: Jan., 1st 2008 | Beer(s) Brewed: ESB, bitter

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: Nov., 29th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Imperial Porter

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: Nov., 2nd 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Brown Ale

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: Oct., 16th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: 2 Pale ales and a brown ale

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: Jun., 4th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: English Brown

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: Jun., 4th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: English Ales

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., 21st 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Mild

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.”

By: DVW | Date: Apr., 7th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: mild, ESB, brown mild

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: Mar., 5th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Bastard

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., 30th 2006 | Beer(s) Brewed: ESB

"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."

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Characteristics

Attenuation63-70%

FlocculationVery High

Optimum Ferment Temp.65-68°F (18-20°C)

Alcohol ToleranceMedium

MiniFerment Data ?

As-is Diacetyl150.52ppb

Total Diacetyl180.13ppb

As-is 2,3-Pentanedione33.91ppb

Total 2,3-Pentanedione40.56ppb

Ethanol4.575%ABV

Acetaldehyde12.55ppm

Ethyl Acetate21.41ppm

Isoamyl AcetateN/A

1-Propanol29.14ppm

Isoamyl Alcohol122.7ppm


Notes:

Final Gravity: 68 °F Hours to get to 50 percent attenuation: N/A

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