WLP005 British Ale Yeast

This yeast is a little more attenuative than WLP002. Like most English strains, this yeast produces malty beers. Excellent for all English style ales including bitter, pale ale, porter, and brown ale.

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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 Ale4
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 Stout2 Sweet Stout4
Oatmeal Stout4 English Old Ale English & American Strong Ale2
Barley Wine Strong Ale2 Strong Scotch Ale2
Imperial Stout2   

Reviews

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

“Nice ester profile for sytle”

By: John Denny | Date: Aug., 13th 2014 | Beer(s) Brewed: English Mild

This strain gives us just the right ester profile for our English Mild.

“Use a blowoff!”

By: Peter Matthews | Date: Oct., 13th 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: Old Ale

I brewed a 23 litre batch of an all grain Old Tom clone. I made two one litre starters with two vials - I reckon I could have managed with one vial given the results of this yeast. The yeast was pitched at 20oC but really produces a lot of heat during the vigorous fermentation and didn't drop below 24 for three days. After 4 hours the yeast was quickly bubbling away and producing a lovely krausen - the morning of day two though had the typical mess you get from not using a blow off tube. After five days, activity stopped and the kruasen dropped - 1.073 to 1.018 in five days reaching maximum attenuation. This is a really easy yeast to use - it starts quickly, attenuates out and then drops and clears quickly to let you know its all done. I should have used a higher attenuating yeast for this beer style - possibly WLP007 but I am in no way disappointed with the taste or results. I'll be using this again ...

“Amazing, non-fussy yeast”

By: William the Brewer | Date: Oct., 6th 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: Porter

Just brewed a big bourbon/oak-aged porter with this yeast. I was worried because I had an unexpected heat wave right after starting fermentation where temps were as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. That's right. 100 degrees. The *incredible* thing about this yeast, is that it still achieved a very healthy fermentation, and the beer has no noticeable off-flavors. I repeat: NO off-flavors.
Would I recommend always fermenting that high? Of course not. There's always a chance the yeast could react negatively and screw up your beer, and I'm sure the beer would have turned out better had I fermented in the optimal range. However, I'm still amazed that it handled the high temps so well.

The yeast definitely brings out all the delicious malt flavors. I'm tasting a lot of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and caramel in my porter. Love it.

I'll definitely be rinsing this yeast to use again and again!

“Buena levadura, probé e me gusto”

By: Jung Mario | Date: Jan., 18th 2013 | Beer(s) Brewed: Unknown

Buena levadura, probé e me gusto, vou encomendar+ ahora..!

“... produces a malt-forward beer”

By: Daniel O | Date: Nov., 19th 2012 | Beer(s) Brewed: Bitter

Quick fermenter. Mashed a little low for style and fermented at 68f. Went from 1.054 to 1.011 in three days. I find it to render more fruit and bread/biscuit notes than WLP002 at same temps, my go-to 'house' yeast. Definitely produces a malt-forward beer.

“Highly recommended”

By: Joe C. | Date: May., 17th 2011 | Beer(s) Brewed: Porter

I had GREAT results with this yeast. My OG was 1.062 and FG was 1.016 for an apparent attenuation of 73% which is within spec for the yeast. Fermentation was at 68F and was finished in 3 days. I am using it again to make an ordinary bitter. Highly recommended.

“No nuclear accident - yet”

By: Jim Givens | Date: Oct., 5th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: English Nut Brown, English Mild, Extra Special Bitter, Old American Porter

This easy-to-love English style yeast goes from slurry to beer in a hurry. It has an extremely furious fermentation in the first generation and successive generations are unbelievably fast and actually produce noticeable warmth -- fortunately it hasn’t caused a nuclear incident yet. As an example, even with a modest starter it has an apparent attenuation of 55% or greater within 36 hours while still fermenting somewhat rapidly. The yeast then settles out fairly quickly and seems to go dormant within just a few days – some rousing might help to make sure all is well. It will ferment successfully at 60 degreed F – it’s much slower but the flavor gets cleaner. It’s versatile and has a very pleasant, distinct, and complex ester profile -- sometimes nutty or chocolaty notes. You may also find that an increase in bitterness hops is needed for an equally perceived taste – it favors the malt flavors. When choosing yeast a lot depends on what is more important to the brewer: more biological stability or residual sweetness with esters. If WLP051 California II and WLP023 Burton Ale yeast got married I’ll bet one of their children would be a lot like this WLP005 British Ale yeast – an easy delivery in a pint-size bundle of joy. I hope they call and appoint me godfather.

“Wonderful yeast”

By: bruguru | Date: Sep., 2nd 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: E.S.B./clone African Amber

Wonderful yeast. I'm on the 4th generation of 1 vial, and I pitched a new vial in the other 5 gallon. I didn't use any roasted malt in this E.S.B. that I'm making, but the roasted flavor the 4th gen took with it is turning this beer loaded with crystal into a fantastic E.S.B.

“... (gives) a malt backbone ...”

By: gregblatz | Date: Aug., 10th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: British Bitter/American IPA

British Bitter/American IPA
Comments: Absolutely love this yeast. I have used it in American IPAs to help give a malt backbone to an otherwise hop aggressive beer. This allows me to use less specialty grains while still providing a good balance to the hops. As far as Bitters, this yeast is even more impressive. It provides a delicious caramel sweetness that works perfectly with Kent Golding hops. I have split a batch of bitter between two carboys, the 005 is much more interesting than the London Ale (WLP013). 013 is much too clean and the beer doesn't seem true to style compared to the 005.

“... very viable yeast”

By: klee5 | Date: Apr., 3rd 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Northern English Brown

Northern English Brown
Comments: This was a very viable yeast, I pitched a 2000 ml starter and oxygenated the wort for 60 seconds. The entire fermentation was done in just over 72 hours. SG was 1.057, and dropped to 1.022. The attenuation was less than I expected, given the 67-75% range predicted for this strain. The flavor was great, however. Was hoping to reach 1.014 range.

“Quite vigorous”

By: Anonymous | Date: Jan., 18th 2009 | Beer(s) Brewed: Ordinary Bitter

Excellent yeast with characteristic British flavor. Made started, pitched into 1.040 wort, well-oxygenated at 68F; finished fermenting within 3 days; apparent attenuation 74%. Had no issues with excessive flocculation during fermentation. Quite vigorous.

“... my finished beer was wonderfully malty”

By: Kash | Date: Aug., 12th 2008 | Beer(s) Brewed: Amber

This yeast started quite fast. CO2 production was vigorous for the first 5 days. At this point, I racked the beer into my secondary, not knowing that this yeast ferments from the bottom up, and fermentation all but stopped. As a result, attenuation was just a shade lower than I expected. I would recommend leaving the primary untouched until CO2 generation has mellowed. However, my finished beer was wonderfully malty, bringing out the flavor of my specialty malts, and about 4.5% ABV.

“I would highly suggest this yeast ...”

By: TJ Vitolo | Date: May., 29th 2008 | Beer(s) Brewed: Hazelnut Brown

I am a huge fan of WLP002. But when I decided to brew a Hazelnut Brown, I did not want too much residual sweetness to over enhance the hazelnut. So I went for the WLP005 because it was described as "more attenuative" with the same characteristics of WLP002. Even though I added 3/4lb of molasses to raise the A.A. this yeast performed exactly as described. I would highly suggest this yeast for brewers who love the characteristics of WLP002, but do not want as much residual sweetness for whatever reason. This yeast has completely lived up to its description.

“... you cannot beat this yeast”

By: Whorst | Date: May., 12th 2008 | Beer(s) Brewed: Bitter

My mind is blown! Made starter, pumped wort with pure oxygen, the result is stunning. Beautiful maltiness, that does not mask hop flavor or aroma. O.G. 1.037, F.G. 1.011. If you love British beers, you cannot beat this yeast.

“This yeast did not disappoint”

By: Brian O | Date: Jan., 22nd 2008 | Beer(s) Brewed: Ale

This yeast has been very good. As a new brewer I started with a fairly basic ale recipe. This yeast did not disappoint. I've made two batches with it and it's begun fermenting within 15 hours each time without a starter. This is a fine yeast.

“The outcome was amazing, lovely ...”

By: markmorris30 | Date: Nov., 30th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: English bitter

Fantastic yeast, I have just brewed a copy of a well-known English ale from Suffolk U.K., and the outcome was amazing, lovely malty flavour coming from the yeast; will use this strain again without any doubt.

“Produces a very nice malt character ...”

By: Kris Olson | Date: Oct., 23rd 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Extra Special Bitter

Used exclusively with our ESB recipe. Produces a very nice malt character, but doesn't mask hop bitterness or over-sweeten. Generally we've had attenuation around 68% every batch after 1 week at 65-68˚F. Settles out very well on the bottom of the bottle, too.

“... the only yeast I have used for it since.”

By: giddyup06 | Date: Apr., 12th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Milk Stout

Brewed a traditional low gravity milk stout with this and it has become the only yeast I have used for it since. Quick ferment and clears quickly at 42 degrees. Has withstood the major temp swings that sometimes occur here in TX and has continued to ferment well into the mid 50s and developed no off taste as high as 75. If you're looking to have good malt flavor I would rank this high.

“Worked great for the pale ale.”

By: jhast | Date: Jan., 13th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Pale ale

Fine taste. Worked great for the pale ale. Fermented at 69 degrees F. Turned out well.

“... excellent for malt-flavored styles.”

By: Gary Foster | Date: Jan., 12th 2007 | Beer(s) Brewed: Oatmeal stout

I generally use WLP002 for most of my beers, but I switched to WLP005 exclusively for my oatmeal stout. This yeast is a bit cranky, and sometimes requires rousing, but it really punches up the maltiness and is excellent for malt-forward styles. Be aware that this yeast is VERY flocculent and if you're used to using WLP001 or other American strains, you'll probably think this yeast acts and looks weird or is messed up. It's not, just be patient. Aerate well, use a starter, and rouse it if you think you aren't quite at your desired FG yet. It's worth it, this yeast has a very distinct and rich flavor profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a homebrewer and currently I am fermenting a Mild Brown Ale. The yeast that I'm using is White Labs British Ale yeast. This is the second time that I have brewed this recipe. I had problems with the first 5 gallon batch because the fermentation was never vigorous. With this current brew, I appear to have the same problems.

This is normal behavior for the British yeast. You don't see that much activity because it doesn't rise to the top at all. It ferments from the bottom, unusual for ale yeast but becoming more common as many UK ale brewers have switched to conical fermentors. You should still be getting good CO2 generation, however, and that should be strong. Sometimes people rack off after a day or so, which in the case of this yeast, it would leave it all behind. It's best to leave it and not rack the beer until approximately 24 hours post terminal gravity, at the earliest. If you didn't rack, it would be very unusual for fermentation to not be complete with 70 F constant temp and good aeration.


I have just tasted some of my 005 yeast out of the vial, and it tastes sour. I just wanted to know if this is normal.

People are often surprised by the way the yeast smells or tastes out of the vial; it is hard to judge since it is a concentrated yeast slurry. It is not going to taste like beer.  The pH is also lower, so the higher acidic flavor can taste sour. You really cannot tell purity by smell or taste, although it is not a bad practice to try and become familiar with what is normal. The only way to know purity is to plate the yeast on to special media, which is what we do on all of the lots at White Labs.


I have recently purchased your WLP005 British Ale yeast, which I used in a recipe for Gales Best, which is an ale that has an OG of 1042 and a final of 1009 and a 4.5% by volume alcohol content. I followed the instruction and made a starter with the wort before pitching the yeast. The first fermentation stage I left until the gravity had dropped to about 1030 then dropped into the second fermentation stage. This stage took well over 1 month for the ale to reach its final gravity in order to barrel.

The British Ale yeast is very Flocculent, most of it probably started to settle out when you transferred the beer. So after transfer, it took a long time to bring the gravity down. English Ale Yeast WLP002 is also very flocculent. We advise to keep it in the primary fermentor until fermentation is complete. You might have to shake it once in a while to rouse it back up from the bottom and make sure it finishes. That is one possibility; others are oxygen content and temperature of formation. If the fermentation temperature gets below 65, even at night, that can cause a long and sluggish fermentation. Low temperatures will also promote more flocculation. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Characteristics

Attenuation67-74%

FlocculationHigh

Optimum Ferment Temp.65-70°F (18-21°C)

Alcohol ToleranceMedium

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