WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale Yeast
Slightly phenolic and tart, this is the original yeast used to produce Wit in Belgium.
Style Performance Listing
A listing of how this style ranks amongst different brew styles, on a scale from 0 to 4.
|Spiced Ales||2||Grand Cru||2|
|Other High Gravity||2||Christmas Beers||2|
Feedback and experiences from previous customers. Want to leave a review of your own?
“Excellent Results at Low Temp”
Made a wheat beer (to which was added after kegging orange zest and coriander). Started and left fermentation temperature at 62F, which is well below listed "optimum temp" of 67-74. Very slow to start and finish. Took a total of three weeks to go from 1.052 to 1.010, with little to no noticeable release of CO2 throughout. Periodic gravity tests showed attenuation was occurring. Resultant beer was cloudy, which to be expected considering it's a wheat beer -- although after three months in the keg it cleared considerably. Resultant beer had a subtle, underlying Belgian Ale yeast taste -- what I consider the good but not the unpleasant qualities. Clean, pleasant and mild, but tasteful, with the wheat, orange & coriander nicely featured. Very drinkable and enjoyable Belgian beer without the Belgian bite. As mentioned by the other reviews, you can't rush this strain -- most especially at a low temp.
“Perfect Wit yeast with all the right characteristics.”
I've used this yeast for all the Wit brews over the last three years with excellent results. I start at 68 and let it slowly rise to 74 over the fermentation time, usually 10-12 days. Then crash cool and rack 24 hours later. I get fresh for every batch as I've heard it does not take well to being re-cultured. Perfect Wit yeast with all the right characteristics. My Wit recipe is the most popular beer we sell, my small setup has sold over 500lts, even hardened lager drinkers come back for more!
“Makes a tasty brew”
I have used this yeast probably a dozen or more times now. It is my go to yeast as I usually only make Belgian style beers. I don't like leaving the beer in my primary for more than two weeks and I don't have fancy gear to stir or oxygenate. When its hot, 85+ degrees, this yeast is a beast. Fermenting temps will make a difference in the flavor. I feel like its not worth leaving it in the fermenter another week or two just to get that last 5 or 10% of attenuation when I am going to add priming sugar and bottle, anyway.
It takes another week to a month in the bottle to fully mature, and loose certain off flavors, which my brew partner refers to as "feetiness", as in smelling like feet. I think many of the off flavors people can get from the yeast could be from not letting their beers properly age or temper in the bottle. I know I have a problem not drinking them as soon as they have bubbles. It tastes the best a year later, when you find it in a box you forgot about in the garage.
“Makes a good witbier, but watch out for sulfur”
I've used this strain twice to make Belgian witbier, and both times I was satisfied with my beer. A couple of things, though:
1. The last witbier that I brewed with this strain scored a 30 in a BJCP competition, with most of the points being deducted from the aroma section. The judges noted an unpleasant sulfur smell, although I did not perceive it as being that strong myself. I'm not sure if this would have anything to do with the yeast (although one of the judges suggested that it might), I felt the need to mention it because I saw a couple of other reviewers mentioned sulfur as well.
2. After two weeks in primary, the beer that I mentioned above stalled out at about 10 points from the desired final gravity. I had been fermenting on the low end of the range, so I gave the beer a gentle stir and raised the temperature to the high end of the range. The beer finished out in about another week. This seems to be pretty consistent with what others have said.
Other than those things, I've been satisfied with this strain, and I will continue to use it for witbier.
“Produced a BJCP winner.”
Used this to make a Belgian Wit, and it scored a solid 41 points...don't be afraid to ferment in the low 70 range. It is a dynamite yeast, produces an excellent, clean, tart finishing beer....
“Wit Tartness abounds!”
Like a lot of the other posts say, this is a slower attenuating yeast. My 1.088 OG Maple Wheat clone took just shy of 3 weeks to attenuate completely with a healthy stir plate starter & pure O2 (followed by a 2nd shot of O2 12 hours into active fermentation). Once active fermentation was over, I had to swirl the carboy at least every 4 days to get the yeast going again. I ended up re-priming in secondary a few days before bottling, and it took the yeast a good 4 weeks before the beer was ready.
This strain lives up to its name, with authentic sour tartness up front, followed by tons of yummy clove esters rise as the sour tart subsides, and the malt/adjuncts follow. Residual tartness seems masks hop flavor & aroma.
If you are looking for an authentic Wit look no further!
“Excellent strain if you can be patient”
This yeast is like me. It will get the job done but sometimes it has to take a breather. You can rouse it like others have noted with a swirl. Not a bad idea to start out with a blow off tube just in case as the fermentation is very active at first.
Very active yeast that yielded a perfect Witbier, but be patient. Pitched the yeast at 72 Degrees. Fermentation was more ferocious than WLP300. Fermentation had ceased in 3 days, but had a huge krausen. I gave it a swirl and had even more action for 2 more days. Swirled it again, and had another 2 days of action. Had about 79 percent attenuation. What it yielded was a perfectly fermented witbier with a light amount of phenols and it was just tart for my taste. Some buddies of mine said it could use a big more pop "tart." Any suggestions on how to bring that out more?
“The flavors produced are perfect”
We have brewed many Belgian Wits with this strain, ferment at 70F. The flavors produced are perfect hints of spice and phenols. We made a dynamite one a few years back with this as the primary fermentor, then adding a Brett. Claussenii culture in the secondary that added slight sourness. I love this strain!!!!
The 3rd time round with this yeast. I changed some of my methods for this brew (Lowered Mashing Temps), but kept the grain bill the same while increasing the adjuncts (Coriander & Bitter Orange). I finally achieved the phenolic tartness that I have been searching for. I believe by achieving higher attenuation, through lower mashing temps, ultimately producing a drier Wit, the tartness will shine through. As noted last time in my review "Be Patient," I would like to add "Be Watchful." This is a very active yeast that requires a good swirl every few days to fully ferment the beer. I would like to think my processes are improving over the years, but maybe White Labs is improving their yeast quality; Either way, excellent yeast, excellent beer. (Editor's note: Scroll below for TJ Vitolo's first review of this yeast).
“... give it a good rouse ... ”
This yeast tends to fire off quickly but then take its lovely ole time to attenuate. I do recommend pitching at 70-72 degrees with good oxygenation. After fermentation slows, give it a good rouse to drop some of the Krausen yeast into the beer. The first two times I used this yeast I could not get full attenuation. You really need to nurse it along or use it in conjunction with WLP001. I like the flavor profile, but it takes some work to make this beer a beauty!
“ ... requires a lot of head space ... ”
Fantastic yeast, produces a wonderful classic Wit style. When fermented at the low end of the range, produces a mild and sulfury character, at warmer temps produces a more phenolic and tart character. This yeast requires lots of head space so be sure to give it room. Also, like most Belgian stains it benefits from patience and an occasional swirl to rouse the yeast. I have not had problems with full attenuation but I allow at least two weeks for primary fermentation when using this strain.
“Will definitely brew this strain again”
Beautiful fruit notes and slight malt overtones come through. Long fermenter, 2 week at 65 and it's still going and so far I'm at about 1.011 from 1.058. Around 80% attenuation! Will definitely brew with this strain again.
“I entered this one in a contest ...”
Made a 10 gallon batch, and split it, used dry yeast on one 5 gallon, and WLP400 on the other 5 gallon. This strain takes a while to ferment; I fermented at 65f, for a week, swirled it, and brought it up to 75f for another week, and swirled it again, and dropped to 65f for another week to finish. My final gravity was 1.009, down from 1.060. Takes a while to get the flavors in there, and the tartness, but I entered this one in a contest instead of the dry yeast batch. I was having a debate on what batch I should send, as the dry batch came out very, very good, but this one came out better after about a month and a half in the bottle. Great nose, and the slight tartness really makes the orange pop in your Wit's, and grand cru's.
“Be patient ... ”
Be patient with this strain. As other reviewers have stated stirring will help move it along in the fermenter, but it still needs to age. 3 weeks after bottling the beer still had strong sulfur smell (although it was delicious). It took another month of aging before the sulfur subsided, and the beer had much more character as well.
“... less aggressive than WLP300 ...”
This one needed to be swirl every three, two, and at last, each day, down to 1004, then secondary to FG 1002. OG 1056, OT 82°F. Regarding the yeast I believe I can say there is an excellent fruity flavor. It starts less aggressive than WLP300 but still strong foam is present. Despite it needed work there was carbonation at degustation. End-to-end production 80 days (6 weeks in bottle). Ingredients: COOPERS 1.7kg brewmaster wheat malt can, 1.5kg Belgian candy sugar, dextrose priming sugar (8,84g/L), 1kg liquid wheat malt pale, WLP400 only. Overall fruity notes, malt flavor, length in mouth, maybe chocolate final notes, 7.47-7.74%. still good at 10 weeks. Attenuation 96%?!
“... low to very low flocculation”
This strain could easily be classified as low to very low flocculation. I had this in a primary for 2 weeks and there was still a thick krausen at the top. Decided to transfer to secondary, after 2 days there was a considerable amount of yeast still in suspension. Probably could have sit another week if i wanted a slightly clearer beer but since wit beer is traditionally cloudy I bottled right away.
“My first time with this yeast ... ”
My first time with this yeast. I pitched vial to wort without a starter, and easily achieved 80% attenuation (FG 1.010) in 3 weeks, without the swirling suggested by other reviewers. The beer also cleared to a perfect witbier haze in that time. The best words for the result: fruity, tangy, and spicy.
“... take some time ... ”
My first time with this yeast. I used it without doing any starter (2.5 gallons batch, OG=1.058), and, after the first week, my SG was 1.018 and after five weeks, my FG was about 1.005. This means I had a 91% attenuation without all the swirling suggested by other reviewers. This yeast just needs to take some time to do a great job. The sample I tasted was perfect. Will definitely use it again.
“ ... most impressed”
What a strain! I pitched one vial into a light Belgian Wit (SG=1.043), and it took off within 24hr! It had finished the job around 4 days, but I left it in the primary for 2.5 weeks prior to bottling. Regardless, I hit 80% attenuation without much effort at all....most impressed!
“Give it some time ... ”
Lovely yeast. Don't underestimate it by limiting it to Wits only. Worked very nicely on a Dubbel and a Grand Cru I brewed in addition to a Wit. Spicy phenols and some fruit notes go well with a Dubbel. Very slow yeast, though. My Wit, which also came out quite nice, took about 15 days to finish up while most other yeasts finish in 3 to 5 days. I make 2 liter starters with a stir plate but this strain's just a bit slow. The Dubbel was made using yeast harvested from the Wit and finished a little faster, but still maybe 12 days. Give it some time, it's worth the wait.
“This is the first time I used this yeast ...”
This is the first time I used this yeast and I must say this yeast produces perfect flavors for a traditional Witbier. I have used dried yeast before and wasn't impressed. In fact the off flavors it produced made me stay away from Witbiers for a while, but now that I used this strain I'm brewing Witbier style beer more and more. I will say that you can detect a huge flavor improvement using this yeast. I will also say that I couldn't detect any off flavors at all when I fermented at 67 deg F.
“I seriously screwed up the double moon”
I seriously screwed up the double moon and it finished at 1.104 thirty or so points above were I wanted it.I pitched a half a gallon starter that was 5 days old and aerated at 0 hrs and at 24. I was scared because website says 10% alcohol and I was beyond that for sure.I wrote guys at white labs and they said let it go and I was very surprised at 2 weeks it measured 1.018 and at 3 months 1.013; much to my surprise.There wasn't any off flavors and although the first month was in the 80s temp wise the next two were in 60s in my garage.Very drinkable at 6 months and not thick like other barley wines I have had although I mashed at 145 and 150 for 2 plus hours,oh and lots of wheat.
“Used a more Americanized grain bill for this yeast”
Used a more Americanized grain bill for this yeast and used fresh lemon peel during fermentation. It was only from half a lemon, but wow this yeast makes a drinkable tart beer. It took awhile and I had to rouse the yeast multiple times to attenuate. Fermentation was a little warm around 73, we had a heat spell while fermenting and I couldn't keep the cellar cool enough during primary or secondary, I suspect this is the reason for the tart! flavor more than the lemon peel. It made a nice beer.
“I've used this yeast in all of my wheat beers”
I've used this yeast in all of my wheat beers and usually ferment it hot, in the 80s, and get great clove spice. Recently I repitched a slurry into a "dubbel" that I split into two fermenters. The OG went from 1.068 to 1.004 in 1 week! I pitched in the high 60's and fermented in similar range. There is strong bubblegum to the beer after 10 days, which I don't mind, but I will age in keg for weeks before drawing a final! "sample".
“If you use this yeast ....”
If you use this yeast you are going to need to give it a good rouse each day, it seems to like floating on top (looking very healthy) and stalling until you rouse it. After rousing it tries to escape the fermenter and you get a gravity drop. So be prepared :)
“I used WPL-400 in a Coopers Wheat Kit to replace the dry yeast”
I used WPL-400 in a Coopers Wheat Kit to replace the dry yeast that was packaged in the kit. I fermented at 70 degrees and left it in primary for 3 weeks, I also gave the fermenting vessel an occasional swirl after the first week or so. After 2 and 1/2 weeks in the bottle what I got was very, very close to Hoegaarden. An excellent wit with a tart almost dry finish. Best beer I've brewed to date. Love this yeast.
Optimum Ferment Temp.67-74°F
MiniFerment Data ?