Archive | November, 2012

Under the Microscope: WLP644 Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois

29 Nov

Under the Microscope is a new series of Yeastbuddy posts that highlight specific (usually new or seasonal) White Labs strains.

The cat is out of the bag, so to speak, with wild ales, gueuzes, lambics and sours. The demand and desire for funky, sour beers has never been higher- just ask a bottle shop that’s trying to stock Cantillon, or the guy who traveled hours for the release of the newest batch of Lost Abbey’s Cable Car. In 2012, we introduced WLP644 Brettanomyces bruxellensis Trois and it proved to be one of our most popular Platinum Series strains of the year. 2013 will see Brett trois added to our year-round offerings due to popular demand. Brett trois is a versatile Belgian strain that works great in primary fermentation, producing tropical flavors and the signature funky bite that people look for in wild ales. The strain is perfectly suited for 100% brett beers (check out this 100% Brett IPA brewed by our friend The Mad Fermentationist), and works well in bottle conditioning, producing consistent effervescence when added during bottling. So sour brew fanatics rejoice, your homebrewing yeast options just got funkier.

2 new strains part of 2013 Platinum schedule

29 Nov

2013 Platinum Strain Series Release
The White Labs Platinum Series features three seasonal strains that are available in stores for two months at a time.
WLP022 Essex Ale Yeast
WLP510 Bastogne Yeast
WLP815 Belgian Lager Yeast
WLP009 Australian Ale Yeast
WLP017 Whitbread Ale Yeast – Back by popular demand
WLP860 Munich Helles Yeast
WLP410 Belgian Wit II Yeast
WLP076 Albion Ale Yeast – NEW
WLP072 French Ale Yeast
WLP006 Bedford British Ale Yeast
WLP540 Abbey IV Yeast
WLP585 Belgian Saison III Yeast
WLP039 East Midlands Ale Yeast
WLP709 Sake #9 Yeast – NEW
WLP885 Zurich Lager Yeast
WLP037 Yorkshire Square Yeast
WLP515 Antwerp Ale Yeast
WLP920 Old Bavarian Lager Yeast

Saint Archer IPA Tasting tomorrow at White Labs Tasting Room 11/28

27 Nov

We’re beyond excited to be tapping a keg of soon-to-be-open Saint Archer‘s IPA tomorrow at the White Labs Tasting Room at noon. I conducted the following Q&A with brewmaster Ray Astamendi (formerly of Mission Brewery, Left Coast Brewing Co., and Maui Brewing Co.) via e-mail:

Q I know a lot of people, myself included, are eagerly anticipating you guys opening your doors to the public. Could you talk a little bit about your plans for launch? (initial offerings, bottles/cans?)

A: Our 30-bbl brewhouse, manufactured by Premier Stainless, is scheduled for delivery in January. We’re planning to have all our fermenters filled and in full production mode by early February. Initially, we will offer a kolsch-style ale, a hoppy pale ale, and of course an India Pale Ale – all of which will be available in 6-packs, 22oz. bottles, as well as 1/6 & ½ barrel kegs. We are anticipating additional fermenters in March/April which will permit us to launch our Double-IPA, as well as some other beers that Kim Lutz and I are working on now.

 Q: The branding and design component of St Archer is so on point and really seems to distinguish you guys from other breweries. Can you talk a bit about the company as a purveyor of lifestyle in addition to great brewing?

A: The two go hand-in-hand. Brewing is a form of creative expression, balancing both art and science.  The lifestyle element behind Saint Archer is deeply rooted in creativity, passion, and commitment. There is definitely a correlation between the two, and everyone behind Saint Archer sees that. Having grown up in Southern California at a critical time in the development of modern surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding, I was immediately hooked when approached for this project. Afterall, I started brewing in the mid-90’s when I moved to Lake Tahoe – snowboarding and beer go hand in hand! It was beers like Anchor, Sierra Nevada, and Red Nectar that inspired me to make my own.

Q:What are your favorite styles to brew? How much variation can we expect to see in the St. Archer line (ie. experimental one-offs, collaborations, variants, barrel-aged versions of beers, etc)?

A: I definitely lean towards the sessionable beers. I’ve always loved traditional German beers such as Kölsch, Altbier, Helles, Maibock. On the other hand, a solid IPA is hard to beat.  I really believe that there is a time and a place for every beer. Our lineup will be continuously expanding – tanks permitting. Kim and I are working on the direction we intend to take our product line. Having worked with Kim in the past, I’m excited to be able to work with her again, and to collaborate with her so we can offer the widest variety of beers to satisfy the increasingly diversified palette of today’s craft beer enthusiast.

Q:You guys brewed a test IPA here at White Labs, trying out different strains in the process of dialing in the recipe. What do you look for in a yeast strain? What are some of your favorites/top performers?

A: Having brewed with many different White Labs yeast strains over the years, I definitely lean towards certain strains – especially when it comes to specific styles. I love WLP051 for Pales and IPA’s. The ester profile lends itself really well to compliment the hop character of those styles. For my Kölsch, WLP029 is the obvious choice – although I’m really interested in trying other similar strains to see how they perform side-by-side. Maybe we brew that one with you guys next?

Q: What’s the best thing about San Diego’s beer scene?

 A: The diversity and proliferation of great beer! We are so lucky to live and brew in such a vibrant, talent-rich community. This truly is America’s Finest City.

Big thanks to Ray for taking the time to answer my questions. Check out this fantastic short film that offers insight into the St. Archer aesthetic and be sure to stop by the Tasting Room tomorrow!

White Labs at the 1er. Congreso Internacional de Cerveceros Artesanales

26 Nov

White Labs founder and president Chris White visted Chile this past week to give a talk and judge the competition at the 1er. Congreso Internacional de Cerveceros Artesanales.

Announcing the January/February 2013 Platinum Strains

19 Nov

We’re beyond excited to announce the first batch of 2013 Platinum Strains, which will be released in January.

Be sure to ask your homebrew shop about them and plan your brews accordingly!

WLP022 Essex Ale Yeast
Flavorful British style yeast. Drier finish than many British ale yeast. Produces slightly fruity and bready character.    Good top fermenting yeast strain, is well suited for top cropping (collecting). This yeast is well suited for classic British milds, pale ales, bitters, and stouts. Does not flocculate as much as WLP002 and WLP005.

WLP510 Bastogne Belgian Ale Yeast:
A high gravity, Trappist style ale yeast. Produces dry beer with slight acidic finish. More ‘clean’ fermentation character than WLP500 or WLP530. Not as spicy as WLP530 or WLP550. Excellent yeast for high gravity beers, Belgian ales, dubbels and trippels.

WLP815 Belgian Lager Yeast
Clean, crisp European lager yeast with low sulfur  production. The strain originates from a very old brewery in West Belgium. Great for European style pilsners, dark lagers, Vienna lager, and American style lagers.

11/16-18: White Labs Walks for the Cure!

15 Nov


This weekend, several White Labs employees will be walking a total of 60 miles around San Diego County to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity. Starting Friday 11/16,  Lisa White, Neva Parker, Kara Taylor, Maureen Lalonde, Allison Wells, and Michael Fuller will begin the walk at Del Mar Fairgrounds as part of the 18-person Beer 4 Boobs team that is aspiring to raise $45,000.00 for the cause!

We want to give a big shoutout to our fantastic sponsors: HopUnion, Green Flash, Ballast Point, Lost Abbey, Pizza Port, Northwestern Mutual, Maui Brewing Company, Briess Malt & Ingredients, Sam Adams, Fredericksburg Brewing Company, Coronado Brewing Company & Sudwerk Brewery.  Thanks also go out to Bootlegger’s Brewery and The Bruery for holding some amazing pint nights and offering generous beer donations.

Below you’ll find a listing of the cheering stations for this weekend:

Friday, November 16
7:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
En Fuego Cantina Restaurant
1342 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014
9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography
8580 La Jolla Shores Drive
San Diego, CA 92037
9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
12:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Taylor Library
4275 Cass Street
San Diego, CA 92109

Saturday, November 17
7:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Robb Field South
2525 Bacon Street
San Diego, CA 92107
Please park in parking lot inside park closest to Sunset Cliffs Blvd and cheer on participants as they walk between parking lot and ball fields.
9:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Robb Field North
2525 Bacon Street
San Diego, CA 92107
Please cheer on participants as they walk along OB Bike Path between water and parking lot opposite tennis courts.
10:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
South Mission
2600 Mission Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92109

Sunday, November 18
8:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
San Diego Visitor Info
2688 E. Mission Bay Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
11:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater
2150 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101


White Labs & AleSmith Collaboration Tasting

14 Nov

Join us on December 3rd in the White Labs Tasting Room for a very special, one time-only event. We’ve teamed up with one of our favorite breweries on the planet, the superb AleSmith Brewing Company, to put together a Tap Takeover, White Labs-style!

AleSmith provided us with some of their Wee Heavy wort and we’ve fermented it with 16 (!) different yeast strains, all of which will be on tap on Monday the 3rd for the release party (and will remain on tap until finished, which means they could be on tap for several weeks). The good folks at AleSmith had the idea to try to bring out the characteristics of a Weizen Bock in Wee Heavy using yeast and fermentation alone, and we’ve used a wide variety of strains- from Hefes to Belgians- to elicit significant changes in the flavor profile.

Simply put, this event is not to be missed!

Happy Pure Culture Anniversary!

12 Nov


On this day in 1883, Emil Christian Hansen was the first scientist in history to successfully create a pure yeast culture for use in brewing. He was head of the Carlsberg Research Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark and his work stood on the shoulders of Louis Pasteur who had published novel techniques a few years earlier.

Hansen’s technique was elegant. By performing serial dilutions of a yeast culture from the brewery he ended up isolating single cells, just like in later plating techniques. Enriching the single-cell solutions by additions of sterile wort lead to multiplication of the cells. From there, Hansen performed a stepwise propagation where a culture was added to a larger volume of wort and left to multiply over and over again. The result was a yeast slurry, wherein all the cells originated from the original mother cell. At last, the first pure yeast culture was a reality!
This innovation was shared with the brewing community in Europe and cured the “beer disease” (i.e. contaminated beer) that was a huge problem in Europe at the time.
129 years have gone by and today and we still use many of the same techniques every day at White Labs.

WLP005 British Ale Yeast wins the election!

9 Nov

The White House beer winner is in! As background White Labs brewed President Barack Obama’s homebrew recipe, including his use of a dried, non-American made yeast. Obama’s beer was paired against three other variations of the same recipe with the only difference being White Labs liquid yeast. People voted in the weeks before Election Day Nov. 6, 2012, and the White House beer ballots were counted at the end of the business day. Unlike the national elections in which Barack reclaimed his presidency, his homebrew recipe lost. The winner by a landslide was a beer made with White Labs yeast — WLP005 British Ale Yeast. But the beer won’t be on tap for the next four years. It will be more like a couple days. Try it soon!

Chris White To Visit HomeBrew USA

5 Nov

As part of the Customer Club Vial Redemption program, White Labs offers rewards and discounts to repeat customers who send us labels from their used vials. The ultimate reward, given to a homebrew shop that amasses 5,000 labels, sees Chris White himself paying a visit to the shop to brew a beer and hang out with fellow brewers and White Labs faithful. On Saturday, December 8th, Chris will travel to Norfolk, VA to visit Homebrew USA where he will give a talk, answer questions, and brew an award-winning homebrew with Customer Club member Christopher Knight (a hop-forward Belgian ale brewed with coriander, grapefruit peel and chamomile!)