Northern Brewer has long had a thing for the Wyeast 1469 Yorkshire Ale strain. Every time this limited edition yeast came out we'd bring back the Innkeeper kit, a phenomenal British Bitter developed for us by BJCP Continuing Education Director Kris England. Homebrewers would brew that kit like crazy for the brief time that the yeast was available, and a lot of folks (myself included) would hoard packs of it towards the end of its run. Thankfully, those days are over, because Wyeast has recently announced that the 1469 strain will now be available year-round. Huzzah!
In celebration, I had a little Q and A on the strain with Greg Doss, microbiologist at Wyeast Laboratories. I also asked homebrewing author and Maltose Falcon Drew Beechum to share his reasons for loving the 1469 strain and give us a recipe that uses the yeast. Here's what Greg had to say about the strain:
Northern Brewer: I know that some British strains benefit from additional aeration or agitation. Is this one of them?
Greg Doss: No, this strain will benefit from the same 10-15 ppm O2 range we recommend for most Ales.
NB: Would this strain be a good candidate for open fermentations? Is that how it is used commercially?
GD: I do not know if it is used in open fermentations commercially, but I would prefer to keep it in a closed system. It is highly flocculent but not a chain forming strain. It does not float more than standard ale strains and will sediment rapidly. Rapid sedimentation could leave the beer exposed to O2.
NB: What about top-cropping? Does the 1469 strain have the chain-forming characteristics needed?
GD: As mentioned above, 1469 is not a chain former and will not float more than standard ale strains. It could be top cropped (as any strain could be) but it is a much better bottom cropping strain.
NB: What flavors differences have you guys noticed when fermenting at the very low end of the range and the very high end of the range? Does this strain get fruity or phenolic easily?
GD: 1469 produces a very soft and well balanced, classic British profile. Slight fruit will be present throughout the temp range but will be elevated at the higher end. This strain is phenolic negative and does not produce phenolic by-products.
NB: It seems like the alcohol tolerance is fairly low (9%), should homebrewers add nutrients or do anything different in a high alcohol fermentation for this yeast?
GD: 1469 will tolerate slightly higher alcohol range (10%- maybe 11%) but can have a tendency to sediment out of big beers. Adequate pitch rates (high ~ 1 million cells per ml. per degree Plato) and warm conditions (70F) will keep the yeast in suspension to insure complete attenuation.
NB: I haven't experienced it myself, but I've heard that the krausen can take a while to fall with the 1469 yeast. Have you guys noticed this, and do you know why that is?
GD: We haven’t experienced this either. Refrigerating the beer should drop the krausen.
Thanks Greg! Now for a little homebrewer perspective, here is what Drew Beechum had to say about the Yorkshire Ale strain:
I have to admit, when I first heard that the Yorkshire was coming out as a regular strain I was giddier than a six year old anticipating Christmas presents galore. Why wouldn’t I? Treated right, this bug dances on a tight rope. It pushes a strong fruity character, but it eschews the typically obnoxious apple/pear/cherry pie British yeast aromas. It provides a solid nutty malt foundation without the cloying lip smacking sugar sweet finish. The final product proves delightfully smooth and balanced.
Everyone wants to kick out a clone of the classic Yorkshire ale, Timothy Taylor Landlord. I say let them. Let’s try a ballsy British Summer Barleywine. What? Never heard of it? It must be a thing. My favorite involves pale malt and a few hops and a characterful yeast.
Actually, on second thought, I’m not happy about Wyeast bringing this yeast out full time. Thanks to my Yorkshire hoard, I’ve always had unique ales unlike my neighbors. Now all of you can get this bad boy.
Guess I’ll have to find a new secret!
Cruel Summer Pale Barleywine
For 5.5 Gallons at 1.080 (72% efficiency), 50 IBUs, 8.2 SRM, 8.9% ABV
- Malt / Grain / Sugar
- 15 lbs Maris Otter Malt
- 0.5 lbs Medium English Crystal
- 1.0 lbs Table Sugar (added during boil)
Mash at 153F for 60 minutes
- 1.0 oz UK Pilgrim Hops 11.5% 60 minutes
- 1.0 oz UK Phoenix 8.0% 10 minutes
- 1.0 oz UK East Kent Goldings dry hop for 7-14 days.
Wyeast Yorkshire ale
For an Extract Version, sub 11 lbs of good English pale liquid malt extract for the Maris Otter and drop the crystal malt to 4 oz.
Thanks, Drew! Check out Drew's Blog sometime for a good read. And finally, if you'd like to try the 1469 strain, we will be offering 20% off this yeast for the next week, while supplies last. Just add the yeast to your cart with the rest of your order and use this coupon code: