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Yeast Substitutions

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What happens when you have found the perfect recipe, but it calls for a yeast that is either not being produced any more, or it is only made by a yeast lab that your homebrew shop doesn’t carry? For example, White Labs WLP039 East Midlands Ale Yeast. A great yeast, but unfortunately, it’s one of “The Vault” strains of yeast from White Labs that is only available to professional brewers or to homebrewers directly from White Labs.

When this happens you have to start looking for a substitute.  You can fire up the old Google machine, or search web forums…

Or, you can check out this handy, dandy chart from David Taylor.  Find WLP039 on the list and you’ll see that it corresponds to Lallemand Nottingham and Mangrove Jacks M42 New World Strong Ale. David’s list seems to sort by default by White Labs strain numbers, so it starts at WLP001 and proceeds down to WLP940. This database features yeasts from Lallemand, Fermentis, Mangrove Jack, White Labs, and Wyeast. David appears to be keeping this list fairly up to date and it is easy to search.

Additionally, you can check out the YeastBot Database. I first found this database a few years ago and it looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2019, but there is still some great information in here.  Like David Taylor’s chart you can cross reference strains from one yeast lab to another. But this database also shows (where the information is available) which brewery the yeast was sourced from, as well as pitching and fermentation notes. This database features beer yeasts from Wyeast, White Labs, Brewferm, Coopers, Danstar (Lallemand), Fermentis, Mangrove Jack, and East Coast Yeast, as well as wine strains from Lalvin, Red Star, and Vintner’s Harvest.

Unfortunately, I have yet to see any similar charts that incorporate Imperial or Omega yeasts strains.

  • Robb Burden
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