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White Labs Distilling Yeast

edited October 2013 in Recipes

Just got the latest White Labs Newsletter & found this article.

Great stuff - fresh yeast! Keen to try them, but have several bricks of dry I need to use first. I note there is not a rum yeast. Wonder why?

Distilling style yeast is here At the National Homebrew conference this year, White Labs rolled out 4 new liquid strains in distinctive blue labels aimed at beer wash recipes that will give authentic Whiskey, Vodka, and Gin flavors to your wash. If you were lucky enough to attend, we served beer made with all 4 yeasts at our booth for flavor comparisons. So without further ado:

WLP045 Scotch Whisky Yeast A strain that was widely used for Scotch Whisky production from the early 1950s, producing a complex array of ester compounds and fusel oils, as well as some spicy, clove character. Suitable for Scotch Whisky or American-style Whiskey. Used in high-gravity beers.

WLP050 Tennessee Whiskey Yeast Suitable for American-style whiskey and bourbon. This yeast is famous for creating rich, smooth flavors. Clean and dry fermenting yeast. Will tolerate high alcohol concentrations (15%), and ester production is low. Also popular in high-gravity beers.

WLP065 American Whiskey Yeast Yeast strain that produces low ester profile and moderate fusel oils. Temperature and alcohol tolerant and suitable for American-style whiskey using barley or corn base. Also used in high-gravity beers.

WLP070 Bourbon Yeast From a tradtional distillery in the heart of Bourbon country, this strain produces a carmel, malty character with balanced ester profile. Suitable for Bourbon or other American Whiskey with barley, rye, or corn as the base grain. Used in high-gravity beers.

WLP078 Neutral Grain Yeast Marked by a clean, fast fermentation, this strain is ideal for any neutral grain spirit. Alcohol and temperature tolerant. Used in high-gravity beers.

**Note: Distilling in the United States is illegal without a federal license. This yeast is intended for use in beer or by licensed distilleries. Find beer recipes for these strains at

Whiskey vs. Whisky The keen eyed folks out there may have noticed that our strains have 2 different spellings for Whisky/Whiskey. This is intentional and not a label error, so why the difference?

According to the Master of Malt website:

As a rule, American and Irish prefer ‘whiskey’ and the Scots, Canadians and the rest of the world’s single malt makers prefer ‘whisky’. This originated during the 19th century. For in around 1870, Scotch whisky was of very low quality, much of it being distilled poorly in Coffey stills.
For exportation to America, the Irish distillers wanted to differentiate their product from the poorer Scotch whisky, thus they added the ‘e’ to mark the crucial distinction. Today, Scotch whisky has become one of the world’s greatest spirits, but the spelling still differs.
On mass, Americans still spell their spirit with an ‘e’, though legally it is spelled ‘whisky’. A few distillers, Maker’s Mark and George Dickel for example, prefer the Scottish spelling, this is to be attributed to their Scottish ancestry.



  • Just like my beers, i'll stick to dry yeast. It's just one less complication with not having to use stirplates and make starters in advance etc.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • FYI, White Labs does a Fermentation for Distillers seminar once a year (maybe more if there is interest). The class was last weekend at their San Diego office.

  • edited October 2013

    @punkin said: Just like my beers, i'll stick to dry yeast. It's just one less complication with not having to use stirplates and make starters in advance etc.

    Gosh I would not have picked that. Whilst there may be some concerns* with liquid yeast use, it opens so many other doors. *These are easily dealt with. Maybe you should go back to goop brewing because it is quicker and easier? :P

    If it aint half off, it aint on sale!

  • edited October 2013

    Maybe. Or i could drink water, that's easier still.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • 211211
    edited October 2013

    If I was going to go to all that effort and cost again, I would probily just buy a 4 pack of unfiltered craft beer, maybe a nice Scottish Ale, drink the beer and pour the sediment into a jar and use that as a starter. Same price as WLP028 or WLP005 and you get to have a nice beer to drink while you make up your wash.

  • My local brew group just did a group buy with White Labs and I picked up some of the dry Turbo Whiskey Yeast so far I'm not impressed with it as it produced a rather flavourless wash that resulted in a less than stellar tasting stripping run. A few of the other members picked up some of the liquid distilling yeasts but haven't tried them yet. The yeast shipment got stopped at the border because of these yeasts but they eventually cleared it without any issues. I think they saw the words Rum and Whiskey and Vodka and thought that there was liquor in the shipment.

  • I tried several ferments with the White Labs Vodka Turbo dry yeast. It did ferment very fast but it produced alot of heads and tails. Was not really happy with it. Now I use EC1118 for my Vodka. I feel this is giving me a much cleaner ferment and I like the flavor profile better. It does take longer to ferment though.

  • are you fermenting within the temp parameters? have you tried a cooler ferment?

    just out of interest how are you controlling your ferment temps and what size are they

    i have been looking at how glycol works and looks like a good alternative

  • Tried ferments at 78F and 70F. Did not really taste any difference. Either way I did not like it. 250 Gallon Ferments. They tend to stay at the temp that I add the yeast at on their own. I am going to build a Glycol Chiller for crash cooling after the ferment to speed up clearing.

  • AFAIK, white labs sell both fresh and dry yeast including a turbo.

    i think we have all experienced the off flavours that turbo yeasts produce, so why think that a turbo produced by white labs (to deliver what most of the uneducated market is asking for) will be any different?

    my experience with white labs liquid beer yeast saw good beers become great. Sure they are dearer, but you can get many generations going in many ways.

    I am keen to try them some time because of the difference they and controlled fermentation have made to my AG beers. In addition there are so many more liquid yeasts available for beer, so its good to see some variety of commercially sources distilling strains becoming available for everyone.

  • You have such a huge array of dry wine and beer yeast. im sure you can get the results your after from them.

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