WLP862 Cry Havoc Lager Yeast is now WLP1983 Charlie's Fist Bump Yeast

The backstory:

Charlie Papazian has been using this yeast since 1983 for most of the recipes that appear in his books, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, The Homebrewer's Companion and Microbrewed Adventures.

This strain was cultured up from a frozen yeast bank and given to Charlie as a “lager” yeast in the early 1980s when homebrewers didn’t have access to quality yeast, especially lager yeast. He had great success with lager brewing endeavors, but as he started experimenting and trying out new ideas, Charlie began using this yeast strain for brewing ales. During these experiments, Charlie found he could produce berry-like fruity flavor and aroma esters when he fermented it at higher ale temperatures. He soon adapted this strain of yeast to successfully produce ales, lagers, hybrids, imperials, doppels, altbiers, kölsch, British-style ales, American and German-style lagers, and many other classic styles of beer.   

Charlie managed his yeast by culturing it in 1.038-1.040 very pale hopped wort in one or two-quart glass jars. The yeast was very resilient and could be kept for years on fermented wort if properly stored and not disturbed. When at times there were wild yeast infections, the wild yeast would die off over a long period of time, but his yeast would survive and ferment with consistent character.

In 2007, Chris White asked Charlie about his yeast and soon thereafter performed a microscopic examination on Charlie’s yeast. The results showed that it was a clean, healthy strain that produced great beer. It was first offered by White Labs with the name “Cry Havoc.” With Charlie's help, we're giving the strain a fresh name to represent the iconic homebrewer it came from. 

Charlie’s assessment of his yeast:

Extremely versatile yeast for lagers, ales, hybrid-styles, and mixed fermentations. Appropriate fermentation temperatures and techniques will yield classic lager or ale characters.

Fermentation temperatures:

  • At ale higher ale fermentation temperatures classic fruity esters are produced during primary ferment. Subsequent cellaring of ales in the mid-50°F range expedites compact sedimentation and clear beer while any further fermentation continues to its endpoint.

  • Primary lager fermentations are vigorous mid-50°F, classically between 50 and 55°F.  After fermentation subsides and the beer begins to clear transitioning to 33 to 38°F lagering for 3 to 8 weeks notably develops balanced, clean and smooth well-balanced characters.

Existential characters:

  • This yeast is not inclined to produce perceivable diacetyl or DMS flavor/aroma compounds.  With proper brewing, fermenting, conditioning and packaging final beers have a clean finish.  Malt and hop characters are highlighted with this yeast.

  • Under certain circumstances, sulfur aroma/flavor notes can be generated during primary fermentation. Complex sulfur flavor/aroma may reveal themselves in young beer. If in these uncommon circumstances sulfur aroma and flavor compounds reveal themselves, they are always reduced to imperceptible levels over a reasonable time.

Yeast niceties:

  • Bottle or keg refermentation will take place at low temperatures, though conditioning/carbonation may take longer at cooler temperatures.

  • Yeast is typically very compact and sticks to the bottom of finishing package, bottles, kegs.  

  • Yeast is hearty can be stored air-locked atop low gravity fermentations for months, even years especially when stored cool and not physically disturbed or agitated. One experience led to successfully rejuvenating yeast from a quart bottle of a 25-year-old homebrewed doppelbock. The subsequent beer made from this rejuvenated yeast was consistent with its historical character.

All the above characters and experiences can vary with different water chemistry, temperatures, yeast health, pitch volume, etc. 

Visit WLP1983 Charlie's Fist Bump page.

Watch Charlie and Chris talk about the yeast below with Craft Brewing Business! 

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