Sunday, January 30, 2011

West Yorkshire Bitter Tasting

When Wyeast released their VSS 1469 West Yorkshire strain a few months ago, I went out and bought as many packs as I could find. I had heard so many good things about this yeast and had such high expectations for it that I assumed anything brewed with it would turn out fantastic. I even had hopes to make it my 'house yeast' for 2011. However, like most of my plans, it was not to be. My first few batches with wy1469 turned out pretty poorly, with the yeast refusing to flocculate and producing lots of really strong banana esters, even when fermented at lower temps (64-65F). Then I had one batch - a Rigwelter Brown clone - that decided to not attenuate at all and turned sour while still in the primary. It got dumped. After one complete failure and two lackluster beers, I pretty much had it with this yeast. I was just about to give away my last pack to a friend when by chance I saw a recipe for Timothy Taylor's Landlord posted on one of the brewblogs I frequent. Having dunk a few pints of the stuff in London and knowing how good it was, I figured I would brew it with wy1469 as it is supposedly the same yeast that Timothy Taylor uses in all of their beers. Fast forward three months... 

Gunsmith Bitter: Timothy Taylor Landlord 

Appearance –  Very clear, though it took a month in the bottle to get there - fining probably would have been a good idea for the cask version. Color is pretty much spot on, amber-orange, though a tad darker than the commerical version. Decent pillow-y head that leaves some lacing.
Smell – First impression is apple and pear esters, with lots of clean biscuity malt. The hops come through in the middle with a slightly floral - earthy character. The tiniest touch of diacetyl at the end.

 Taste – Very malty with lots of toasty-biscuit notes and just a hint of caramel. Hops are apparent but not over powering, with citrus and earthy notes. Bitterness is soft initially but grows in strength as it moves across the palate. The beer finishes dry, though has some residual malt sweetness that marries well with the yeast derived flavors.

Mouthfeel – Very smooth and creamy, though the beer finishes dry. Low carbonation makes for easy drinking.  

Drinkability & Notes – While I wouldn't say it is cloned - not my original intention - I am  happy with how the beer came out. It is very well balanced and extremely drinkable. If I were to brew this again I would probably add more late hops and possibly dry hop it for a bit more hop character. My only main criticism would be that it is not as clean tasting as I would like for competitions, though some judges may not mind. Overall a good beer, though I don't know if I will use wy1469 too much in the future. In a competition, I would score this beer around 35/50.

Recipe was 100% Maris Otter with Fuggles, EKG, and Styrian goldings hops; O.G: 1.045, F.G: 1.009, 35 IBU.


  1. hey, I figured I would work my way through your blog from the beginning. I'm confused as to the color of the beer using 100% Maris Otter malt,I use it often and only get a golden color at best out of it...

    1. Hi Mike, the reason for the darker color is that my old system/burner tended to caramelize the wort quite a bit. If I wasn't careful, I could boil off half the liquid in my boil kettle within an hour. It made for some interesting tasting beers, but the fuel costs really added up.


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