Pilsner Urquell clone yeast recommendations

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by KPlen, May 11, 2022 at 9:31 PM.

  1. KPlen

    KPlen Initiate (55) Apr 19, 2017 Colorado

    I am going to brew a Pilsner Urquell clone. The recipe calls for Wyeast 2001 but my local brew shop doesn't carry it. What would be a good substitution?

    Also, first time brewing a lager. Should I pitch 2 packs of yeast, instead of just 1?

    Thanks in advance!!
  2. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (237) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    According to the Mr. Malty website WLP800 is the equivalent of WY2001.
    You should use more than just one package when brewing a lager. You could pitch two packages or equivalently make a yeast starter (e.g., a 2 liter yeast starter).

  4. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (237) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    mrmalty.com got a lot of things wrong. Nice guesses, but inaccurate, as discovered through genetic testing. WLP800 is actually a Kolsch type yeast closely related to Wyeast 2565, whereas Wyeast 2001 is a true pastorianus yeast on the opposite end of the evolutionary chart.

    JackHorzempa likes this.
  5. KPlen

    KPlen Initiate (55) Apr 19, 2017 Colorado

    White Labs website has the following info for WLP800:

    A classic pilsner strain from the Czech Republic, this strain produces a clean, crisp beer that’s somewhat dry with a malty finish. A to-style pilsner strain, this yeast is also well suited for thirst quenching lagers such as Munich Helles, dunkels and American lagers.

    Part No:
    Part Name:
    Pilsner Lager Yeast
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    @KPlen, if you are hesitant to use WLP800 as a substitute for WY2001 another Czech Lager strain you can consider is WLP802 (Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast). This is not a specific Pilsner Urquell strain but is a Czech sourced lager yeast strain. WLP802 is my go to strain for fermenting my annual batch of Czech Dark Lager and I recently used WLP802 to ferment my annual batch of Bohemian Pilsner (vs. my typical strain of WY2124). My Bohemian Pilsner is still in the bottle conditioning phase so I have nothing to report yet here for a Pilsner.

  7. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,941) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    I did a double take. I brewed with this 3x before banning it from my brewhouse. I was surprised to see that its nearest neighbor in the lager branch of the genetic tree was WY2001. I really struggled to get it to make anything lager like. Perhaps the old nature vs. nurture tale played over again, i.e., homebrewer failed to nurture the yeast. Still, I tried, and would suggest that this might be a tricky strain to work with. Genetics be damned, I cannot recommend it.
    dmtaylor likes this.
  8. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (237) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    It's not really a favorite of mine at all; HOWEVER, there are others online who swear it's fantastic. To each his own.
  9. PortLargo

    PortLargo Zealot (509) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Last year I met with a senior rep from White Labs. When asking about mrmalty and some of it's results I got a "you-gotta-be-shitting-me" look. Was informed the data is more than two decades old and the clear implication was "nobody" uses the calculator for any serious purposes. That was from their expert who had a lot of letters behind her name.

    For the OP, two packets of 34/70 (dry) will give you solid results, maybe not Urquell'ish but a mighty fine lager...KISS.
    dmtaylor likes this.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I took one bottle of my recent batch of Bohemian Pilsner out for a 'road test' last evening and this batch turned out great. I have no reticence recommending WLP802 to ferment a Bohemian Pilsner beer.

  11. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,003) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    And yet, where is White Labs' own calculator for home brewers? I've looked for one. I did find this, which is interesting...


    I note that the "optimal" lager pitch rate of 1.5 Cells/ml/Degree P for cool pitched/fermented lagers is exactly the same as Mr. Malty's recommendation. For ales, WL's pitch rate in Cells/ml/Degree P seems to vary by gravity, which is interesting, since "per Degree P" would already seem to have that variable covered. Effectively, they are creating a curve instead of a straight line. Anyway, for Ales, WL is recommending between 0.5 Cells/ml/Degree P and 1.0 Cells/ml/Degree P, depending on gravity (again, double counting gravity just seems odd). What's also interesting is that for Ales with OG between 1.056 and 1.074 (i.e. the gravity range right in the middle, for most commonly brewed styles), WL is recommending 0.75 Cells/ml/Degree P. Gosh, that's the same as Mr. Malty too.

    I suppose your senior rep might say that what's wrong with Mr. Malty is bad starter growth calculations and/or bad age-based viability estimates. But if that's what she meant, then again, where's White Labs' own calculator for home brewers?

    ETA: I note with some amusement that although the old "use one pack per 5 gallons of whatever" instructions were incompatible with true Cells/ml/Degree P pitch rates, White Labs varying the rate (in Cells/ml/Degree P) by gravity (for ales) makes the old "one pack per 5 gallons" even worse (if you subscribe to their chart that varies the rate in Cells/ml/Degree P by gravity, i.e. "double counts" gravity).

    ETA more: personally, I vary my target pitch rates (in Cells/ml/Degree P) depending on the particular style and how I want the beer to taste. But I'll just say that the good old Mr. Malty defaults have certainly racked up a lot of medals for homebrew competitors.
    #11 VikeMan, May 13, 2022 at 8:17 PM
    Last edited: May 13, 2022 at 8:28 PM
  12. Soneast

    Soneast Champion (873) May 9, 2008 Wisconsin

    I wonder what they think about http://www.yeastcalculator.com/?
  13. PortLargo

    PortLargo Zealot (509) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Just spent another training session with a "yeast professional" (owned a Lab that consistently works with commercial brewers). I tried to pose the question objectionably, but the response was similar . . . don't worry about yeast calculators (that's me paraphrasing). They put no emphasis on the idea of stepped starters, innoc rate for starters, yeast nutrient, stir plates, or oxygenation. In fairness they did address innoc rate for the primary. But I find suggestions like "just follow the mfg's guidelines" to be lacking as that criteria is really dumbed down. I mean, no one really knows how many active yeast started out in a packet.

    My background in using yeast is from the book Yeast (White/Zainasheff) which is very detailed and analytical (with supporting documentation) on the how's and why's of propagating/pitching those little devils. But feedback from at least two people deeply in the industry points in a different direction.

    BTW, the link you posted is my go-to calc . . . which is mostly identical to Brewers Friend, Brewcipher (at least I think so) & Beersmith.
    dmtaylor and Soneast like this.
  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,003) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I'll just add that these yeast pros are very expert at turning small amounts of yeast into larger amounts of yeast and getting it into the supply chain in good shape, but are not necessarily expert at making the best possible beer. Some might be, but I haven't, IMO and to the best of my knowledge, encountered any yet.
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  15. Soneast

    Soneast Champion (873) May 9, 2008 Wisconsin

    Yeah, I've noticed similar ambivalence toward yeast calculators from yeast manufacturers on various podcast interviews. I also use yeastcalc, and have been happy with the my results. Seems like we're getting a bit off topic though. :wink:
    dmtaylor and PortLargo like this.
  16. wasatchback

    wasatchback Devotee (410) Jan 12, 2014 Tajikistan

    what does your local brew shop carry? Omega? Imperial?

    You should pitch 2 packs into a 3L starter…I’d recommend aiming closer to 2m/ml/* plato. The results from pitching not enough yeast are way worse than pitching too much, especially with lagers.
    PapaGoose03 and VikeMan like this.
  17. PortLargo

    PortLargo Zealot (509) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Granted . . . every two or three years me and Vikeman have a rant about Yeast Mfg'ers treating their customers like mushrooms. That's out of our system till the next time.

    For @KPlen , what have you decided on?
    dmtaylor likes this.
  18. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,152) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    amen. since we brought our own yeast expert onboard, we have had to *majorly* adjust pitch rates from what WL's calculators as well as their salespeople recommend. these very (very) rough estimates you get when "rounding up" a pure pitch pouch are bad enough. but then when you go and try to reconcile with their calculators it only gets worse. since we've been calculating and calibrating ourselves against the desired flavor profiles in the resulting beers, we've been pretty much consistently going against WL's "advice." FWIW, for our slurry pitches we use the basic calculator provided by brewersfriend.

    as for WLP800 when pitched correctly, we find it a good "clone" for urquell. The Budjovice one isn't gonna get you there if you're looking for classic characteristics. Too "clean."