Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Cry Havoc Yeast

I received an email from a reader who wanted me to research and find information around the Cry Havoc Yeast strain. I took the challenge and here are my notes from my research.

This strain is produced by White Labs under the identifier code of WLP862. It originates from a strain that Charlie Papazian, famous homebrewer and author of The Joy of Homebrewing. He has licensed it to White Labs.

Although no official source that I read stated this tidbit, I did read that the strain is one from Anheuser-Busch (cultivated from a keg) and it has mutated over the years in Charlie’s careful hands.

I think the biggest item worth noting about this yeast strain is that it can ferment at both ale and lager temperatures. With this ability, a homebrewer can be very flexible in brewing many different styles using one yeast strain.

Check out the White Labs profile for more information

I imagine that you could brew an ale, ferment it using Cry Havoc, siphon the ale off of the yeast cake, and then brew a lager style and ferment it on that cake.

It has different properties when you ferment at different temperatures. At ale temps, it will impart estery flavors. At lager temps, those esters are gone and replaced with more prominent, pleasant sulfur compounds (aging will help to decrease the sulfur notes).

I read comments in the forums from brewers asking about how this strain performs. There were not many responses.

Other brewers who had used it reported good results for both ales and lagers. Some others were not fond of it and seemed to think that this jack of all trades strain didn’t make sense for all styles.

Mike suggested using it for the Oktoberfest/Marzen we have posted.

If you have used it, please comment below.


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  1. Joshua White

    what is the alcohol tolerance of this yeast ?

  2. Not certain, but I don’t think it has a high tolerance for alcohol. I don’t think this strain would be the one you use for barley wines or other strong beers.

    If I were to categorize, I would say it has a medium tolerance for alcohol.

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