Trappist Ale Yeast (WLP500)


This yeast strain is from a Trappist monastery. It has relatively low flocculation and good alcohol tolerance. Characteristic of Belgian-style yeasts, this strain is very flavorful. During fermentation it produces a range of byproducts such as phenolic compounds and a very complex ester profile. With this yeast, adjusting the fermentation parameters (temperature, original gravity, yeast pitch rate, et cetera) allow brewers a large degree of control over the balance of fermentation byproducts and flavors.

This strain produces prominent fruit flavors similar to plums and figs and spiciness with a slight edge of black peppercorn. If this yeast is subject to a stressful fermentation, due to high temperature or high original gravity, it can also produce less desirable solvent-like and fusel alcohol flavors. White Labs indicates that moderate temperatures (67 - 75°F) will produce a nice balance of fruity and spicy flavors. Lower temperatures (58 - 66°F) will result in a relatively clean flavor profile with some earthy flavors. [2]

Trappist Ale Yeast (WLP500) is thought to originate from samples collected at the Chimay Brewery in southern Belgium. This would make it is almost identical to Wyeast's Belgian Abbey strain (WY1214). It shares some similarities with many of White Labs' other Belgian yeasts such as WLP530 and WLP550. Both of these tend to produce cleaner flavors with stronger spiciness and less fruitiness. Abby Ale (WLP530) is significantly more alcohol tolerant, and Belgian Ale (WLP550) produces prominent spicy and phenolic flavors. Bastogne Ale (WLP510) is even cleaner than WLP530 and WLP550 with a dry and tart finish. Belgian Golden Ale (WLP570) produces a balance of fruit and spice flavors like WLP500, but it has a different ester profile and produces some hop accentuating sulfur compounds. Fittingly golden ales are a relatively hop-centric Belgian beer style originally inspired by Pilsners.

This strain has been noted for being both a little slow to get started and a little inconsistent about reaching full attenuation. A healthy yeast starter will greatly reduce the chances of either of these difficulties. Although, this strain's undomesticated character is a big part of its charm and distinctiveness. Some philosophies of home brewing might encourage you to let this yeast ferment the way it will and enjoy the unpredictability of the results. It is a good idea to use a blow-off tube airlock when using this strain with an original gravity greater than about 1.060.

Beer Styles

Trappist ale yeasts like WLP500 are a good choice for fermenting most of the higher gravity Belgian beer styles. Any given Trappist monastery will typically ferment all their beers with one house yeast strain. Consequently, most Trappist ale strains are associated with most Trappist ale styles. This yeast can be used for dubbels, tripels, and the less-traditional but closely related quadrupels. Monastery house strains could be used to ferment the low gravity table beers know as patersbier. This spicy characterful yeast lends itself to experimentation and exploration. It can be used for special Christmas-time ales and Belgian versions of almost any other style from IPA to Imperial stout.

Yeast Characteristics

Yeast Form Liquid
Attenuation 75 - 80 %
Flocculation Medium Low
Optimum Temp. 65 - 72 °F
Alcohol Tolerance High


  1. White Labs Inc. n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. ‹
  2. "White Labs Begian Yeast Descriptions." White Labs Inc. n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. ‹
  3. Heniff, Mike. "Yeast Strains for Belgian Strong Ales." Brew Your Own Magazine. January 2007. Web. 26 May 2014. ‹