The Best Yeast for Brewing IPA (American, English, Imperial, & NEIPA)

Brewing India Pale Ales can be tricky without the proper yeast strains. Some yeast strains can get in the way of the hop or malt characteristics that make up the IPA. What are the best yeast strains for brewing an IPA, and why?

The best yeast for brewing an IPA provides a neutral flavor that enables malt and hop ingredients. The strains used in IPAs should pair with the chosen substyle. For example, American IPAs can use SafAle US-05 for its clean and crisp finish. The best yeast strain for a New England IPA will offer medium-high fruity esters and have low flocculation. 

Continue reading for more information on the best yeast strains for IPAs, including the best ones for each substyle and descriptions of them. 

What kind of yeast works best for brewing IPAs?

India Pale Ales require a careful selection of yeast strains for brewing. The yeast strains need to impart characteristics in the beer that match the intended style’s flavor, aroma, and feel.

Neutral and versatile yeast strains work best for brewing IPAs. The best yeast has a medium-high attenuation and medium flocculation. They offer minimal esters and don’t produce any off-flavors that would combat the taste and aroma of the IPA. Different IPA substyles can use less-neutral yeast strains.

Not all IPA styles are going to use the same kind of yeast. In fact, a New England IPA could use a completely different strain than what might be desired by an American IPA.

Do all IPA styles use the same kind of yeast?

With a variety of IPAs comes a variety of yeast strains. Though similar, each yeast strain will achieve different results and therefore certain strains will work better with different IPA substyles.

Each IPA style will use ale yeast. The IPA style will determine which type of ale yeast. For example, a crisp and clean fermented American IPA will use a yeast strain with medium attenuation and high flocculation, but a thick and hazy New England IPA will use a yeast strain with medium-high attenuation and low flocculation.

The yeast strains used for brewing IPAs depend mostly on the substyle, although it’s not the end of the world if you use a standard ale yeast for each.

Can I use the same yeast for every IPA style?

If you were to use the same yeast for an American IPA as you did for a NEIPA, what would the tradeoffs be and what sacrifices will be made to the characteristics of each substyle?

You can use the same yeast strain for every IPA style, but an American IPA with low flocculation will impart an undesired thickness of the beer style and could create off flavors. Comparatively, using a high flocculant yeast strain for a NEIPA will strip some of its haziness and creaminess that’s critical to the style.

It’s important to understand what characteristics are desired of each style and to choose the proper yeast strain based on what you want your beer to taste, look, feel and smell like.

The best yeast for American IPAs

The American IPA is one of the most brewed beer styles in the United States. Its increase in popularity has led to more and more experimentation within the substyle, but this list will cover a few of the best yeast strains for an American IPA.

The best yeast strains for American IPAs include:

  • WYEAST 1056 American Ale
  • WYEAST 1217-PC West Coast IPA
  • Omega Yeast OYL-004 West Coast Ale I

For this style and from these yeast strains, expect hop profiles to shine with minimal fruity esters and low-medium malt character. The American IPA ranges in ABV from 6.3-7.5%.

WYEAST 1056 American Ale

WYEAST 1056 helps create a clean and crisp beer and opens the floor for the hop additions to make their presence known.

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 73-77%
  • Flocculation: Low/Medium
  • Ideal temperature: 60-72°F (16-22°C)
  • Fermentation time: 14 days
  • Expected flavor: Clean and crisp flavors with little to no fruit flavors or esters; mild citrus notes can develop at 60-66°F (15-19°C) fermentations
  • Potential off-flavors: N/A 

This yeast is very versatile and can work well in any IPA style but works exceptionally well in American IPAs.

WYEAST 1217-PC West Coast IPA

WYEAST 1217-PC is designed for West Coast-style beers, including American IPAs. It has high attenuation percentages and strong flocculation resulting in a crisp and fine finish. There is mild ester production at warmer temperatures but hop and malt characteristics are the stars of the show with this yeast.

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 73-80%
  • Flocculation: Medium/High
  • Ideal temperature: 62-74°F (17-23°C)
  • Fermentation time: 
  • Expected flavor: Mild ester production at warmer temperatures; hop and malt character shine through
  • Potential off-flavors: Using tap water can cause this yeast to produce sulfur flavors

OYL-004 West Coast Ale I

Omega Yeast OYL-004 is a classic strain used for neutral ales that aim to showcase both hop and malt profiles. It has a high attenuation and medium flocculation. It’s clean-fermenting and a great pick for an American IPA.

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 73-80%
  • Flocculation: Medium/Low
  • Ideal temperature: 60–73° F (16–23° C)
  • Fermentation time: 10 days
  • Expected flavor: Neutral flavor with minimal esters; complements hop and malt additions
  • Potential off-flavors: Light citrus notes under 66°F (19°C) fermentation temperature

The best yeast for English IPAs

English IPAs are the original IPA. They’re strong and bitter with prominent English hop notes. Contrary to the American IPA, they sometimes contain high fruity esters. There is a bready and slightly sweet malt character in these beers. The English IPA is gold to copper in color and the ABV ranges from 5-7%.

The best yeast strains for English IPAs include:

  • Fermentis SafAle S-04 Dry Ale Yeast
  • WYEAST 1098 British Ale
  • Omega Yeast OYL-007 British Ale II

Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast

SafAle S-04 ferments remarkably quickly to produce an almost crystal clear beer. It offers mild fruity and floral notes that pair well with certain hop additions. It works well with highly hopped beers and can be used for cask-conditioned ales.

  • Type: Dry
  • Attenuation: 74-82%
  • Flocculation: High
  • Ideal temperature: 59-68°F (15-20°C)
  • Fermentation time: 3 days
  • Expected flavor: Fruity and floral notes; accentuates hop flavor; creates a dry finish
  • Potential off-flavors: N/A

WYEAST 1098 British Ale

WYEAST 1098 is a malt and hop-driven yeast, perfect for the English IPA. It ferments dry and crisp to create a clean, neutral, and well-balanced beer. 

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 73-75%
  • Flocculation: Medium
  • Ideal temperature: 64-72°F (18-22°C)
  • Fermentation time: 4-7 days
  • Expected flavor: Medium fruity esters; complements earthy English hop notes
  • Potential off-flavors: Slightly tart at warmer temperatures

Omega Yeast OYL-007 British Ale II

Omega Yeast OYL-007 is a versatile yeast strain useful for brewing aromatically fruity English IPAs. It’s thought to be from the historical London brewery that Louis Pasteur visited. It can be fermented at warmer temperatures to accentuate malt and fruit characteristics or at lower temperatures to create a more clean, balanced beer.

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 68-72%
  • Flocculation: Medium/High
  • Ideal temperature: 64–75°F (18–24° C)
  • Fermentation time: 8 days
  • Expected flavor: Malt and fruit-driven at high fermentation temperatures; cleaner fermenting at low temperatures
  • Potential off-flavors: N/A

The best yeast for Imperial or Double IPAs

The fascination with American IPAs led us to further experimentation with bigger and stronger versions. Imperial or Double IPAs are a more bitter and hoppier version of the standard American IPA. They have a higher ABV threshold between 7.6-10.6% and anywhere from 65-100 IBUs. They’re darker in color than any other IPA and feature a vast array of hop-forward profiles. 

The best yeast strains for Imperial or Double IPAs include:

  • Omega Yeast OYL-052 DIPA Ale
  • White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast
  • Fermentis SafAle US-05 Ale Yeast

Omega Yeast OYL-052 DIPA Ale

Omega Yeast OYL-052 is an ideal candidate for American IPAs. It produces peach, apricot, and pineapple notes to complement the American hop profiles found in this style. Its high attenuation results in a clear final product.

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 72-80%
  • Flocculation: Medium/Low
  • Ideal temperature: 65–72°F (18–22° C)
  • Fermentation time: 
  • Expected flavor: Peach, apricot, and pineapple
  • Potential off-flavors: A diacetyl rest is recommended if fermented in the lower temperature range

White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast

WLP001 California Ale Yeast was the first yeast produced by White Labs in 1995. It’s known for its use in hoppy beers. It attenuates well to help out high gravity beers like the Imperial or Double IPA and accentuates hop character. 

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 71-80%
  • Flocculation: Medium
  • Ideal temperature: 68°-73°F (20°-23°C)
  • Fermentation time: 7-10 days
  • Expected flavor: Soft bitter finish with notes of raspberry, orange, and eucalyptus
  • Potential off-flavors: N/A

SafAle US-05 Ale Yeast

SafAle US-05 is one of the most versatile yeats on the market and is used in a wide variety of beers. Its clean and neutral profile is a great addition to an Imperial or Double IPA recipe. It has a high attenuation and the ability to stay in suspension during fermentation, making it an ideal candidate for this style.

  • Type: Dry
  • Attenuation: 78-82%
  • Flocculation: Medium
  • Ideal temperature: 64-79°F (18-26°C) 
  • Fermentation time: 5 days 
  • Expected flavor: Neutral flavor with hop accentuation; low malt character; minimal esters
  • Potential off-flavors: High fermentation temps or an insufficient amount pitched can produce banana flavors

The best yeast for New England or Juicy IPAs

New England or Juicy IPAs are all about hop aroma and flavor. They’re bright and citrusy with a full mouthfeel and distinguishable creaminess. NEIPAs rely heavily on late hop additions or dry-hopping to deliver the desired juicy and tropical notes associated with the style. They have potent esters with low to medium bitterness. Yeasts with a wide range of attenuation help balance the sweetness of these beers.

The best yeast strains for brewing New England or Juicy IPAs are:

  • Fermentis SafAle US-04
  • White Labs WLP066 London Fog Ale Yeast
  • Omega Yeast OYL-200 Tropical IPA

SafAle US-04

SafAle US-04 ferments quickly and delivers fruity notes – two prime yeast characteristics for NEIPAs. It has a medium-high attenuation and compliments this style’s citrus and tropical hop profiles.

  • Type: Dry
  • Attenuation: 74-82%
  • Flocculation: High/medium
  • Ideal temperature: 59°-68°F (18-26°C)
  • Fermentation time: 4 days
  • Expected flavor: Fruity and floral notes; complements East coast hop notes
  • Potential off-flavors: More potent fruity esters at higher fermentation temperatures (these might be preferred depending on the recipe.)

WLP066 London Fog Ale Yeast

WLP066 London Fog produces noticeable esters that accentuate hop aroma. It leaves residual sweetness in the beer that pairs well with certain malts and late hop additions. It works to create and maintain a thick mouthfeel. This yeast strain is perfect for Juicy or NEIPAs.

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 75-82%
  • Flocculation: Low/Medium
  • Ideal temperature: 64°-72°F (17°-21°C)
  • Fermentation time: 7 days
  • Expected flavor: Sweet citrus flavors and esters; diacetyl rest is optional
  • Potential off-flavors: N/A

Omega Yeast OYL-200 Tropical IPA

OYL-200 is a prime NEIPA yeast strain. It produces tropical mango notes alongside potent pineapple characteristics. It finishes clean and can be fermented at higher temperatures to bring out the fruity notes in this strain. It has very low flocculation.

  • Type: Liquid
  • Attenuation: 82-90%
  • Flocculation: Low
  • Ideal temperature: 70-85°F (21-29° C)
  • Fermentation time: 10 days
  • Expected flavor: Tart, tropical notes of mango and pineapple
  • Potential off-flavors: N/A, low fermentation temperatures can hinder flavor and ester impact