Beer Maverick

The Complete Guide to “Denny’s Favorite” Yeast Strain

Denny’s Favorite yeast is said to be a common “house” strain across the US, however with the limited amount of information we were able to find on it, we doubt it is as widespread as its made out to be.

It is however a very interesting yeast strain, and should be tried by any home brewer that makes any style of Ale or Stout, among others.

“Denny’s Favorite” Yeast Origin & History

The yeast strain known as “Denny’s Favorite”has quite the interesting and mysterious backstory.

“Denny” refers to Denny Conn, of Experimental Brewing fame and homebrewing books such as Simple Homebrewing: Great Beer, Less Work, More Fun. Well known for challenging the status-quo and not afraid to try something new when home brewing, Denny is also a BJCP National-ranked beer judge. He says “I don’t mind doing anything it takes to make great beer, but I want to know that the results are worth the effort”.

Anyway, back to the yeast.

Legend has it that Denny “found” the yeast while brewing with his local club along with Nate Sampson. Nate went on to be the head brewer at Eugene City Brewing, Rogue and finally Mike Hess Brewing in San Diego.

It is widely speculated that Denny’s strain came from or was the same as BrewTek’s CL-50 “California Pub Brewery Ale”. While BrewTek’s CL-50 yeast is extremely similar to Denny’s, I wasn’t able to find any proof that they are undeniably the same strain. However, with this amount of circumstantial evidence, I wanted to learn more about CL-50.

YeastAttenuationFlocculationOptimal Temp.
WY145074 – 76%Low60 – 70°F
CL-5074 – 76%Normal62 – 70°F
Yeast Comparison Chart

It appears that BrewTek got the culture that became CL-50 from Mark Ruedrich, founder of North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg, CA.

Mark, who founded North Coast Brewing in 1988, got his house strain from the labs at UC Davis, best known for their Master Brewers Certificate Program. Mark was a graduate of that program and had apparently experimented with several UC Davis yeast strains before settling on the one that became North Coast’s house strain. For those that are unfamiliar with this brewery, North Coast Brewing is the producer of the “world-class” Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout.

Unfortunately BrewTek went out of business around 2004, which leads us back to Mr. Denny Conn. The CL-50 culture that was kept alive by Denny and Nate in their homebrewing group until it was eventually was handed over to Wyeast for commercial propagation once again.

Wyeast kept this strain as a part of their Private Collection (PC) under the identifier 2450 for years until they made it a year-round strain in 2007, and renamed it as “Denny’s Favorite” under the ID of WY1450.

Profile of “Denny’s Favorite”

Denny’s Favorite strain of yeast is known for creating a classic U.S. small brewery flavor. While attenuation is Medium-High, this yeast still produces a big, soft, well-rounded malt flavor that really lets caramel malt flavors shine. It is unique in that it produces a big mouthfeel and helps accentuate the malt, caramel, or fruit character of a beer without leaving residual sweetness or under-attenuating.

The profile is very similar to the London Ale III strain, except for that the attenuation in that one is famously low, leaving beers with a much sweeter backbone.

Denny’s Favorite is an ale yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that is considered perfect for almost any style. Common styles associated with this strain include American Red, Brown and Pale Ales, Stouts, Cream Ales and IPAs.

Commercially Available “Denny’s Favorite” Strains

There are not many commercially available strains of Denny’s Favorite, but there are some common substitutes that can be used in place of it.

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