Take a walk on the wild side!

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Take a walk on the wild side!

Postby aleguy » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:01 am

Our much esteemed Vice President was attempting to give an overview of brewers yeast at the meeting last night. I personally found his analogy of yeast to women to be quite demeaning to both yeast and women. However, he was simply trying to make a point.
All domestic yeasts, whether for making ales, lagers, wines, meads, or bread, belong to a single species: Sacharomyces cerevesiae (sp) The various attributes of the varieties create literally thousands of possible flavor combinations which vary largely by temperature and strain. There is still much to explore with this yeast, but the territory has largely already been mapped.
Wild yeasts in the genus Brettanomyces have had an undeserved reputation as spoilers. The virtues of these diverse yeasts are only now beginning to be explored. Known for their ability to digest and ferment not only simple sugars, but starches and even wood cellulose, Brettanomyces yeasts can live for years in empty wooden barrels, ready to ferment the next batch that comes along. In combination with the Lactic acid bacteria Pediococcus, Brettanomyces can ferment down to bone-dry aridity and finish gravities that no Sacharomyces could ever hope to achieve.
Yet by itself, Brettanomyces acts much the same as standard yeast, only fermenting down to a certain point and leaving complex sugars alone.
There are many species of this versatile yeast in every neighborhood, and I believe that each species is capable of the same variety as Sacharomyces. Best known for the barnyard or "stable floor" flavors associated with farmhouse ales, other Bretts can produce fruity or spicy flavors instead.
We stand now on the verge of a new frontier in brewing, and I would urge anyone with the interest to experiment with and learn about Brettanomyces.
Who knows? Perhaps a few artful brewers will go down in the annals of brewing history in much the same way that Planck, Bohr and Einstein did when they first grappled with the new concepts of Quantum Physics.
So take a walk on the wild side and earn your place in history!
Never trust a skinny chef, a sober brewer, or a cat with thumbs!
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Postby yeastmeister » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:34 am

Weeeellllll.... Not exactly. Not all domestic yeasts belong to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, lager yeasts generally fall into a couple of different camps...Saccharomyces pastorianus (synonymous with Saccharomyces carlsbergensis originally described in 1883 by a gentleman working for the Carlsberg brewery). There is a little debate as to where Saccharomyces pastorianus came from, depending on who you read, its either a hybrid of Saccharomyces bayanus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or a hybrid between Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces monacensis. Its generally considered (currently) that Saccharomyces pastorianus inherited most of its genetic material from S. bayanus rather than S. cerevisiae.

Besides all these big words, the difference is that most lager yeasts are bottom fermenting, whereas the ales are top fermenting. There is also a visual difference under a microscope in the way the yeast clump together.

That being said, if your willing to try out a few different Brett yeasts, and find one or 2 that fall into the nice fruity/spicy realm, as opposed to the barnyard/sour apple realm, I'll work with you to isolate them and keep them. I'm also willing to taste almost anything at least once.
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Postby aleguy » Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:56 pm

We already have a fruity Brett in the club yeast bank I believe. Didn't know that about Lager yeast. I thought it was just another strain of the standard domestic yeast. Different strains of S. cerevesiae look very different under a microscope too. As well as exhibit different behaviors. I didn't know that S. Cerevesiae sporulated, which as I understand it is required for sexual reproduction of fungi, so I didn't know it could hybridize with anything.
My point though was more about the new frontier of brewing, and bringing Bretts into the brewhouse to see what they might do for us.
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Re: Take a walk on the wild side!

Postby triple-oh_six » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:13 pm

aleguy wrote:Our much esteemed Vice President was attempting to give an overview of brewers yeast at the meeting last night. I personally found his analogy of yeast to women to be quite demeaning to both yeast and women. However, he was simply trying to make a point.


Sorry if I offended anybody, :roll: , that was a direct quote from Chris White of White Labs.
I think that you're all adults and understand that it was an analogy and not anything meant to be degradeing.
Hopefully hippieguy will still be my friend. :wink:

And BTW, I don't think Brett would appreciate being called fruity, I'd think a Californian would be more liberal. :lol:
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Postby aleguy » Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:45 pm

Hey, you know what they say. Granola, fruits nuts and flakes. I think I'm somewhere in the latter two. :wink:
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