Gonna Build Something This Summer

My strain collection continues to grow and diversify. Here, we see yeast grown on agar from the bottle dregs of four funky beers from Canada and the US. The top two quadrants contain Brettanomyces (possibly several strains each – note that Brett grows slowly) and the bottom two contain Saccharomyces. Not a bad haul! I’m going to directly grow the dregs in liquid media in an attempt to preserve their microbial diversity, as well – all of these have seen time in open fermentors and/or barrels and should yield bountiful blends of bugs.

After all, wild beer is a bastion of biodiversity. I hope that the work I’m doing helps to promote the variety of fermenting yeasts that are known of and used by home brewers. There is a massive flavor potential in the diversity of Brettanomyces that I believe is still untapped. This is especially true when we consider how many qualities we squeeze out of normal yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) – a single species mind you, not even an entire genus.

I will begin characterizing my Brett isolates in beer fermentation this summer. I aim to add to the body of work already produced by Eureka Brewing and Chad Yakobson. In particular, I’m looking for strains that ferment reasonably fast, without off-flavours and ideally with unique character.

When mainstream science does not readily fund this kind of work, and the big yeast labs are not entirely open about their research, we must turn to the community in order to move forward. Let’s build something this summer.


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