Yeast and Fermentation

The same rules apply to open-tank fermentations. We have found that fermenting our hoppy beers makes a huge difference in captured hop aromatics in the finished beer. The different shape of the tank means that during fermentation the beer moves in a more homogeneous fashion and undesirable aromas and components can easily flash out of the top of the tank. Most of our IPA is brewed exclusively in open fermentations because I am a true believer that open fermentation in hoppy, aromatic beers allows more aromas from the pint.

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I’d like to highlight a few of my favorite commercial yeasts. We exclusively use liquid yeasts at Fitger’s Brewhouse purchased from White Labs in San Diego, California and Wyeast in Odell, Oregon. We buy enough to make a batch of beer and then we crop the yeast and continue generations forward. A rule of thumb—we use ten generations of reused yeast in house-beer strains and 3-5 on special seasonal-beer strains. We usually keep 4-5 strains on hand—an unusually high number for a small brewpub—because we like to be able to brew many styles. Some of my favorites are:

•           White Labs 001 California: Great clean yeast that accentuates hops

•           Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephen Weizen: Perfect wheat beer yeast

•           White Labs 830 German Lager: My favorite lager yeast for Pils and Helles styles

•           White Labs 023 Burton Ale: Great English-style Pale Ales, Burton-on-Trent, and IPAs come from this strain

•           White Labs 400 Belgian Wit: The best yeast I have found for Wit beers and White IPAs

•           White Labs 530 Abbey Ale: Great for Abbey, Belgian Reserve, and experimental beers

r2d2 yeast

Fermentation is true magic, fruity esters or no. With proper care given to environment, proper oxygen to start the yeast on its happy journey, and great care, yeast can yield amazing results over and over for a brewer.

I will leave you with a favorite quote:

The livelihoods of all of us employed within the beer industry are dependent directly, or indirectly, on the ability of yeast to transform wort into beer. Hence yeast is the brewer’s most precious asset and its welfare must be accorded the highest priority.

Chris Boulton, Microbiologist, Bass Breweries

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to email me at [email protected] or read my Fitger’s Brewhouse news and beer-centric thoughts on Facebook at Hoops Brewing.


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