Saccharomyces's blog

Have You Seen Ester?

I remember back to when I brewed my first batch of beer. It seems like yesterday; however, over two decades have elapsed since that faithful day. Much in the world of home brewing has improved dramatically during the last twenty years. An improvement that comes readily to mind is ingredient quality. Those of us who were participating in the hobby during the first home brewing boom can attest to having to work with hops that were often brown and malt that was past its prime. Small-scale brewers used to receive macro brewer cast-offs, and home brewers received the macro cast-offs that small-scale brewers rejected. While poor ingredient quality and selection are a thing of the past, there are areas of home brewing that have changed very little in the last twenty years. One such area is an understanding of fermentation byproducts. We have transitioned from a hobby with an incomplete understanding of fermentation byproducts that fermented at room temperature to a hobby that uses temperature-controlled fermentation chambers to mask our incomplete understanding of fermentation byproducts. The topics covered in this blog entry are fermentation byproducts and the role that they play in beer flavor.

Carbon Credits

Fermentation is an incredibly complex process that can be mind boggling at times. Brewers like to think of yeast as a microscopic lifeform that transforms the sugars found in wort into alcohol, carbon dioxide gas, and metabolic byproducts that add flavor to the final product. However, in reality, yeast cells do not consume sugar. Yeast cells consume carbon, which they attempt to transform into energy. Alcohol and metabolic byproducts are the results of an inefficient metabolic pathway. The topic of this blog entry is how yeast cells transform compounds collectively known as carbohydrates into energy.

There’s Gold In Davis, California

On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. That discovery set into motion the 1849 California Gold Rush. Over 300,000 people migrated to California to seek their fortune, many traveling all of the way from the East Coast in covered wagons. Today, there is a different kind of gold in California. It is a type of gold that is precious to brewers, a microscopic gold. The topic of this entry is the wealth of Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces yeast species held by the University of California, Davis.

Yeast Cultures Are Like Nuclear Weapons

Back in the bad old days, a home brewer was happy just to have a reliable yeast culture to pitch into his/her wort. The average home brewer today is no longer content with having access to yeast cultures that get the job done with leaving a trail of metabolic trash that is a mile wide. He/she wants to be able to compute and hit the exact number of cells needed to ferment a given batch of wort. The cold hard truth is that this level of precision is neither obtainable, nor is it necessary in a home brewery.

The Great Yeast Culture Adventure

First off, I would like to take a minute to thank the Experimental Homebrewing team for extending the opportunity to blog on their site. I have considered creating my own blog since re-entering the hobby a few years ago. However, seeing that my hiatus was due to severe burnout, I wanted to avoid having home brewing become the obsession that it became during my first pass through the hobby. Blogging here will allow me to share what I know with others in one convenient place without having to maintain my own site.

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