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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER #2: IPA co-fer­men­ted with wine yeast

Short descrip­ti­on

Know­ledge Is Power is our new beer series to increase fla­vor inten­si­ty and deve­lop and impro­ve the com­ple­xi­ty of our beers. We want to trans­la­te sci­en­ti­fic fin­dings into liquid sto­ry expe­ri­en­ces you can enjoy.

Know­ledge Is Power #2 is all about thi­ols. By using a wine yeast which is known to enhan­ce the release thi­ols from their bound pre­cur­ser form we want to achie­ve a more com­plex fruit cha­rac­te­ristic in our IPAs while also ensu­re a bet­ter shelf sta­bi­li­ty. For reasons of com­pa­ri­son we bre­wed again an iden­ti­cal refe­rence beer but wit­hout the co-fer­men­ting wine yeast.

Malts: Pils­ner malt, Oat malt, Chit malt
Hop varie­ties : Stra­ta, US Colum­bus, Nel­son Sau­vin, US Cas­ca­de
Spe­cial­ty: Co-fer­men­ta­ti­on with wine yeast


We are always on the hunt for fin­dings to impro­ve our beers and our know­ledge about it. India Pale Ale beca­me a sort of a syn­onym for this craft beer move­ment and this beer­style expe­ri­en­ced a huge altera­ti­on over the last deca­de, appar­ent­ly rea­ching its upper limit in terms of inno­va­ti­on and making new breath­ta­king expe­ri­en­ces. The pos­si­bi­li­ty to com­mu­ni­ca­te with every crea­ti­ve bre­wery in a glo­bal net­work — bes­i­des all the bene­fits of it — seems to be respon­si­ble for an evol­ving lack of uni­que­ness due to shared tech­ni­ques and pro­ces­ses. This is the bre­wers side. One the other side we see a cus­to­mer who cra­ves for a cer­tain fla­vor in a nar­row ran­ge in his IPAs while deman­ding for new, inno­va­tio­nal crea­ti­ons on a dai­ly basis just to drink it once and never twice. From a bre­wers per­spec­ti­ve the avail­abli­ty of dif­fe­rent hop varie­ties — and the­r­e­fo­re dif­fe­rent IPAs — is too big to not meet this demand and, simul­ta­neous­ly, the Time-to-Mar­ket-Win­dow is too small to be able to work on new and reasonable crea­ti­ons wit­hout being scared to be left behind.
With our Know­ledge Is Power-Series we want to reach the next stage, the next level of bre­wing IPAs to hop­eful­ly escape from the hunt of dif­fe­rent sin­gle bre­wed IPAs every month . This Know­ledge Is Power-Series is not rest­ric­ted to IPAs only, but for this cer­tain style we have alre­a­dy a lot of dif­fe­rent ide­as and pre-deve­lo­p­ment-work going on right now.

In the end of the day we want you to be part of this sto­ry to be able to gain as much know­ledge as pos­si­ble for all of us!

This is Know­ledge Is Power #2

Wine as a bevera­ge is held in such high regard that it’s no secret at all that wine is some kind of a role model for the pro­duct and the sce­ne of beer. But bes­i­de it’s repu­ta­ti­on as a brand-like bevera­ge the­re are some tech­ni­ques and natu­ral given pro­ces­ses in the wine making indus­try which can be adapt to the beer bre­wing pro­cess to crea­te more com­plex, fla­vorful and more effi­ci­ent beers. In this spe­ci­fic sce­na­rio we want to look at tho­se alre­a­dy intro­du­ced Thi­ols.
Thi­ols are sul­fur com­pounds (R‑SH) which are known for their high­ly aro­ma­tic fruit-like odor and can be found in cer­tain gra­pe varie­ties. Depen­ding on which thi­ol group we are loo­king at we can see aro­ma descrip­ti­ons from pas­si­on­fruit, pineapp­le and gua­va to grape­fruit, rhub­arb and goo­se­ber­ry. Lucki­ly, for us bre­wers, Thi­ols can not only be found in gra­pes but also in malt and hops. That means: Using the Lear­nings from the wine indus­try on bre­wing beer should bene­fit the aro­ma­tic com­ple­xi­ty.1
The good thing about thi­ols is their very low sen­so­ry thres­hold (we are tal­king here about few nano­grams per liter). That means you only need very few of the­se thi­ols to be able to per­cei­ve them. The other side of the coin is that most of the­se thi­ols has to be released from their bound pre­cur­ser form to be con­side­red aro­ma­tic. By say­ing this I have to men­ti­on that the­re are ‑depen­ding on the varie­ty- cer­tain quan­ti­ties of free thi­ols in hops and malts which alre­a­dy have influence on the aro­ma of the beer. But impro­ving usa­ge effi­ci­en­cy of the ingre­di­ents and crea­ting a bol­der over­all impres­si­on of our beers does­n’t sound too bad, I guess. Espe­ci­al­ly when it may help in to increase shelf sta­bi­li­ty of high­ly hop­ped IPAs.
When Thi­ols beca­me a thing in recent years, they knew that enzyms are the key in releasing thi­ols from their pre­cur­ser form. Unfort­u­na­te­ly, com­mon beer yeast strains don’t have the­se nee­ded enzyms. The­r­e­fo­re the­re are two dif­fe­rent pathways to make sure that tho­se enzyms find their way into the fer­men­ting beer wort. Pathway one is to con­troll­ab­ly muta­te com­mon­ly in bre­wing used yeast strains (which is some kind of a sped up ver­si­on of the natu­ral evo­lu­ti­on of a cer­tain yeast strain) until the nee­ded meta­bo­lic cha­rac­te­ristics can be found. Com­mon examp­les regar­ding the release of thi­ols are thio­li­zed yeasts like Cos­mic Punch from Ome­ga Yeast Labs©.2 On the second pathway you are loo­king for alre­a­dy exis­ting micro­or­ga­nisms which are capa­ble of the meta­bo­lic cha­rac­te­ristics you are loo­king for. In this sce­na­rio it needs to be made sure that this micro­or­ga­nism does not have an nega­tiv impact on your pro­cess or pro­duct safe­ty and qua­li­ty.3
In our approach we find ours­elf at pathway two by using a wine yeast which is well known for its capa­bi­li­ty of releasing thi­ols being awa­re of the other impacts of this yeast on our beer as well. Bes­i­de its very own spe­ci­fic aro­ma, this yeast releases some sub­s­tances which func­tion as a toxi­ne for other yeast strains and the­r­e­fo­re alters the fer­men­ta­ti­on pro­gress. As you can see, inclu­ding this yeast strain is not quite ean easy task.
To bring this to an end: By using this yeast we want to increase the over­all aro­ma expres­si­on while main­taing a bet­ter shelf sta­bi­li­ty as well wit­hout per­cei­ving wine-yeast-like aro­mas at all.

1 We alre­a­dy did this in our first com­mer­cial beer First Steps almost two years ago but we’­ve reco­g­nis­ed quick­ly that the peo­p­le were miss­ing that “extra-kick” becau­se of the lack of pos­si­bi­li­ties for com­pa­ri­son when labe­l­ing an IPA as “co-wine-yeast-fer­men­ted”. By giving you the chan­ce to compa­re them side by side we want to show­ca­se the impact of this beau­tiful add-on.

2 It has to be said that this pre­sen­ta­ti­on of alte­ring the beha­viour of micoor­ga­nisms has been sim­pli­fied and the­re are dif­fe­rent and more com­plex tech­ni­ques an methods to achie­ve desi­ra­ble muta­ti­ons. Actual­ly often in com­bi­ning both pathways. For fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on about the deve­lo­p­ment of Ome­ge yeasts thio­li­zed yeast strains visit Ome­ga Yeast.

3 To give you a beer intern exam­p­le: Some brett­anomy­ces yeast strains are capa­ble of releasing thi­ols as well but the nega­tiv impact of the­se yeasts on 100% sac­ch­aro­my­ces strain fer­men­ted beer styl­es like modern IPAs likely out­shi­nes the posi­ti­ve one.


The sur­vey about this series helps us to accu­mu­la­te a huge amount of impres­si­ons and feed­back while having fun drin­king the­se beers. It is also to be unders­tood as a part of the naming of this series. A bet­ter know­ledge of our favo­ri­te bevera­ge can only be achie­ved when we all are able to share our expe­ri­en­ces, thoughts and impres­si­ons. We wel­co­me you to be part of it!
You will find the QR-Code to this sur­vey on every Know­ledge Is Power-Can and every keg has a card with the QR-Code on it as well, in hope to get as much feed­back as pos­si­ble no mat­ter if you are drin­king it from the can or draft in your favo­ri­te bar. 🙂