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Old 11-07-2010, 05:52 AM   #1
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Default house yeast?

okay all you lab techies out there a real question for you?

say one wanted to create a house strain of yeast from a current strain they currently get good results from and like alot, lets just use 1056 as an example. Could you slowly over a long time train a strain such as 1056 to genetically alter (mutate) itself to attenuate better and handle higher alchohol levels by slowly over time pitching the same yeast into higher gravity starters where the weak cells couldnt handle the high alchohol levels created and the strong ones (the ones we want in this case) would survive and reproduce/replicate themselves? just something ive been thinking about lately......

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:09 AM   #2
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anyone.....anyone.....bueller.....bueller......

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:17 AM   #3
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Many commercial breweries begin with a commercial yeast strain (or two), and repitch many times, after awhile the yeast changes a bit to adapt to the brewery and becomes the house strain. While it is possible to do this on a homebrew scale, it isn't very practical. You have a few issues working against you: foremost, you probably aren't brewing the *same beer* every 14 days, all year. Moreover, the homebrew system is a much larger surface area to volume ratio, which means your probability of infecting your yeast between repitches is much higher, even if you are very careful with sanitation.

In practice, I think you could get this to work if you were willing to re-slant or re-plate a yeast culture after re-pitching the yeast every couple of brews. But it would not be as simple as building a house yeast in a commercial brewery which is cranking out the same beer batch after batch all year.

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:17 AM   #4
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I'm not a scientist but I assume yes. I mean look at antibiotics. The more you take the less effective they become over time. The bacteria become immune to them after some time. It's the law of nature: Adapt or die. The yeast we use in our beer have adapted to transform sugar into alcohol.

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Old 11-10-2010, 03:18 AM   #5
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Well, not a lab techie here but if i wanted to do something like this i wouldn't hesitate.

I however think that most popular yeasts have already been manipulated in every possible manner thinkable by countless numbers of brewers for countless numbers of years.

If you wanted a true house yeast why not capture your own local saccharomyces?

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Old 11-10-2010, 05:00 AM   #6
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I actually am a scientist, and I have done research on yeasts. From my experience they grow very fast and need to be recultured often. They also get infected pretty easily. Having said that, I am still fairly new to home brewing, so although most of my experience is with brewing yeast, it is in a laboratory setting... and if they easily get infected in a lab, I'm sure they'd easily get infected in your kitchen. For this reason some commercial brewers retire their yeasts after x number of uses.

I'm not sure I've really answered your question, but I agree with Saccharomyces.

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Old 11-10-2010, 05:33 AM   #7
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anyone.....anyone.....bueller.....bueller......

The answer is yes.

I recently posted a few videos on Chimay. In one of them there is an old man who has spent his life breeding yeasties.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:54 PM   #8
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I've actually been wondering this myself, especially with the recent "collaborations" of brewers/breweries with yeast companies on special strains. Examples being Denny's Favorite, NB's Neobritannia, and AHS's Greenbelt. They're all excellent yeasts (to be fair I have yet to purchase or use Greenbelt but assume it's a great yeast.)

I would love to hear how these yeasts came about or were bred. Were they pulled out of the air? Are they blends of multiple yeasts? Are they mutated? Most importantly, how can I make my own?

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Old 11-11-2010, 02:46 AM   #9
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I would love to hear how these yeasts came about or were bred. Were they pulled out of the air? Are they blends of multiple yeasts? Are they mutated? Most importantly, how can I make my own?
Greenbelt is, as I understand it, a yeast from a defunct English brewery, one of the many hundreds of strains that Wyeast had in their library. The guys at AHS, which is my LHBS, selected it because it accentuates hop character and is more flocculant than the universal Cali Ale strain, yet still attenuative and fairly clean.

Which reminds me.. I don't remember where I found it now, but the story behind the Sierra Nevada yeast, which is the most common saccharomyces cerevisiae strain now used in the world to produce beer, was captured and isolated at the brewery. Being in Chico, California, this yeast has a distinctive smell similar to San Francisco sourdough bread.

The usual means of capturing wild yeast are covered in another thread. I have successfully done it, though it took a few attempts to figure out what would work for me since I live in central Texas where the mold is a major problem 365 days of the year. Plating is then used to isolate the saccharomyces cerevisiae strain, and successive training of the yeast with multiple fermentations builds up its desired traits (eg. if you want flocculant yeast, you select the yeast from the bottom to propagate each time, if you want a powdery more attenuative yeast, you propagate the yeast that don't settle out, etc.)

One last note if you do attempt to capture wild yeast is that most of the wild saccharomyces strains will have the gene that produces phenolics, so your resulting yeast will end up being Belgian in character. Cool maritime climates have produced yeast which does not have the gene, but unless you live in such an area your likelihood of getting a clean ale yeast from thin air is going to be slim.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Which reminds me.. I don't remember where I found it now, but the story behind the Sierra Nevada yeast, which is the most common saccharomyces cerevisiae strain now used in the world to produce beer, was captured and isolated at the brewery. Being in Chico, California, this yeast has a distinctive smell similar to San Francisco sourdough bread.
I remember seeing that The head brewer of Sierra Nevada got his yeast when visiting some older brewery (I think it was ballentine, but I could be wrong), which at the time was using Nottingham yeast, and it mutated quite a bit over time and useage twards being cleaner and more hop-forward. a very interesting story indeed. I could have heard it from a abd source though.
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