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Old 04-03-2013, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default What are the chances of discovering a unique strain of yeast?

What are the chances of discovering a unique strain of yeast, that produces good beer, that hasn't been discovered before?

Are all yeast strains discovered and classified?

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:04 PM   #2
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Well, there are yeasts everywhere in the world, without extensive testing, who can say if all strains are discovered and classified? Yeasts are also forever changing, mutating etc. I would say chances are good that one could discover a unique strain of yeast, however I would say the chances are also good that any wild yeast you find may have also already been "discovered and classified".

What is your frame of reference for the question?

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:26 PM   #3
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I guess it depends on what you mean by "strain". There are only 2 main strains of brewers yeast (plus a handful of sour ones). There are about 1,500 other identified yeasts not used in brewing. The chances of you discovering a new one is pretty slim even if you devoted your life to that pursuit.

If you mean a new variation of one of the known 2 main brewing strains, then you can almost certainly do that if you are so inclined. Most of the big breweries have a "house strain" that they have grown long enough for it to mutate and have different brewing characteristics than any other yeast available commercially. Jamil's book "Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation" would be a good starting point if you want to set up a small scale yeast lab in your home.

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:31 PM   #4
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I don't know the biology of yeast and different strains but there are examples of people making "new" types of yeast. Denny made a great yeast. The Alchemist made Conan yeast. And Allagash harvested a wild yeast up in Maine. Not sure if "making yeast" is the right terminology or if these are actually "new".

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Old 04-04-2013, 01:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
I don't know the biology of yeast and different strains but there are examples of people making "new" types of yeast. Denny made a great yeast. The Alchemist made Conan yeast. And Allagash harvested a wild yeast up in Maine. Not sure if "making yeast" is the right terminology or if these are actually "new".
The yeast labeled Denny's is actually a strain call CL-50, he didn't really make it, his name is simply being used to market it. It would be interesting to know how/where Conan and Allagash yeasts were harvested.

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I ran across it many years ago from a company called Brewtek, run by Maribeth Raines and now no longer in business. I wanted to get into yeast culturing, so I ordered supplies and a bunch of slants form them. When I tried one called CL-50, I found that it was as clean as my favorite yeasts, very attenuative, and very easy to work with. In addition, it left the beer with a really nice, smooth mouthfeel. I stated keeping a culture of it around and turned N8 and a bunch of other people on to it. N8 used it for a bunch of great beers. When my Rye IPA recipe started getting popular, I encouraged people to seek out this yeast and go to the trouble of building it up from a slant. Brewtek shut down, but another co. CO had samples of the yeast and kept it at least marginally available. At the same time, I started encouraging Dave Logsdon and Wyeast a few years back top make it available. They finally did.....
http://www.tastybrew.com/forum/thread/134497
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
I guess it depends on what you mean by "strain". There are only 2 main strains of brewers yeast (plus a handful of sour ones). There are about 1,500 other identified yeasts not used in brewing. The chances of you discovering a new one is pretty slim even if you devoted your life to that pursuit.

If you mean a new variation of one of the known 2 main brewing strains, then you can almost certainly do that if you are so inclined. Most of the big breweries have a "house strain" that they have grown long enough for it to mutate and have different brewing characteristics than any other yeast available commercially. Jamil's book "Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation" would be a good starting point if you want to set up a small scale yeast lab in your home.
Interesting info, thanks. I'll see if I can get a copy of that book.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ShootsNRoots View Post
Interesting info, thanks. I'll see if I can get a copy of that book.
It's well worth the money for any yeast mongerer.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:12 PM   #8
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Yeast strains tend to mutate through the same forces that drive mutation and natural selection in all other forms of life. If you take a random strain of brewers yeast and expose it through multiple generations to the same forces (for instance to a growth medium high in citric acid) the cells that have the ability to process in a high citric acid environment will reproduce more quickly than those that can't and over time you will get a yeast with a different characteristic.

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