Omega Bananza (OYL-400) and Omega Sundew (OYL-401)

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palmtrees

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Has anyone tried either of Omega's new yeasts, Bananza and Sundew? I got an email this morning from my HBS advertising some new recipe kits using these yeasts. They both sound really interesting. I was hoping to hear if anyone has experience with these yet before I pick which one to try.

Here is Omega's write up from their release in November that gives some background on the unique development process: Introducing Two New Original Strains: Bananza™ and Sundew™ | Omega Yeast

Gotta say I love the new pouch art, too!
 

JnLnNOVA

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Just ordered some Bananza to try out! Haven’t decided on a hops combo yet. Anyone have any suggestions that has or is planning on using this? I am thinking of using it for two different styles. A NEIPA and a Tropical Stout.
 

Pappers_

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That is really interesting, I am friends with someone who works in their lab here in Chicago. The entire POF project is interesting and I will be trying Sundew in an APA or IPA soon.
 

beersk

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Anxious to try both of these after the holidays. I love a banana forward hefeweizen. I'll try the sundew in a hoppy NEIPA
Yeah, I'm surprised they don't list hefeweizen as a potential for the Bananza. They probably don't know what a hefeweizen is. 😅 kidding of course.
 

FleEsq

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I Agree with Beersk. I prefer the more banana forward flavors in my Heffe than the clove. I wonder how it would perform in a Heffe
 
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I’m excited to try both of these as well! Check out the video from Northern Brewer. They suggest mixing bonanza with its parent strain in some proportion (ie full pack bonanza to half pack parent....some ratio) to really dial in the banana vs clove flavor that you want. They claim it works well because these bottle babies grow and interact the same as their naturally selected counterparts.
 
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Nerd alert! It would be cool to use a full pack of bonanza and a very small portion (like 1/100th of a pack) of its parent strain and then keep using the cake for several batches to see if clove will find a way. Could we not eliminate clove through selection because it is close to banana in the genome or is clove instead linked to something naturally superior? And did they accidentally hurt that genetic superiority when they killed the clove?
 

Pappers_

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Just my two cents, but a Hefeweizen without some phenolics (i.e. spice) isn't very appealing and, if one were pedantic, perhaps not a Hefe.
 

LokiM4

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Just my two cents, but a Hefeweizen without some phenolics (i.e. spice) isn't very appealing and, if one were pedantic, perhaps not a Hefe.
Agreed-more like a Banana-weizen or some other clever name... Though that’s not to say it wouldn’t be very tasty to those who appreciate that particular character.

I appreciate the clove character but I prefer banana forward Hefe’s-I just might take Omega’s advice as noted by Funky Frank above and mix a pouch of Bananza with their standard Hefe yeast and try a batch.
 
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palmtrees

palmtrees

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They suggest mixing bonanza with its parent strain in some proportion (ie full pack bonanza to half pack parent....some ratio) to really dial in the banana vs clove flavor that you want
That's a very interesting way to use this! I do like a little clove but prefer more banana, so I'd be very happy to have more control.

I'm also thinking of trying Bananza out in a brown ale after the holidays to try and go for a nutty banana bread feel. I used to get a good banana bread beer at a bar I frequented years ago but was never really able to recreate it. Bananza might do the trick.
 

KeithJ60

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I was also curious to see how this would do in a Hefeweizen before trying it in another style, so I brewed one last weekend and kegged it tonight. The best way I can describe it is that it tastes like banana Laffy Taffy. It still needs to carb and chill, so I’ll report back once it’s ready to serve.
 

NJGeorge

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Just used Bananza in a double IPA. Because of the high OG and no time to make a starter, I threw a half pack of S04 in there. Fermented around 68. So far so good. Good banana tropical fruit esters. Going to dry hop tomorrow after its crash. Its flocking like a pain even at 50.
 

KeithJ60

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I was also curious to see how this would do in a Hefeweizen before trying it in another style, so I brewed one last weekend and kegged it tonight. The best way I can describe it is that it tastes like banana Laffy Taffy. It still needs to carb and chill, so I’ll report back once it’s ready to serve.
To follow up on this, the hefe with Bananza was very banana forward as expected with no clove, just as advertised. While I loved the banana, I missed the clove you get from a traditional hefe yeast. As indicated earlier in the thread, it might be worth pitching Bananza with a traditional hefe yeast to get a banana bomb with a hint of clove.
 

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ebbelwoi

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Thanks for the update. I'm curious about this yeast.

How was the pH? One thing I don't like about 3068/300/W68 is the tartness I always get.

Also, you said you didn't get any clove. Did you do anything to coax out some clove, like a ferulic acid rest or a high-pH mash?
 

Northern_Brewer

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Also, you said you didn't get any clove. Did you do anything to coax out some clove, like a ferulic acid rest or a high-pH mash?

If the POF gene cassette is knocked out, then you won't get clove regardless of what process you use.

Worth noting that since these both use gene editing, they're unlikely to be available any time soon in Europe and I imagine in Japan.
 

KeithJ60

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As Northern_Brewer said, POF is knocked out so clove isn't a possibility regardless of process. I fermented at 68F, which usually does result in some clove production with regular hefe yeast in my experience, but none was detected here. There was also no tartness that I recall. It was a fairly smooth drinking with a strong banana aroma and flavor.
 

Bramling Cross

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A note on OLY-400 Bananza's behavior in the fermenter: watch your pitching temps! Last weekend I pitched a vigorous SNS starter of Bananza in the traditional German way, with a cool start. The yeast lagged hard for 48hrs until I decided to check the manufacturer's recommended temp range. Omega recommends 66F and up. As soon as I adjusted the fermenter to 66F, it went off like a bomb.

Lesson learned: you have to treat it as a unique strain rather than a modified version of a traditional hefe yeast.
 

Bramling Cross

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Another note regarding Bananza's differentiation from standard hefe yeasts. Bananza drops clear! I've had my Bananza hefe in the keg for about 3.5 weeks at 34F and it has dropped clear in my floating dip tube keg. It's not quite a Kristalweizen yet, but at this rate, it likely will be in a week. It's really close. The recipe is 60/40 wheat to pils and I didn't bother with kettle finings. In my experience, it takes at least four months (and a clove-dominated klunker of a batch that I have no interest in drinking) to achieve anything like this level of clarity with the normal hefe yeasts.

Fortunately, the flavor profile is holding up despite the yeast dropping out. In fact, the flavor has improved a bit now that the yeast isn't smearing the demarcations between the various flavors.

I really like this yeast! It's perfect!
 
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Bramling Cross

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As I'm still learning this yeast, I thought it might be helpful to add another note and share what I've learned from this year's adventure with OLY-400.

This year, I followed the revised instructions on the package to the letter. The packaging noted that it was safe to pitch w/o a starter if your gravity is under 1.050 and the package is no more than a month old. It also suggested that the most intense banana flavors are achieved at 68F and above. To this end, I pitched my three-week old package into a 1.048 wort at 68F. Lag was less than eight hours and I woke up the following morning to krausen in my air lock. Very, very fast and vigorous start. With a blow off tube now attached, OLY-400 nearly overflowed a 1gal blow off jar during the next 12hrs. I replaced the 1gal blow off jar with a 5gal bucket and it managed to fill 2/3rds of that bucket while I was at work the following day. This was a vigorous fermentation. It hit 1.012 on day 3 and finally settled at a TG of 1.010 on day five. I let the temp raise to 74F in 2F increments each day until it settled at TG.

This is where I made a mistake. I was really looking forward to this beer and with a stable TG, I decided to keg on day eight. Big mistake! I pulled a pint after the closed transfer to drop the beer under the level of the gas in spear and it was dominated by acetaldehyde and sulfur. I'm writing on day 16 since brew day and after a week in the keg, the acetaldehyde is all but gone and the sulfur is bit above "a pleasant sulfur note." The beer will be fine in another week.

However, it's not the amazing banana bomb that I brewed last year. It's incredibly clean, by hefe standards, and the grist is shining through plain as day. There are some fruity notes around the edges, but it's mostly clean. It's kinda like WY2112 when it gets a bit too warm. Not what I was aiming for.

I'll be re-brewing this one in two weeks, to get back to that gorgeous banana bomb it made last year. To do so, I'm going back to the tried and true method of abusing hefe yeast. I'll assertively under-pitch the next batch and I'll purposely pitch it cool, say 64F. I want the yeast to struggle through the lag phase and produce those tasty esters. If it doesn't take off after 48hrs, I'll bump it to 66F.

Anyway, that's what I've learned about this strain during my second pitch.
 

NJGeorge

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I used this yeast a week ago to ferment a treehouse style IPA. Took a gravity sample at one week and the FG is 1.013. It had a long lag time of around 24 hours so i bumped it up to 72 for a couple days and then let it ride not letting it go above 72 or below 70. I then turned off temp control and let it sit at 66 for a couple days. The hydro sample is a banana bomb. Currently cold crashing at 50-55 and will dry hop in a day or two.
 

Bramling Cross

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Two months later, the re-brew is in the keg and I just pulled a carb check on it. My plan to torment the yeast has worked. I've nailed it. It's exactly what I was gunning for.

Here's how I did it. Although I was tempted to re-brew immediately, I decided to allow the two pint-sized ball jars that I pulled off the cake to die in the fridge for two months. I wanted them stressed. On brew day, I added yeast nutrient, but I skipped the oxygen. I pitched both decanted pint jars at 58F, then induced a 48hr lag by keeping the fermenter at 62F. On day three, I allowed the fermenter to come up to 65F and within eight hours it rocketed to life. Again, it was a very vigorous fermentation once it came up to temp and it blasted through the first 5/6ths of the gravity in the following 72hrs. I abused the yeast and it showed during the final push to TG. I gradually raised the temp to 74F and it wasn't until day 10 that it approached final gravity. It eventually brought home a very impressive 81% attenuation, but it needed some time to get there.

Writing on day 16, with three days in the keg, acetaldehyde is noticeable, but it's waaay in the background. I might not have picked it up if I wasn't looking for it. Sulphur is non-existent. I will allow this strain a full two weeks in the fermenter during future brews. This batch, with the abused yeast, is far softer and rounder and those wonderful banana and bubblegum esters are smearing the grist and hops into a homogenous whole. I really like this beer.

More importantly, I now think I know how to to make the sort of hefe that I like in a controlled, repeatable fashion. Subsequent re-brews will be necessary to confirm that hunch, but I'm pretty sure I've cracked the code for the kind of terrible hefe that I like.

It only took me 30 years and a genetically modified yeast strain that is the result of billions of dollars invested into a field of science that was in its infancy when I started brewing. Put that way, I think it's quite clear that I suck as a brewer!
 

NJGeorge

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Made another double ipa with this yeast co pitched with verdant. Dumping the dry hops now but this beer is looking clear! I used mostly citra and Simcoe for the dry hops and this beer still not that hazy. Anyone know why? Is it just this yeast? I dry hopped after I crashed and dumped the yeast. Dry hopped at 50 degrees for two days. Interesting
 
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