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Zymurgy March/April 2018 - The Origin of Ale Yeast Species (DNA Testing)

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dmtaylor

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If you hadn't seen it already, there is an interesting article in the March/April 2018 issue of Zymurgy discussing results of DNA testing of 96 assorted strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

As a science nut, I was deeply captivated by the article, and went ahead and pulled up the source paper for full details. I then proceeded to spend probably about 20 hours reviewing everything line by line in an attempt to blend (1) the official scientific results with (2) my own personal (flawed?) knowledge and intuition in order to come up with some additional conclusions and hypotheses, which I will admit are probably not 100% correct, but which people might find interesting nonetheless as food for thought and discussion.

So I thought I might share. Feel free to rip this stuff to shreds. But I think it's pretty dang interesting to think about. My own personal summary of the whole thing based on my own interests, experience, and intuition:

A) All beer yeast as we know it today has been in existence for only 400 years.
B) As such, prior to 1600, beers were likely entirely different than we experience today.
C) At least 9 "lager" strains out there are actually Sachharomyces cerevisiae ("ale" yeast).
D) Wyeast 1007/WLP036 is derived from bread yeast, explaining its vigor and bready character.
E) The smaller Beer 2 clave has a tendency for high attenution as it can eat maltotriose.
F) One abbey strain is a cousin of the Beer 2 clave, totally unrelated from all other beer yeasts since <1600.
G) One abbey strain originated from wine yeast.
H) 3 abbey strains are actually English in origin, while 3 remaining are distinctly Belgian.
I) 2 Belgian abbey strains and 1 English-derived abbey strain are unable to produce any clove.
J) Duvel yeast WLP570/1388 is confirmed to be a daughter of McEwan's WLP028/1728.

Go ahead. Think about the stuff. See if it makes any sense to you. Provide your own thoughts. Have fun with it.

Link to the source paper, FYI:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2016.08.020
 

Mer-man

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Yes it's exciting and all, but is a far cry from being terribly practical. It's like the last study analyzed by @suregork where he made educated guesses at identifying the strains.
Bottom line is that unless we can use this data to inform our yeast choice, it is mostly just nerdy trivia. I want an ale strain that ferments maltotriose and does so cleanly. Is that WLP090? etc etc
 

Griffin495

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Practical? Probably not, but as chemist and a science nut, I find it interesting. Thanks for sharing it. I'll take a look at your link. Especially since my GC/MS is down today due to exhaust issues in the lab and I don't have sh!t to do except plan my next few brews.
 

bitteritdown

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Thanks for sharing, Dave. Very interesting. Perhaps they'll take it a step further in the future and make associations with commercially produced yeast strains.

The shift from variable, complex, and often harsh environ-
ments encountered in nature to more stable and nutrient-rich
beer medium favored specialized adaptations in beer yeasts,
but also led to genome decay, aneuploidy, and loss of a func-
tional sexual cycle.
Makes one wonder if the same is happening to humans.

What does a beer, that has been fermented with an "ancient or original (non-industrial?) strain" of yeast, taste like? Would it even ferment?

Obviously more questions than answers but I'm thinking I need to subscribe to this Zymurgy magazine.
 

Miraculix

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Thanks for sharing, Dave. Very interesting. Perhaps they'll take it a step further in the future and make associations with commercially produced yeast strains.



Makes one wonder if the same is happening to humans.

What does a beer, that has been fermented with an "ancient or original (non-industrial?) strain" of yeast, taste like? Would it even ferment?

Obviously more questions than answers but I'm thinking I need to subscribe to this Zymurgy magazine.
I guess all those wild brews must be pretty much spot on in terms of pre "modern-yeast-age" taste.
 
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dmtaylor

dmtaylor

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Makes one wonder if the same is happening to humans.
I think there is little doubt that this is in fact happening right now. ;)

What does a beer, that has been fermented with an "ancient or original (non-industrial?) strain" of yeast, taste like? Would it even ferment?

Obviously more questions than answers but I'm thinking I need to subscribe to this Zymurgy magazine.
You should subscribe indeed.

I think the ancient beers were often sour and "wild" and much less predictable than the beers of today... but also familiar enough that we would still recognize them as beer, or at least sour ales, if we could taste them today. Funny how a lot of folks now today are getting back to brewing wild ales again as the hip thing to do.
 

Mer-man

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Perhaps it was a mistake for me to hope there might be anyone out there in the homebrew universe who is interested in any topic broader than NEIPA.
Your misreading aside, I stand by my comment. As a non-scientist, I would appreciate these studies trickling down to commercially-applicable nuggets of relevant detail.
 
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dmtaylor

dmtaylor

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Your misreading aside, I stand by my comment. As a non-scientist, I would appreciate these studies trickling down to commercially-applicable nuggets of relevant detail.
No, I get it. I had actually attempted to come up with as many useful nuggets as I possibly could. However, since the study anonymized the particular yeast strains, it was extremely difficult.

The one result I know for pretty dang sure is the altbier yeast one, WLP036, where to my knowledge, it is the only recognized altbier strain that White Labs makes, which is where the study got most of their yeast, and was also the only "beer yeast" that was closely related to bread yeast. I remember the first time I used Wyeast 1007 (supposedly the same source) remarking that it smelled and tasted and acted so much like a bread yeast. Come to find now that by its DNA, it truly is a bread yeast. Made perfect sense to me.
 
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suregork

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As Mer-man mentioned, together with help from others, I've tried to decode most of the White Labs strains from that study (based on genome data published elsewhere):
http://beer.suregork.com/?p=3919

The blog post also contains a spreadsheet with brewing-relevant phenotypic data of the identified strains.
 
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dmtaylor

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As Mer-man mentioned, together with help from others, I've tried to decode most of the White Labs strains from that study (based on genome data published elsewhere):
http://beer.suregork.com/?p=3919

The blog post also contains a spreadsheet with brewing-relevant phenotypic data of the identified strains.
WOW!!!!!!!! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!!!!!!!!!

Looks like we came up with the same conclusion about WLP036, so that's a start!!! I too have a spreadsheet at home with guesses on what a few of the strains might be. I'll compare notes tonight or tomorrow and post the results of that review. Sweeeeet...
 

Mer-man

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Ah, so it's the same study? Well then Suregork has you covered. And yeah, the working understanding is that WLP090 can ferment maltotriose.
In other news, I am switching back to WLP090....
 

Northern_Brewer

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If you hadn't seen it already, there is an interesting article in the March/April 2018 issue of Zymurgy discussing results of DNA testing of 96 assorted strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

A) All beer yeast as we know it today has been in existence for only 400 years.
B) As such, prior to 1600, beers were likely entirely different than we experience today.
C) At least 9 "lager" strains out there are actually Sachharomyces cerevisiae ("ale" yeast).
D) Wyeast 1007/WLP036 is derived from bread yeast, explaining its vigor and bready character.
E) The smaller Beer 2 clave has a tendency for high attenution as it can eat maltotriose.
F) One abbey strain is a cousin of the Beer 2 clave, totally unrelated from all other beer yeasts since <1600.
G) One abbey strain originated from wine yeast.
H) 3 abbey strains are actually English in origin, while 3 remaining are distinctly Belgian.
I) 2 Belgian abbey strains and 1 English-derived abbey strain are unable to produce any clove.
J) Duvel yeast WLP570/1388 is confirmed to be a daughter of McEwan's WLP028/1728.

Go ahead. Think about the stuff. See if it makes any sense to you. Provide your own thoughts.
I already started a thread a few months ago on this stuff and one dealing specifically with the US yeast family that now appears to include things like Antwerp and WLP030 (hmm - I really need to do a final tasteoff of that lot, although I'm going to repeat them as there were...labelling issues. But just in regard to your points :

I'm a bit sceptical about the exact timing, it depends on how you calibrate the mutation clock and I'm a bit sceptical about how they've done that based on what I've seen from them. But I've not seen the data they have, so....
You're wrong to think beers were "entirely different". Think about when fish first climbed onto land and became amphibians. The fish that were left in the water didn't suddenly turn into squid or scorpions - they just carried on being fish. Before the split, beermaking yeast were more like saisons and wine yeast, that's all.
WLP570 is not confirmed as a daughter of WLP028 at all - without even guessing, the White Labs catalogue explicitly says that WLP570 is a Group 2 (ie "saison") type, whereas WLP028 is a Group I ("main beer group") yeast (and in fact Suregork has explicitly tied it down to Beer060 through sequence analysis). Yes, Beer035 is a Trappist yeast that's a close sibling to WLP028, but Duvel isn't Trappist...
WLP036 isn't derived from bread yeast, but it is a cousin of some bread yeasts. Their most recent common ancestor is much closer than some other yeasts, but they're in a group that's a bit of a ragbag and that's apparently evolved since the main Group 1/2 split. There's obviously some sampling issues here, because one interpretation would be that noone was making bread before 1600....

I think the main take-homes are :
The whole lager/ale thing is a mess. People are making lager commercially with all sorts of "ale" yeast, even Group 2 "saisons". [On the other hand, I don't think people pay enough attention to the big division in the "true" lager yeasts, the Saazes and Frohbergs, but that's another thing] Another paper has shown that even WLP800 Pilsner (allegedly from Urquell) is an ale yeast.

Personally I don't care about lager, but I grew up on the beers of northern England and I still can't get over the fact that many of them are made with Group 2 "saison" yeasts. It seems WLP037 and 038 are POF+ whilst 026 is POF- (still not quite sure what you do with a POF- saison yeast, but it's there) and there's already been a commercial "Yorkshire saison" made with 037. I think this is going to become quite a thing. Sadly all the ones in the paper are Vault strains, but I've a good idea of some non-WhiteLab ones to test for POF+ness whilst waiting for them to come out of the Vault, I plan to do quite a bit of work on this.

On a similar note, Belgium and the UK can now make US-style beers with yeast that has local connnections, as WLP030 and 515 are members of the Chico/BRY-97 group. I've been playing with them already, but need to brew another batch to compare them.

Yep, the Belgians are a bit of a mess, I think the most interesting one is WLP540. The Ardennes wasn't the best place to be in WWII if you wanted a quiet life, and Rochefort struggled in the aftermath. They got help from Chimay and used their yeast for a bit, then got a consultant in who found them a new yeast from Palm. So WLP540 seems to be a close relative of Ringwood, that's more fruity, less fusely and much more alcohol-tolerant. Works for me.

However, a note of caution that the phenotype data was mostly gathered at 30C and they only measured certain compounds. So a yeast could appear to be very clean, when in fact it smells like a skunk using compounds they didn't measure. But I still fancy brewing beer with WLP050 Tennessee whisky yeast...
 

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Nice work! Thanks for sharing. Swmbo just left for vaca a few days before me so if I don’t completely revert to college days behavior I’ll give the link a look. If not I’ll read it on the plane ride as I recover from a five day hangover.
 

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Perhaps it was a mistake for me to hope there might be anyone out there in the homebrew universe who is interested in any topic broader than NEIPA.
[Raises his hand] Always interested! And give zero $hits about NEIPA's or any other over-hopped swill :)

One thing I've always been curious about is Saison yeasts. I'm a big Saison fan and think they may have originated from wine or champagne yeast. I've also thought they may somehow be related to Kolsch yeast. Both have a very distinct flavor and funkiness that is not found in any other yeast, however some hardcore Belgian strains might be a distant cousin, neph-son, or uncle-dad.

Definitely interesting stuff. My problem is i'm a robotics and physics engineer and EE. My background in biology and chemistry is very weak. Some of these articles are a blur.
 
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dmtaylor

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Okay.... comparing notes for the first time now... initial results... honest to God, following is a list of all the strains where my own independent conclusions, based on my own intuition and experience, matched qq's & @suregork's guesses exactly, and thus, at least in my view, means these are probably about 90% certain to be correct. And my guesses were determined without me having any idea that BE044 thru BE-087 are probably in almost exactly perfect numerical order vs. White Labs' numbering system (that finding is AWESOME, by the way, suregork!):

BE008 WLP029 - Kolsch
BE044 WLP001 - California Ale "Chico", BRY 96, Sierra Nevada, Ballantine "Beer"
BE046 WLP003 - German Ale II
BE047 WLP004 - Irish Ale Guinness
BE051 WLP008 - East Coast Ale Sam Adams
BE060 WLP028 - Edinburgh Ale McEwan
BE061 WLP036 - Dusseldorf Alt Ale Zum Uerige
BE069 WLP076 - Old Sonoma New Albion
BE075 WLP400 - Belgian Wit Ale Hoegaarden/Celis
BE076 WLP410 - Belgian Wit II Moortgat
BE078 WLP530 - Abbey Ale Westmalle
BE083 WLP565 - Saison Ale Dupont
BE093 WLP351 - Bavarian Weizen "Famous" - Weihenstephan 175 or -68


Not too shabby!


And a handful of notable differences:

BE065 I think might be WLP051 vs. their guess of WLP019 (vault which I've never seen)
BE071 I think might be Stone vs. they say Ballast Point or Port (maybe all related?)


And my own guesses for some more strains where they had no guess at all:

BE011 WLP500/1214 (Chimay)?
BE039 Czech lager that's NOT Pastorianus! Czechvar?
BE040 US lager that's NOT Pastorianus! Budweiser?
BE042 Belgian lager that's NOT Pastorianus! Stella? ~from circa 1900


So that's my first glance comparison of guesswork from independent sources of myself vs. qq & suregork. Cool! :)
 
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dmtaylor

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[Raises his hand] Always interested! And give zero $hits about NEIPA's or any other over-hopped swill :)

One thing I've always been curious about is Saison yeasts. I'm a big Saison fan and think they may have originated from wine or champagne yeast. I've also thought they may somehow be related to Kolsch yeast. Both have a very distinct flavor and funkiness that is not found in any other yeast, however some hardcore Belgian strains might be a distant cousin, neph-son, or uncle-dad.

Definitely interesting stuff. My problem is i'm a robotics and physics engineer and EE. My background in biology and chemistry is very weak. Some of these articles are a blur.
Regarding your favorite yeasts for saisons and Kolsch...

By the looks of it, saison yeasts are indeed more closely related to wine yeasts than to most other beer yeasts. But, they are also distant cousins of both. Most saison yeasts are in the Beer 2 clave, which evolved separately from other yeasts, with most having the unique diastaticus variant so they eat a lot more sugar. But, there are exceptions. WLP585 has only limited ability to ferment maltotriose compared to its buddies.

Kolsch yeast, on the other hand, appears to be most closely related to Czechvar and Budweiser than anything else, if my theories in the previous post are correct. And even if I'm wrong about Czech/Budvar, a whole slew of "lager" yeasts are in fact ale yeasts that are definite predecessors to the two main commercially available Kolsch yeasts WLP029 and 2565. No relation to saison yeasts at all whatsoever, not even close.

Cheers.
 

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Those pages have an amazing amount of great data. What caught me by surprise was the number of strains with partial or full matches for STA1 on the suregork spreadsheet. Cracked me up thinking about prior paranoia threads on various forums where they think only a couple strains on risky. LOL
 
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Those pages have an amazing amount of great data. What caught me by surprise was the number of strains with partial or full matches for STA1 on the suregork spreadsheet. Cracked me up thinking about prior paranoia threads on various forums where they think only a couple strains on risky. LOL
Yeah, it's pretty crazy... Samuel Smith's might actually be a diastaticus Belgian yeast -- who knew?! And Thomas Hardy's is actually most closely related to wine yeast and also likes to eat maltotriose.
 

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Looking at Surgeork's spreadsheet it has a "0" for WLP099 in the maltotriose column. This mirrors a conservation I had with Lance over at Omega. Every vial of that strain he's ever plated has resulted in 2 very distinct strains. Strain 1 is super alcohol tolerant but lacks the ability to utilize maltotriose and strain 2 is diastatic but much less alcohol tolerant.
 
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Looking at Surgeork's spreadsheet it has a "0" for WLP099 in the maltotriose column. This mirrors a conservation I had with Lance over at Omega. Every vial of that strain he's ever plated has resulted in 2 very distinct strains. Strain 1 is super alcohol tolerant but lacks the ability to utilize maltotriose and strain 2 is diastatic but much less alcohol tolerant.
Oh, it's a blend? Cool. Good to know. Makes one wonder how many other blends are put out there without the labs telling us.
 

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Oh, it's a blend? Cool. Good to know. Makes one wonder how many other blends are put out there without the labs telling us.
The evidence would seem to suggest that, but I'd like to see if other labs have had the same findings.
 

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Looking at Surgeork's spreadsheet it has a "0" for WLP099 in the maltotriose column. This mirrors a conservation I had with Lance over at Omega. Every vial of that strain he's ever plated has resulted in 2 very distinct strains. Strain 1 is super alcohol tolerant but lacks the ability to utilize maltotriose and strain 2 is diastatic but much less alcohol tolerant.
Yes, I noticed WLP099's inability to use maltotriose already a couple of years ago and wrote about it here:
http://beer.suregork.com/?p=3850

It definitely looks like WLP099 is a blend, since people have been reporting very high attenuations even in all-malt wort (impossible without maltotriose use), and White Labs have tagged it as STA1-positive (i.e. diastatic) on their web site. The pure isolates of WLP099 I've tested (that are maltotriose negative) and have had whole-genome sequenced are definitely not diastatic and do not contain STA1.
 

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Actually we have known a lot about yeast as an organism, especially what comes to biochemistry and molecular biology. But we did not know much about the relationships between all the different strains used for brewing beer. I agree that it is an interesting topic. However, practical home brewer's who are following these discussions should bear in mind that closely related strains (based on overall dna sequence) can sometimes be far away from each other when certain individual properties (that could be very critical for, say, beer taste) are compared.
 
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Here's another crazy direction for yeast. Bryan was an instructor in a class I took and he had Denby come in and give us a lecture on this research. I'm a biologist by education and love this stuff. It's crazy how yeast are normally aneuploid, having haploid, diploid, triploid, tetraploid, and combinations of all.

http://news.berkeley.edu/2018/03/20/brewing-hoppy-beer-without-the-hops/
 

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Yes, I noticed WLP099's inability to use maltotriose already a couple of years ago and wrote about it here:
http://beer.suregork.com/?p=3850

It definitely looks like WLP099 is a blend, since people have been reporting very high attenuations even in all-malt wort (impossible without maltotriose use), and White Labs have tagged it as STA1-positive (i.e. diastatic) on their web site. The pure isolates of WLP099 I've tested (that are maltotriose negative) and have had whole-genome sequenced are definitely not diastatic and do not contain STA1.
Well it looks like I'm a couple years late on that one. Better late than never I suppose [emoji23]
 

Comfort_Zone

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Here's another crazy direction for yeast. Bryan was an instructor in a class I took and he had Denby come in and give us a lecture on this research. I'm a biologist by education and love this stuff. It's crazy how yeast are normally aneuploid, having haploid, diploid, triploid, tetraploid, and combinations of all.

http://news.berkeley.edu/2018/03/20/brewing-hoppy-beer-without-the-hops/
Yeah........yeast genetics, and microorganisms in general are really fun.
 

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I ferment Lagers at warmer temps. I have even dabbled in cross breeding of ale/lager yeast. I have fermented Munich Dunkel with a mixture of Saflager S-23, S-189 and a Norwegian ale yeast KNOWN to ferment at very high temps, Omega Voss Kveik. I think they have fermented beer with Voss Kviek at 104F with NO ill effects. https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/581646/jenewein-s-mnchen-dunkel-4-gal-batch

Batch came out pretty good at around 75 degrees F fermentation. I collected yeast at the end and in my refrigerator and used it to start another Munich Dunkel lager and went very well.

WLP 800 is sold as a Pilsner lager yeast but Australia tests of DNA show it to be a pure Ale yeast, not S. eubayannus at all.
 
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Comfort_Zone

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I ferment Lagers at warmer temps. I have even dabbled in cross breeding of ale/lager yeast. I have fermented Munich Dunkel with a mixture of Saflager S-23, S-189 and a Norwegian ale yeast KNOWN to ferment at very high temps, Omega Voss Kveik. I think they have fermented beer with Voss Kviek at 104F with ill effects. https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/581646/jenewein-s-mnchen-dunkel-4-gal-batch

Batch came out pretty good at around 75 degrees F fermentation. I collected yeast at the end and in my refrigerator and used it to start another Munich Dunkel lager and went very well.

WLP 800 is sold as a Pilsner lager yeast but Australia tests of DNA show it to be a pure Ale yeast, not S. eubayannus at all.
Hmmmmmmm, a diastatic lager yeast would be a fun idea.
 

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That should read ".... Voss Kviek at 104 F with NO ill effect." Clarifying .

Lager, or hybrid yeasts do not cross well as they are sterile, but maybe they can influence the Voss Kviek genes a bit to make it a more "lager" in characteristics, bottom fermenting, etc.
 

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[Raises his hand] Always interested! And give zero $hits about NEIPA's or any other over-hopped swill :)
Agree on this one. I am sick and tired of over hopped fruit infused so called "Beer". It's a litte off topic, but feel the same way on this matter. Nice clean fermentation, little overboard esters and able to brew at temps in my living room. My personal goal.
 
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