Archive | August, 2012

Data for Olive Oil vs. Aeration Experiment

30 Aug

Here is the fermentation comparison data for the olive oil experiment a few months back:

Comparative Sample Report – Olive Oil Experiment

Adventures in Denmark

21 Aug

There are more breweries in the country of Denmark than you can even count.  They range from very small, farm-style breweries, to large production breweries like Carlsberg Brewery, where the original pure yeast culture was created.  When you’re trying to visit with brewers there, this can be a big challenge.

We started off instead by preparing a short yeast seminar, hosted by Vestfyn Brewery at the university in Fyn, the island just West of Copenhagen.  The attendees consisted of breweries from this region, of which most had been part of their local Innovation Project where they collected and isolated some native strains for fermentation.  Many of these breweries are quite small, and I am sure there was a bit of a challenge with communicating technical information about yeast.  It was an interesting afternoon, and I hope, beneficial to the breweries that attended.  We look forward to working with them more.


On the way back to Copenhagen, we stopped at Orbaek Bryggeri, established in the Fyn countryside in 1906 as a small farmstead providing malted barley to local businesses.  They began brewing beer and the original malting house and brewery is still there.  While the malting operations have ceased, the original brewing equipment is still used to this day for some of their specialty beers.  These days, they are also a modern brewery and distillery. It was such a great visit that was out of the way, but well worth the trip.  It was a lot of tradition mixed with modernization.

Image   Image   Image


Back in Copenhagen, we had a fantastic meeting with Nordic Food Labs and Noma.  If any of you are familiar with food trends, you’ll know that Noma is a world-renowned restaurant featuring the best and latest in molecular gastronomy and are at the forefront of food innovation.  We were so privileged to meet their top chefs, including head chef, Rene Redzepi.  I mean, I read about these guys in magazines (and hopefully they are not reading this now because I would sound so embarrasing)  No, we were not able to get a table there 🙂  The Nordic Food Lab is situated on a house boat, of all places, in the harbor next to the restaurant.  In their food lab, they are working on various projects related to food fermentation, which is where we come in.  I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that this was one of the best, most interesting, most exhilarating meetings we’ve ever engaged in.  For me, it brings together one of my other favorite things – food (the other obviously being beer!).


Back home in sunny (and hot and humid) San Diego, I am so thrilled at this opportunity to visit Denmark and I already look forward to the next one.


An afternoon in Sweden

13 Aug

I am in the middle of a twelve-day trip to Denmark, but had decided to take a day trip to Malmo, Sweden, which is a 20 minute train ride from Copenhagen.  The main purpose of the trip was to visit Malmo Bryghus and an email acquaintance of mine who is a brewer there, Thomas Fransson.  Thomas also hosts Swedish Brewing Radio, so he was able to get together a group of start-up brewers and homebrewers for some yeast education.  

After the first day of cold and some drizzle in Copenhagen, I was happy to see that Saturday afternoon for our venture out to Sweden, it was beautiful and sunny.  I brought the family (Glen and Ada) and Thomas met us at the train station in Malmo with his family (My and 4-year old Otto).  We had a short walk to their apartment courtyard for lunch, which happens to be conveniently located across the street from Malmo Bryghus.  Thomas treated us to a very interesting homebrew, a Saison-style beer with Thai basil.  It was immensely refreshing to me, with just a hint of Thai basil, which is one herb that I absolutely adore.

We had a group of about 20 people for the meeting and I talked about yeast handling, storage, and answered questions.  Afterwards, we went to a local restaurant for dinner with some house-made charcuterie, Swedish-style ribs, and a fantastic cheese plate.  It was a great cap to a great afternoon.  In talking with the brewers in attendance, it is always fun to see how differently people are doing things but all with a common cause – making great beer.  The beers I had in Malmo were all quite good and I am sure they will continue to get even better.  I am amazed to see the passion in this group and really looking forward to the exciting growth that will surely happen in this country in the craft beer movement.  Perhaps you will hear me on Swedish Brewing Radio in the near future.  If you do, please pardon my Swedish 🙂

I am very happy that I was able to make this trip and it really just serves to remind me how much I love what I do.



The Patagonian hypothesis

7 Aug

Credit: Photo by Diego Libkind, Institute for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Bariloche, Argentina

At the World Brewing Congress last week, one of the more interesting yeast talks was presented by the genetics scientist Diego Libkind, Ph.D, of Argentina, who discussed “Genetic roots of lager-brewing yeast: Saccharomyces eubayanus and the Patagonian hypothesis.” As he reported in the abstract on the talk, “Recently, a worldwide survey yielded a novel yeast dubbed S. eubayanus from Patagonian native forests of Argentina that was shown to be the closest known match (99.5%) to the non-ale portion of lager yeasts and, thus, its putative progenitor. Identifying the wild genetic stock of the cryotolerant side of S. pastorianus allowed resolution of the hitherto confusing taxonomy of the most relevant brewing yeast and the understanding of key events that led to the domestication of lager yeast.” He continued, ” … the available information relevant to the discussion on how and when such a half European and half Patagonian yeast hybrid might have been originated will be addressed in this presentation.” Indeed, it was, and the talk generated lots of interest and questions from assembled brewers and scientists.


Here is a great article if you haven’t read about this already.

WBC 2012

7 Aug

White Labs people attended the World Brewing Congress in Portland, Ore., last week, taking part in one of the industry’s most comprehensive conferences when it comes to sharing scientific research and data. The conference takes place just once every four years and draws a heavy international crowd. White Labs personnel presented three posters — data from many years of Big QC Day testing, beer and yeast packaging innovations, and recycling of production waste within a yeast plant. Regarding Big QC Day data, Kara Taylor of White Labs reported, “By collecting data from every region and for a long span of time, we can evaluate how craft beer has changed stylistically, regionally, and overall.”

New Malt Varieties grown by OSU

Additionally, Kara visited some experimental hop farms supported by OSU. Their research was based on trying to find and grow hop varieties less susceptible to powdery mildew and downy mildew. Additionally OSU is growing some rare colored malts from around the world and trying to use them in brewing.

Powdery Mildew on Hop Cones