Brewer's Ed

What's in Your Toolkit?

Print Edition, Vol. 2: This collection was produced for our annual in-print newspaper. Consider whether strains are new or improved, visit important fundamentals in yeast, and explore the newest technology in haze control. All are excellent ways to leverage yeast as a total power tool.

By Danielle Sommer

May 17, 2023

Browse all of the articles below digitally. Also check out this fully formatted download. If you love a good page-rustle like we do, opt for the hard copy for a nostalgic 50¢.


The Yeast Strain Toolkit

Whats in your toolkit cover image

New or improved? Why not both?

New Tools, Improved Tools and Combined Technologies

Modern yeast can ease issues with other ingredients and make previously painstaking processes more efficient, or even unnecessary. Unlike beer’s other raw materials, yeast contributes to flavor and aroma while simultaneously being the engine that makes the beer. Targeted modifications allow strains to act as either sharpened tools or whole new tools entirely. In fact, why not both? What’s in your toolkit? Read it


How Yeast Affects Flavor

Yeast and flavor cover image

Yeast is large. It contains multitudes” — Malt Witman 

A Trait-centric Approach

At first the force of fermentation was mysterious. Regional, historic styles began and evolved as genres. To create them nowadays, we often reach for the same ingredients and processes the brewers that came before us used. That can mean thinking of one yeast strain as producing one beer style. For the modern brewer, this can be too narrow of a lane. With more knowledge — and new tools — we can develop recipes for the characteristics we want differently. Whether it’s applying ourselves to the art of a classic style, or the innovation of a new one, try considering strains by just their traits and behaviors, instead of their origin. It may help you break outside of the box. Read it


Know Your Yeast

Attenuation dinner plate cover image

Broad families of yeast strains consume sugars differently.

Just Deserts: Attenuation

Factors influencing attenuation on the hot side could be mash temp, pH, and water-to-grist ratio. On the cold side, it could be pitch rate, yeast health, oxygenation, nutrient, alcohol tolerance, hop creep, and even fermentation temperature. Yeast is great at eating maltose, but maltotriose and dextrins get pushed around the plate sometimes. The metaphor of the dinner plate can help you understand what gets served, how much gets eaten by what, and when. Read it


Clearing Diacetyl Before it Starts

ALDCing You

If you’re using a yeast strain with intra-cellular ALDC — or even just ALDC that you have to buy, and add, separately — you still need a D‑rest, but you should definitely call it something else: when you eliminate diacetyl’s precursor, particularly before it ever leaves the cell, as is true with Diacetyl Knock Out” (DKO) strains, it eliminates any diacetyl that you’d be needing to rest for. That takes a load off of yeast’s shoulders at the end of fermentation, allowing them clean up other things more completely and reliably. Read it



There’s a Knack

Low- and no-alcohol beers are constructed in creative ways to try to get over what they’re missing in flavor, texture, safety, etc. Breweries that whip up something more than just near-beer, something delicious that has a whole vibe of its own, they guard their secrets closely. We can help decode a little. Are you curious what you’re tasting when you crack a low” one? This will help you associate flavors with processes. Read it


The Haze Complex

Can you believe hazies are well over a decade old now? For all of the popularity of haze, what exactly is making it form still isn’t well understood. There are some new revelations, and some new advances. Here’s the redux: malt, yeast AND hop factors each have crucial roles to play; and some ways of manifesting (or warding off) stable haze are easier than others. Building the foundation of your strategy on yeast can help you lock it down reliably so you can focus on other sensory aspects of your beer. Read it


The Breakroom

Das Wort (#002)

Pass the time with a brewing-centric crossword (difficulty: Thursday). Play


Figuring out the relationships between four sets of four words solves it. Play

Vossa Nova

Photographed by Lisa Beck

Yeast <3 Vossa Nova

Orders & Process Coordinator, resident yeast plate artist, Bianca Alley starts with a blank WLN plate and draws anything from seasonal art to personal portraits in yeast. Here she has rendered the illustration for Omega Yeast’s Vossa Nova. Yeast colonies take up the bromocresol green dye as they grow. Read about Bianca’s process.

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This collection of articles was produced for Top Crops annual in-print newspaper edition. Find more articles grouped by other themes in Top Crops regular site collections.

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