Yeast is the generally unsung hero of beer.
You can make really good beer using standard dried yeast and getting the big things like how much you use, what temperature you let it ferment the beer at and how you feed and treat it. In-fact for all our beers here at the brewery we happily use dried strains to brew beer with good character that lets the malt and hops shine through.
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ right? Wrong. Well in this situation anyway. Leave your microwave alone.
I never liked that saying. Still don’t. It sometimes suggests once you get something right, leave it alone. Applying it to artistic things like music, painting, cooking and even brewing can stagnate something. Chefs may have to make their standard dish one hundred times every day, but the really good ones are forever working behind the scenes getting better and more refined flavoured ingredients to enhance every little part of that one dish. The best ones do it forever. When you’re in that mentality of perfection it’s never ending, and it’s the only thing that makes sense to you after time.
Brewers are no different. As brewers of small batch beers we can’t help but do this as well. We take a recipe. We brew it again and again, talk to ourselves about it in our heads while it goes through every little process, and polish the whole thing bit by bit. We really like the recipe but want to feel that it’s constantly improving. We all do this in life in general.
So we’ve all felt for a while that the yeast that we use needs to be more tailored to the flavour we want to achieve. Tailored is actually the perfect word. If you’re using the yeast that everyone else is using you just lack some degree of uniqueness. Not better or worse than anything else, just not an exact fit. That’s why I’m taking on the challenge of tailoring a new yeast to the brewery and all of our beers.
I’m going to keep this blog to record this journey over the coming weeks as we invent equipment, design new flavours, fire up Bunsen burners and look through the odd microscope too.
It’s not broke. I’m still fixing it though.