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  1. #1
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    Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    The topic of yeasts has always been of interest but how they are identified, selectively grown and manufactured in quantity has been unclear to me, until I read this info:

    http://www.redstaryeast.com/science-...acturing-yeast

    Whisk(e)y specific:

    http://www.fermentis.com/FO/70-Spirits/70-20_whisky.asp

    A Red Star tour would be interesting.

    Anybody in Milwaukee taken a tour?
    http://www.lesaffreyeastcorp.com/contact-us
    Last edited by Jono; 04-03-2012 at 10:45.

  2. #2
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    The topic of yeasts has always been of interest but how they are identified, selectively grown and manufactured in quantity has been unclear to me, until I read this info:

    http://www.redstaryeast.com/science-...acturing-yeast

    Whisk(e)y specific:

    http://www.fermentis.com/FO/70-Spirits/70-20_whisky.asp

    A Red Star tour would be interesting.

    Anybody in Milwaukee taken a tour?
    http://www.lesaffreyeastcorp.com/contact-us
    Jono great post as I have always been curious about the yeast creation process. The fermentis website jogged my memory from a recent hard hat tour at BT as I remember each mash tub having a bag or tub of fermentis dry yeast sitting next to it. This is encouraging considering the strong thoughts about yeast strains in the whiskey industry and that BT produces extremely well made, highly sought after products.
    "Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy."
    -Frank Sinatra

  3. #3
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    I seem to recall on Modern Marvels where they showed how Beam keeps and maintains their original strain of yeast.

    IN fact here it is at about the 2 min mark: http://youtu.be/LBrzJxZxVR4
    |-o-| [-o-] |-o-| "I'm on the leader"

  4. #4
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    So they keep their strain in a sealed vessel and tap from it. I wonder if they simply add nutrient to keep the yeast growing or if the vessel is itself a
    portion from a larger container. If that yeast died....it would change the character of their whiskey unless it could be recreated.

    Great series....Jameson's uses corn for its GNS...plus the barley.
    Last edited by Jono; 04-03-2012 at 11:31.

  5. #5
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    When I took the Four Roses tour last month, the guide mentioned that they keep over 300 yeast strains in storage. When I asked, she said that they came from when Seagram's owned them, that they collected yeast from the furthest reaches of the Seagram's empire and stored them all in one place, and I guess the chain of ownership of this library now is with Kirin. She didn't think they did much experimenting with these strains, given that they already have 5 and don't have much need to change the 4R flavor profile. Also, I noticed the absence of a smaller still to experiment with, though that could be anywhere, I guess.

    I can't argue with the decision not to change the profile, since 4RSB currently is my favorite bourbon, but wow, 300 yeast strains! They're some creative guys; I would love to see what those strains do with their high-rye recipe.

    Does anyone know how they store and renew their yeast? They gave the impression that they keep liquid cultures and expand them as needed, but I forgot to ask how they renew the yeast. I mean, the expansion is by several exponentials, and with those numbers, most every gene in the yeast genome must be mutated (if only one or two genes per yeast cell). It would be easy to have a swift drifting of the flavor profile without frequent renewal from stocks that haven't been expanded as much.

  6. #6
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    bad-scientist, it just goes to show that there is a helluva lot of science involved in what started out as simple moonshining. The distillers must hire quite a few microbiologists just to manage the yeast stocks....in addition to the mass manufacturers of yeast. A PhD in yeastology would come in handy.

  7. #7
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    They indeed had a really cute video before the tour that included the yeast culturing process. Professionals in lab coats were shown growing the yeast from small cultures to 1-2 liter suspension cultures, which were used to start a massive, massive culture in a tank. By the end, the tank, which was like 8-10 feet wide and I don't know how deep, was full of yeast. Amazing. My wife had to grow a relative of brewer's yeast for one of her experiments and it is not that easy to do. They don't grow so quickly.

    Now that I read what I had typed about the 300 strains, it seems strange that Seagram's would just hand them all over to Kirin. I don't know, it probably doesn't hurt Seagrams, but I'd like to talk to someone who is more familiar with the subject to see exactly what happened.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    bad-scientist, it just goes to show that there is a helluva lot of science involved in what started out as simple moonshining. The distillers must hire quite a few microbiologists just to manage the yeast stocks....in addition to the mass manufacturers of yeast. A PhD in yeastology would come in handy.

  8. #8
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    Dick Stoll, Master Distiller at Michter's in Schaefferstown back in the day, told me that when Everett Beam was still Master Distiller, a tube was sent to Jim Beam on occasion and was filled with Beam yeast and sent back to Pennsylvania where Everett (and later Dick himself) would grow it and fill their Dona Cans with it for their fermenting. Dick told me that one time, they sent the tube to Jim Beam after Everett's retirement and the tube never returned. From that point on, Dick used Red Star yeast to make the whiskey at Michter's. He said it worked well and made a good whiskey. Until the day it was demolished, there were still containers of Red Star yeast in the attic of the Jug House!
    If you have anything Michter's or Pennco and would like to sell it or share it with me, please let me know.

  9. #9
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    The way it's done for breweries and distilleries is that single cells of yeast are kept in very cold storage. When "new" yeast is needed, a single cell is pulled from this sample, and added to 10ml of sterilized wort/mash, and oxygen is constantly added. In 24 hours, 100 ml of wort is added. In the next 24 hours 500ml of wort is added. And so on, and so on, until they have a pitchable amount of yeast to start the first fermentation.

    The difference between fermentation and growing yeast is simply oxygen. If you keep adding oxygen, the yeast uses the growth medium together with the oxygen to create daughter cells (more yeast). In the fermenters, when the oxygen is gone from the mash/wort, the yeast turns anaerobic, and begins fermentation... so now instead of creating daughter cells, the yeast uses the wort/mash to create alcohol.

    Jono, in the system that you describe, they would draw yeast off as needed, and then top off the tank with more wort or mash, agitating and adding oxygen. It's an imperfect method of yeast propagation, but it will get the job done. Depending on the yeast strain, this method will lead to mutation on the part of the yeast, leading to a "house flavor" and some unique congeners down the road.

  10. #10
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    Re: Yeasts - info and manufacturing

    Good find Jono, thanks for the post.

 

 

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