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  1. #31
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    The higher the proof off of the still, the lower the impact of the mash on the distillate.

    Yeast may not matter with malts, but is sure does on bourbon.
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  2. #32
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by callmeox View Post
    The higher the proof off of the still, the lower the impact of the mash on the distillate.
    This is along the lines of what I was thinking. Yeast certainly makes a difference in the beer. There are a bunch of microbreweries and home-brewers that could give you evidence of the difference between the chosen yeast strain. I'm certain the same is true with bread yeast (but I have no personal experience with this). That said, do those differences translate into the distillate?

    There is very little difference in vodka regardless of what went into it originally. The fermentables used vary widely and I presume yeast strain matters very little - you just want something that will convert the most sugar to alcohol. Since bourbon comes off at a much lower proof other factors before distillation matter much more. If they want to argue that barley has more impact, I'd ask them to prove it (since that's what they've essentially asked you). What compounds make it through the distillation process that are different between different strains of barley? I'm not sure how far they'll get down that field, but we know that different yeast strains can tolerate different levels of alcohol and grow optimally at a variety of temperatures. These traits suggest various evolutionary pressure that has altered their genome. I imagine the enzyme repertoire is different between different saccromyces species, but you'd have to search more for that information.

    With all of that said, the 4R SB tasting that a number of SB folks participated in last year saw major differences with the same mash bill among different yeast strains. I think to more definitely test your question though, you'd want to get 5-10 bottles of the same mashbill, same yeast strain to determine the influence of the barrel. You could then compare between yeast strains with some level of confidence that the differences you were noting were due to yeast strain (not barrel differences). I think you won't be able to answer this definitively with just tasting though because of the number of uncontrolled variables in your experiment (numerous barrel variables, warehouse variables, temperature variables, age, proof, grain variables, accidental variables - differences in tanking, bottling, lines used, aeration time, UV exposure on a shelf, and on and on).

  3. #33
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    Single malt is just that: 100% malted barley. From what I understand, all but two Scottish distilleries buy their malt from only a few malting houses, the exceptions being Springbank, which floor malts all of their own barley, and Kilchoman (I think?) which does some of their own malting, but not all.

    So, the fact that each distillery is essentially using the same base of ingredient might mean that they all use the same yeast that has already been discovered to ferment the malt most efficiently. If you can't tell, I'm talking out of my ass here, but I've been forced to reach my own mostly-chemisterially-ignorant conclusions on this subject thus far.

    Now, when I think of sourdough, I think of yeast, and although I understand that sour mash means something a little different, it still makes sense to me that yeast would play a predominant role. The more variations of grain used in bourbon mash as compared to 100% malt could mean that there is not one yeast that is demonstrably more efficient than others for use in fermenting, hence the focus in the bourbon industry on the taste properties of yeast.

    I have tasted single barrels of all the FR recipes, and while I have experienced a fairly wide variety of profiles within the same mash/yeast combination (owing, I suppose, to the mysterious nature of spirit interaction with wood as well as barrel placement), I have also become familiar with the kind of profile I can expect from an individual yeast. It may not make as big a difference as barrel placement, but I'm absolutely convinced yeast plays a big factor in the taste of bourbon.
    "A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end-- In the meantime it is good to drink whiskey."
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  4. #34
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    Upon catabolism of wort components (sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and sulphur compounds) to essential growth metabolites, Saccharmoyces cerevisiae will produce and excrete a variety of secondary metabolites that are detectable organoleptically.

    These secondary metabolites (esters, fatty acids, alochols, vicinal diketones, organic acids, and sulphur compounds) are regulated by the expression and catalytic properties of enzymes organized into complexes. These enzymes themselves are regulated, at the most basic level, by gene expression.

    Whether or not the genes required to produce a secondary metabolite (be it the end product or an intermediate) are expressed is certainly influenced by other factors aside from yeast strain type, such as mash composition, fermentation temperature, and chemical communication of the yeast with other microorganisms in the fermentation (ie quorum sensing).

    However, there is no doubt that the strain type has a significant role in which genes are expressed (DNA -> RNA -> protein). In fact, one group of genes with the highest expression variability among S. cerevisiae strains are those whose transcription is relevant for fermentation progress. For example, ARO9 and ARO10 genes that code for proteins involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids and production of fusel oils via the Ehrlich pathway show very high expression variability among strains [Carreto et. al. Expression variability of co-regulated genes differentiates Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. BMC Genomics, 2011].

    Whether or not these secondary metabolites carry over through distillation/maturation and make an impact on the final product has never been, to my knowledge, scientifically documented. But, from experience, I believe that they do.

    Rob Arnold
    MSc Biochemistry

  5. #35
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    I think the Bruichladdich Über Provenance series - http://www.bruichladdich.com/whisky-...ber-provenance - is a very cool product line both in theory and practice. The Bere Barley 2006 is probably my favorite >10 years old single malt, and can "hang and bang*" with whiskies three times its age and twice its cost. Extremely good whisky.

    Sorry for the thread drift toward barley and scotch, back to yeast and bourbon!


    * İHulk Hogan, 1985

  6. #36
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    All the details matter, how often have we heard about a retiring Master Distiller instructing his successor not to change anything.

  7. #37
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rarnold View Post
    Upon catabolism of wort components (sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and sulphur compounds) to essential growth metabolites, Saccharmoyces cerevisiae will produce and excrete a variety of secondary metabolites that are detectable organoleptically.

    These secondary metabolites (esters, fatty acids, alochols, vicinal diketones, organic acids, and sulphur compounds) are regulated by the expression and catalytic properties of enzymes organized into complexes. These enzymes themselves are regulated, at the most basic level, by gene expression.

    Whether or not the genes required to produce a secondary metabolite (be it the end product or an intermediate) are expressed is certainly influenced by other factors aside from yeast strain type, such as mash composition, fermentation temperature, and chemical communication of the yeast with other microorganisms in the fermentation (ie quorum sensing).

    However, there is no doubt that the strain type has a significant role in which genes are expressed (DNA -> RNA -> protein). In fact, one group of genes with the highest expression variability among S. cerevisiae strains are those whose transcription is relevant for fermentation progress. For example, ARO9 and ARO10 genes that code for proteins involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids and production of fusel oils via the Ehrlich pathway show very high expression variability among strains [Carreto et. al. Expression variability of co-regulated genes differentiates Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. BMC Genomics, 2011].

    Whether or not these secondary metabolites carry over through distillation/maturation and make an impact on the final product has never been, to my knowledge, scientifically documented. But, from experience, I believe that they do.

    Rob Arnold
    MSc Biochemistry
    Welcome aboard Rob, and thanks for the on-point post. I invite you to fill out your profile, and/or make a post in the "New to SB.com" forum. Nice to have another chemist around.

  8. #38
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rarnold View Post
    Upon catabolism of wort components (sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and sulphur compounds) to essential growth metabolites, Saccharmoyces cerevisiae will produce and excrete a variety of secondary metabolites that are detectable organoleptically.

    These secondary metabolites (esters, fatty acids, alochols, vicinal diketones, organic acids, and sulphur compounds) are regulated by the expression and catalytic properties of enzymes organized into complexes. These enzymes themselves are regulated, at the most basic level, by gene expression.

    Whether or not the genes required to produce a secondary metabolite (be it the end product or an intermediate) are expressed is certainly influenced by other factors aside from yeast strain type, such as mash composition, fermentation temperature, and chemical communication of the yeast with other microorganisms in the fermentation (ie quorum sensing).

    However, there is no doubt that the strain type has a significant role in which genes are expressed (DNA -> RNA -> protein). In fact, one group of genes with the highest expression variability among S. cerevisiae strains are those whose transcription is relevant for fermentation progress. For example, ARO9 and ARO10 genes that code for proteins involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids and production of fusel oils via the Ehrlich pathway show very high expression variability among strains [Carreto et. al. Expression variability of co-regulated genes differentiates Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. BMC Genomics, 2011].

    Whether or not these secondary metabolites carry over through distillation/maturation and make an impact on the final product has never been, to my knowledge, scientifically documented. But, from experience, I believe that they do.

    Rob Arnold
    MSc Biochemistry
    You took the words right out of my mouth.
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  9. #39
    Bourbonian Of The Year 2013 and Guru
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rarnold View Post
    Upon catabolism of wort components (sugars, nitrogenous compounds, and sulphur compounds) to essential growth metabolites, Saccharmoyces cerevisiae will produce and excrete a variety of secondary metabolites that are detectable organoleptically.

    These secondary metabolites (esters, fatty acids, alochols, vicinal diketones, organic acids, and sulphur compounds) are regulated by the expression and catalytic properties of enzymes organized into complexes. These enzymes themselves are regulated, at the most basic level, by gene expression.

    Whether or not the genes required to produce a secondary metabolite (be it the end product or an intermediate) are expressed is certainly influenced by other factors aside from yeast strain type, such as mash composition, fermentation temperature, and chemical communication of the yeast with other microorganisms in the fermentation (ie quorum sensing).

    However, there is no doubt that the strain type has a significant role in which genes are expressed (DNA -> RNA -> protein). In fact, one group of genes with the highest expression variability among S. cerevisiae strains are those whose transcription is relevant for fermentation progress. For example, ARO9 and ARO10 genes that code for proteins involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids and production of fusel oils via the Ehrlich pathway show very high expression variability among strains [Carreto et. al. Expression variability of co-regulated genes differentiates Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. BMC Genomics, 2011].

    Whether or not these secondary metabolites carry over through distillation/maturation and make an impact on the final product has never been, to my knowledge, scientifically documented. But, from experience, I believe that they do.

    Rob Arnold
    MSc Biochemistry

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  10. #40
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    Re: Does yeast have an impact on flavor?

    Yeast matters, quality and character of original ingredients matters, fermentation temp matters, type of still matters. All those things added together probably account for 30 to 40% of the taste - the rest is the aging process including barrel, wood, location and ambient temp. will account for 60 to 70% of the flavors. That's what two noted master distillers have told us in recent weeks here at the local Whiskey Society events.

    BTW - in the conversation with Jim Rutledge that High Horse referenced earlier Mr. Rutledge said they don't make any cuts at all for heads and tails. So that would eliminate the heads and tails cuts variable someone mentioned. Also it seems every time I ask about the corn used I'm told #2 dent is the standard used by all the major distilleries. Rutledge stressed that there are differences in the quality in that grade. Balcones, High West and probably some other micros use blue corn to get a different product.

 

 

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