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FasterHorses

Yeast

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FasterHorses

Was going to include in the Willett thread but it semes like it could be addressed in its own thread. Is there a chart or information that displays where the larger distilleries first obtained there yeast strains and how as time progressed, some have intermingled? For example, Ive read that VW helped HH and MM with yeast strains at some point. 

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flahute

I've never seen a chart. Some distilleries keep the source close to the vest. You have to piece it together with a combination of reading books and magazine articles and distillery visits.

It would be interesting to see it all in one place for sure.

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Old Hippie

Back during the early days of bourbon the Master Distiller was also the yeast propagator. He would set several solutions out, let the yeast invade them and pick the one he liked. As time went on, when they found a particular strain they liked they kept it alive so that they could use it each time for consistency.  Today most distillers ensure they have the same strain by keeping it frozen in several locations. Some even map the DNA and have it checked on a regular basis. 

If your favorite brand changed their yeast strain you very well might notice the difference. 

In Scotland, most distillers buy their yeast from a commercial producer.

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BourbonGuy

I have to ask a stupid question.  I did a distillery visit.  There was the yeast in a big 50-ish pound bag laying out in the open.  Also, they have open fermenters, which they even allow you to stick your finger in to taster the fermenting grains.  If I had a sabouraud dextrose slant, it wouldn't be hard to grow a sample?  Is it really that big a secret?  With all the comradery between distillers, I heard they even share strains of yeast in time of need.    Of course it be more difficult if they have multiple strains.

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Old Hippie
51 minutes ago, BourbonGuy said:

I have to ask a stupid question.  I did a distillery visit.  There was the yeast in a big 50-ish pound bag laying out in the open.  Also, they have open fermenters, which they even allow you to stick your finger in to taster the fermenting grains.  If I had a sabouraud dextrose slant, it wouldn't be hard to grow a sample?  Is it really that big a secret?  With all the comradery between distillers, I heard they even share strains of yeast in time of need.    Of course it be more difficult if they have multiple strains.

Can't answer for the bag of yeast - probably commercial. Yes Open top fermenters can invite cross contamination but probably not enough to make a big difference

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flahute
1 hour ago, Old Hippie said:

Can't answer for the bag of yeast - probably commercial. Yes Open top fermenters can invite cross contamination but probably not enough to make a big difference

Bag yeast is commercial. They sit right out in the open at Buffalo Trace.

The supposed benefit of the sour mash method using backset is tp prevent cross contamination by giving your yeast a kick start.

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