from the President
By Chris White
I’d like to tell you about the new bacteria program
at White Labs and the possibilities it creates for you as brewers. But
first, a little background. As brewers you know all too well that
bacterial contamination can create unpleasant sour tastes and can ruin
your beers. However, some styles of Belgian beers are highly prized for
their sour or lactic acid flavors. Many of these styles are fermented in
open vessels with wild yeast strains and bacteria.
While we can't help you create that ancient,
cobwebbed, and wholly wonderful environment of a small Belgian brewery,
we can help you make beers with similar flavors using our bacteria/other
This has not been a part of our operation in the past
because we have strived to keep bacteria and wild yeasts as far from the
lab as possible. But our interest in the bacteria/other yeast program
grew as more and more brewers requested them, in part because of the
rising interest in Belgian styles. We built a lab to grow these
bacteria/other yeast strains and redoubled our efforts to acquire these
We began obtaining these strains at the start of 2004
from yeastbanks in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the United
States. Our main focus is unique Brettanomyces strains, because these
allow brewers to make interesting Belgian-style beers. Brewers have been
making these styles with our other yeast strains such as Trappist Ale
(WLP500), Belgian Wit (WLP400) and Belgian Abbey (WLP530).
The Brettanomyces strains allow brewers to make these
beers even better by giving them greater complexity. Many times brewers
who request bacteria/other yeast strains have experience using them. If
not, our staff will be happy to assist and answer questions. Call
1-888-5-Yeast-5 for more information about the bacterial program.
We have a similar bacteria/other yeast program in
place for wineries, and it has been well-received by that particular
community. In fact we had so many requests for wine bacteria that we had
to delay the start of the beer bacteria/other yeast program until now.
In our next issue of CBQ, we expect to have an article from an
award-winning brewer who has experimented extensively with the kinds of
strains we have discussed in this column. (Find the article here).
I think you will learn a lot of practical advice in that story, so stay
tuned for the next issue.
Chris White is President of White Labs Inc. and is
a chemistry and biochemistry lecturer at the University of California,
San Diego. He has a Ph.D in biochemistry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org