Beer study at UNF looking at early yeast strain, flavor impact
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A study at the University of North Florida hopes to solve problem causing a real hangover for some brewers.
It’s a study of the yeast strain brettanomyces, which is resurgent in beer, but proving to be a problem for winemakers.
"For centuries have utilized these yeast strains," UNF biology professor Dr. Michael Lentz said.
Lentz has spent about five years studying brettanomyces. He explained the strain's presence can go undetected: "We can’t taste it or smell it, but once the yeast gets ahold of it, it becomes a flavor component."
Adding to the depth in your glass, the yeast lends some flavors brewers crave.
"Spicy, clove-like and often some fruity components, tropical fruit," Lentz said.
The strain is not only found in Florida fields, but naturally around the globe -- impacting potential ingredients in brews. A resurgence of brettanomyces is finding a home here in the U.S.
"There’s just a growing trend in the American craft beer industry to use them in almost any style," Lentz said.
The lab has partnered in the past with north Florida breweries to see the yeast in action: looking at how the strain survives, how it evolves learning, and how other fermented drinks react.
"Strains of this yeast are sometimes desirable in some beer types but always seem to be a spoilage organism when they get into wine," Lentz said.