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Unleash the yeast | Imbibe

Shining a light on the backbone of beer

Written by – Adrian Tierney-Jones

Adrian Tierney-Jones writes for Imbibe magazine on how yeast is fundamental to beer, but it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves

Let’s be clear: no yeast, no beer. Yeast is the driving force behind fermentation, a ravenous beast that devours the sugars loosened from malt to create alcohol and CO2.

Top- or warm-fermenting yeast strains work with ale; bottom- or cold- with lager and let us not forget the wild strain of Brettanomyces, much beloved by Belgian Lambic brewers.


‘Beer is a sum of its parts,’ says Derek Bates, head brewer at Norfolk’s much acclaimed Duration Brewing. ‘Without the water, malt and hops it wouldn’t be “beer” as we know it − that being said, yeast is the key to unlocking all those things and making them what they are.

Blend water, malt and hops together but leave out the yeast? All you have is a sweet, slightly bitter tea. Yeast is that prism into another world, a little bit of magic behind all the science.’

beers made with our house belgian blend of yeast

‘Getting to know a yeast really well means you can coax a whole range of flavours from it that you can’t get from the malt and hops,’ says Adnams’ head brewer Fergus Fitzgerald. ‘However, it is complicated and susceptible to minor changes, so demands work and understanding. Yeast is the fairy dust that’s sprinkled on wort to create beer, except it’s better than fairy dust.’

Read the full article here.