Author Topic: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!  (Read 562 times)

Offline Richard

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The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« on: October 22, 2019, 09:48:28 PM »
"An international team of scientists has discovered that some of the most renowned classic Belgian beers, including Gueuze and Trappist ales, are fermented with a rare and unusual form of hybrid yeasts. These yeasts combine DNA of the traditional ale yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with that of more stress-resistant feral yeasts such as Saccharomyces kudriavzevii."

Read the whole article at:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191021183303.htm
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Offline Megary

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2019, 10:02:13 PM »
Very interesting.  Thanks for that.

So classic Belgian beers are mutts!

Offline Robert

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2019, 10:18:58 PM »
Two or three new papers out this week!

Brewing yeasts now found to fall into at least six hybridization groups:  cerevisiae  x eubayanus, cerevisiae  x eubayanus x uvarum, cerevisiae  x Kudriavzevii, eubayanus x uvarum (no cerevisiae at all,) cerevisiae  x Kudriavzevii x eubayanus x uvarum, and plain cerevisiae.   Examples of every "type" we could think of -- ale, lager, Belgian, etc. -- are distributed across all the groups.  There are a couple of popular Belgians in the cerevisiae x Kudriavzevii group, but again, all types all over, so at this point it hardly seems possible to suggest a connection between the genetic heritage of any yeast and its current phenotypic manifestation.  Moreover, yeasts in each group have lost or gained genes which allow them to exhibit these phenotypes by different means at different times.  All beers are mutts.  Or might be, you just can't tell by looking, and it might not matter as long as they bark, sit and stay the way you like.  At least that's what I've taken away thus far.


FUN FACT:  first time I have ever typed the word, but my phone already knew Kudriavzevii and finished it for me when I got to "kud."  It is way too smart for me.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 10:44:18 PM by Robert »
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2019, 10:30:00 PM »
Big Brother knows what you’ll type before you do.


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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2019, 10:41:43 PM »
I've spent more time looking at the lagers and British Ale yeasts, as I don't brew many Belgian these days. Some but not all of the Trappist yeasts are the hybrids, based on my memory of the WLP 5xx strains. Didn't look for Saison yeasts.

This is a different study from Galone (SP?),  which had coded the yeasts they tested. This has the yeasts that we buy clearly identified. Page through, there are some surprises.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Traces/study/?page=3&acc=SRP219635&o=organism_s%3An
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Offline Northern_Brewer

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2019, 10:58:45 PM »
Gallone - they hid all their strains behind codes in their 2016 paper, but have unblinded the White Lab lager yeasts in this week's paper. (which are all Frohbergs incidentally, apart from WLP800 and probably WLP838 which are cerevisiae "ale" yeasts).

We've been following this stuff for a while over on HBT : https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/interesting-genome-sequencing-of-some-yeasts.670056/

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2019, 11:25:15 PM »
"An international team of scientists has discovered that some of the most renowned classic Belgian beers, including Gueuze and Trappist ales, are fermented with a rare and unusual form of hybrid yeasts. These yeasts combine DNA of the traditional ale yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with that of more stress-resistant feral yeasts such as Saccharomyces kudriavzevii."

Read the whole article at:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191021183303.htm

Saccharomyces kudriavzevii = Danstar-Lallemand Abbaye, Mangrove Jack M31 Tripel?, WLP500 Trappist Ale, Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale

And those are *probably* all nearly identical strains, or very closely related.

Gallone - they hid all their strains behind codes in their 2016 paper, but have unblinded the White Lab lager yeasts in this week's paper. (which are all Frohbergs incidentally, apart from WLP800 and probably WLP838 which are cerevisiae "ale" yeasts).

We've been following this stuff for a while over on HBT : https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/interesting-genome-sequencing-of-some-yeasts.670056/

Yup.  The other interesting thing I see is that the supposed Wyeast "equivalents" to WLP800 and WLP838, which were thought to be 2001 and 2308, respectively, were found to be pastorianus, and thus NOT EQUIVALENT to White Labs strains as was long believed based on Kristen England's ancient equivalency chart on MrMalty.com.  KE's sources, I dunno, but genetically these didn't hold up as these are different species between companies.

Cheers all.

« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 11:42:20 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2019, 04:10:02 PM »
Suregork has updated his tree with the new sequences




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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2019, 04:54:08 PM »
Gallone - they hid all their strains behind codes in their 2016 paper, but have unblinded the White Lab lager yeasts in this week's paper. (which are all Frohbergs incidentally, apart from WLP800 and probably WLP838 which are cerevisiae "ale" yeasts).

We've been following this stuff for a while over on HBT : https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/interesting-genome-sequencing-of-some-yeasts.670056/

I look there from time to time. I see some of the same people on that thread.

YCKC was mentioned over there. I've been told that when it shut down, the library of yeast went to White Labs.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2019, 02:25:05 PM »
One question that another guy in my club asked, what does a loner line mean on the tree? Some pairs have the same length. Others might have on with a long line.

Both are engineers, so help would be appreciated.
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Offline Northern_Brewer

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2019, 03:10:27 PM »
Think of it as a graphical representation of the amount of difference between the last common ancestor and the current yeast.

So for instance, if you were drawing the ape family tree, humans would have a fairly long line between us and our last common ancestor with chimps, whereas chimps would have a shorter line as they are closer to our monkey ancestors.

There's several reasons why two siblings would have different amounts of change from the common ancestor, including :

More mutations per generation - the stress of eg high-ABV fermentation will increase mutation rates.
Selection - if one sibling ended up in Norway, it would have to adapt to life dried out on a kveik ring, or die
More generations - a yeast in a brewery that brews every week will have many more generations than a wine yeast that binges on grape juice once a year.

Incidentally, I've extracted the tree of the lager yeast cerevisiae genomes and posted a cleaner version on the HBT thread.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: The secret of classic Belgian beers? Medieval super yeasts!
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2019, 03:35:58 PM »
Think of it as a graphical representation of the amount of difference between the last common ancestor and the current yeast.

So for instance, if you were drawing the ape family tree, humans would have a fairly long line between us and our last common ancestor with chimps, whereas chimps would have a shorter line as they are closer to our monkey ancestors.

There's several reasons why two siblings would have different amounts of change from the common ancestor, including :

More mutations per generation - the stress of eg high-ABV fermentation will increase mutation rates.
Selection - if one sibling ended up in Norway, it would have to adapt to life dried out on a kveik ring, or die
More generations - a yeast in a brewery that brews every week will have many more generations than a wine yeast that binges on grape juice once a year.

Incidentally, I've extracted the tree of the lager yeast cerevisiae genomes and posted a cleaner version on the HBT thread.

Thanks for that clear explanation.


I saw your post with the lager strains' tree.

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