At Fermentis we recently launched a brand-new yeast-based product: SafBrew™ BR-8. Find out everything you need to know about this innovative fermentation solution, by reading our question & answers with the product R&D Manager, Philippe Janssens.
Why did Fermentis decide to add this yeast product to the range?
Brett (Brettanomyces) yeast has always held a rather special place in the beverage fermentation landscape. In wine making, it’s a dreaded contaminant which can wreak havoc in the winery. In beer making, the picture is very different.
There is plenty of romance around Brett yeast – its wildness, its unpredictability, the funky notes it gives to beer, the way it evolves in time. Historically it is used with no control, in spontaneous fermentations, especially in beer styles such as Geuze. Harnessing such a yeast, making it controllable and to a certain extent predictable, has been an ambitious goal for Fermentis for a while now. And our team of beer experts, which includes many Belgians, made this goal even more personal. The scientific name of the strain is of course Brettanomyces bruxellensis.
As brewers become more and more creative, looking for unusual styles and stand-out flavors, we knew that if we could succeed in producing the very first dried Brett yeast, we’d be providing something new and special to the brewers of the world.
And that’s what we’ve achieved with SafBrew™ BR-8.
How was it developed?
Developing SafBrew™ BR-8 was probably the biggest R&D challenge in the history of Fermentis. The unparalleled extent of effort and research that went into this innovative product makes it all the more special for us.
The whole product development phase spans across a period of close to 10 years, from isolating the initial yeast strain to successfully producing and drying it.
Over these years, we faced many big challenges, which required specific machinery in new production plants to successfully filter this microorganism, which is considerably smaller in size than our usual yeasts.
It also proved to be quite sensitive to temperature dynamics. Meaning it required extensive testing to reach the best balance between the percentage of dry living matter and viability of the yeast cells.
Of course, after the initial pilot productions, we held trials and tests to make sure this dried Brett was as reliable as our current range, that shelf life was not an issue, that flavors produced were the ones expected and typical of this wild yeast strain.
And only after these many years of R&D which included its fair share of triumphs and setbacks, could we officially and confidently launch SafBrew™ BR-8.
What is is for?
SafBrew™ BR-8 is primarily recommended for bottle conditioning & production of specific phenols in bottle refermentation: 4-Ethylguaiacol & 4-Ethylphenol (funky notes such as horse, farm, animal, leather…).
Our Brett yeast assimilates glucose, maltose and maltotriose. It doesn’t assimilate the more complex sugars like dextrins, which makes it more predictable than the completely “wild” Brett yeasts. This means we have successfully harnessed the beast, making it more reliable, repeatable and less prone to oversaturation or gushing.
Since the yeast will consume a lot of the residual sugar, it produces a distinctive Brett signature, for a highly refreshing beer and high drinkability.
The Brett microorganism ferments slowly, and requires a long maturation time, ranging from one month to 6 or more. The Brett signature will evolve over time, eventually reaching its highest potential after approximately 3 months, but it can change over time and that’s one of the things that makes it so interesting for the end consumer.
What are the key advantages of this product?
SafBrew™ BR-8 gives your beer the very distinctive and funky Brett print, but with all the practicality of dried yeast. It’s user-friendly, reliable and results will be consistent.
The sugar consumption is limited, so it reduces risks of oversaturation or gushing.
It’s a versatile refermentation strain. Experiment and you will get different results.
Is SafBrew™ BR-8 in any way comparable to SafAle™ F-2?
The quick answer is no. SafAle™ F-2 is also a yeast strain designed for bottle refermentation, but it’s much more of a purely “technical” yeast strain, made to produce CO₂ in the most neutral of fashions, without changing the flavor profile of the beer.
SafBrew™ BR-8 is another kettle of fish – or of horses in fact!
It will adjust the organoleptic profile of your beer over time, making it potentially more drinkable and adding this amazing wildness that only Brettanomyces yeast can offer.