Imagine a process where kettle-soured beer could be brewed predictably and consistently in just 16 hours – preserving the bright, refreshing flavors of modern sour beers. Chr. Hansen brings 145 years of fermentation experience to the sour beer space with its introduction of Harvest LB-1, the company’s addition to the SmartBev range. Harvest LB-1 is a freeze-dried, direct-inoculation culture of Lactobacillus plantarum sourced from Spanish grape must, designed to optimize production while offering producers great results in every brew.
Sour beer can trace its origins back to the brewing of traditional lambic, kriek and berliner weiss-style beers in Belgium and Germany. Modern sours, however, offer a fresh take on this longstanding beverage, offering a lighter taste, fruity notes from the addition of ingredients like raspberry, yuzu, elderflower, or combination infusions. These characteristics make sour beers appealing options for more casual occasions, for consumers who may not enjoy the taste of conventional beers (preferring the crisp, fruity taste of wine or cocktails), and for those who want to moderate their alcohol consumption by seeking out a beverage with a lower alcohol content.
Recent years have seen significant growth in the sour beer category, with sales up by 40% in 2019 and 43% the year before. Producers interested in scaling their production of these beers—or even in expanding their consumer base by tapping into this market for the first time—are increasingly seeking to improve the consistency and quality of outcomes while preserving the unique and characteristic flavors that set sour beer apart.
Harvest LB-1 lends new consistency to the sour beer making
Traditional kettle-souring is a production method that can be hard to control, leading to inconsistent results, greater risk of wasted batches, and difficulties with scalability. With direct and co-inoculation of Harvest LB-1, kettle-soured beer brewing becomes more straightforward and predictable, enabling producers to avoid the off-flavors that may arise in uncontrolled, slower fermentations. In just 16 hours, producers can yield reliably clean and refreshing flavors from a culture that ensures transparency of strain origin, a histamine-free brew, and a two-year shelf life between purchase and use for better planning and optimized flexibility.
When kettle-souring with Harvest LB-1, the fermentation process starts almost immediately due to the high cell count and purity of the culture. Chr. Hansen has developed Harvest LB-1 to produce clean and crisp flavors and aromas. The carefully selected Lactobacillus strain delivers fast and safe acidification.
Already, the results of Harvest LB-1 speak for themselves. Customers report that incorporating Chr. Hansen’s premium sour beer culture into their recipes makes production easier and ensures the consistency across brews that they need to scale production.
“Our favorite attribute is that [Harvest LB-1 works very quickly] and gives us a consistent, clean flavor profile,” says Ryan Jackle, Head Brewer at US-based Wise Man Brewing in North Carolina, all while being “very easy to use.”
Will Brown, Brewing Leader of Colonial Brewing Company in Melbourne, Australia, also reports that after facing production speed challenges and consistency issues for kettle sours, implementing Harvest LB-1 [and BACTIV-AID™] gave him “full confidence in these products to [help us] reach our specifications in a short timeframe while remaining cost-effective.”
“While we have built our reputation by perfecting fermentation processes primarily in the dairy industry, we are delighted to be moving into categories that could also benefit from our expertise,” says Nathalia Edwards, Chr. Hansen’s Commercial Development Manager in Fermented Beverages.
“The sour beer space is growing, and it is a great opportunity for breweries to reach new consumers who don’t consider themselves beer-drinkers. Consumers become more interested in beverages that offer refreshing, tart, and complex flavors,” Edwards continues. “Ideal for warmer weather and lighthearted occasions, these beverages are influenced by classic European beers but offer a fresh experience, as well as the low sugar and alcohol content that our increasingly health-conscious consumer base is after.”
To learn more about Harvest LB-1, visit www.GusmerBeer.com. Gusmer Enterprises is the exclusive North American distributor for Chr. Hansen.