This year has seen its fair share of wild yeast strains. Here’s a quick list if you misssed them:
- Cultures ensconced in amber 45 million years ago
- Chair yeast from the guy who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Pre-industrial revolution brewing yeast found in a shipwreck
- Australian belly-button yeast
We aren’t even going to re-link to the one about the model’s vagina, but yeah, that happened too. Anyway, while these can be promotional stunts, there is something cool (dare I say spiritual?) about using the art form that is brewing a beer and crafting something totally unique, with the final outcome directly influenced by a certain person/time/place.
But here’s a question: Is there any other way to do this that doesn’t involve ingredients?
Derek Garman, head brewer at Fortnight Brewing in Cary, N.C., believes there is. We found this on Vice‘s Food vertical Munchies, and encourage you to read the full feature there, but the gist is Garman tried using the sonic vibrations from one of his favorite albums — Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang — to influence the taste of his latest Wu Tang-inspired beer Bring Da Ruckus. The thinking here is the constant sound would stress out the yeast and alter the flavor.
He and other brewers encircled the brewery’s fermentation tank with two 30-inch speakers and blasted Wu-Tang at maximum volume for nearly two weeks while their beer was churning away. The novel experiment forced Garman to wear earplugs for days on end, left him with several headaches, and transformed some of his employees into figurative zombies.
CBB is always talking about the link between beer and music, so we love the experiment. So… did it work?
To prove the difference between the two ales wasn’t just hocus pocus, Fortnight sought out a laboratory and a German beer scientist.
“The lab showed that there was a distinct chemical difference between the two, even though it’s got the same ingredients,” he said. “The only difference was the sound.”
But there is more to the story — that includes a recent history of using sounds during alcohol production, as well as the side of the skeptics who don’t believe in those test results. Definitely read the full thing on Vice.
Also, I’m officially starting a campaign for someone out there to set up their speakers and brew CBB up a big batch of Mosaic Master of Puppets IPA.