Our top post last week kind of surprised me. It was about one of the oldest Lithuanian farmhouse ale yeast strains now being available exclusively via Omega Yeast for brewers in the United States. Well, Omega Yeast doesn’t just trade in old, legendary yeasts. They are also yeast innovators. Take its super new hybrid yeast, Gulo Ale, the result of mating two strains in the Omega catalog, the Irish Ale (OYL-005) and the French Saison (OYL-026). It is a true genetic hybrid rather than a blend of the two strains.
“We’re thrilled with how this new hybrid turned out,” said Lance Shaner, Omega Yeast co-owner and founder. “The genetic makeup of this strain allows it to consume a high percentage of sugars, creating a very dry beer, without giving off any peppery, clove phenolics that are typically associated with saisons and Belgian ales.”
How Gulo improves a Brut IPA
The Brut IPA, a dry, effervescent and pale beer, has recently become a favorite style within the company. Typically to make a Brut IPA, brewers need to add glucoamylase enzymes to break down the dextrins left behind by ale yeast into fermentable sugars.
The Omega Yeast R&D team was curious if they could brew this style without the enzyme. This led them to crossing the French Saison strain, known for high attenuation, with the non-phenolic Irish Ale strain, producing the new strain now named Gulo Ale, which can create a clean-flavored fruity ale that yields roughly 90 percent apparent attenuation without the use of additional glucoamylase enzyme. To obtain a 100 percent dry beer, the addition of glucoamylase would still be needed, however.
In addition to Brut IPAs, Omega Yeast’s Gulo Ale strain can also be used for other IPA styles, a stout, Biere de Garde and any other style where a very dry beer without phenolics is desired.
Hybrid yeast use
Omega Yeast produces fresh, high-quality, custom pitches of liquid yeast for professional brewers and homebrewers. They are dedicated to delivering the freshest yeast with made-to-order pitches delivered on the date needed. Their propagation methods generate strong cells with consistent fermentation and optimized cell counts. As much as they invest in their yeast, they are just as proud of the service to customers and are dedicated to making it easy for brewers to focus on brewing.
The hybrids in the Omega Yeast strain catalog were invented by the company after years of research and development efforts. These are yeasts that have never before existed, and although patenting brewing yeast strains is a somewhat novel concept in the industry, Omega Yeast made the decision to file a patent application for protection of their investment of time, money and creativity in the unique Gulo Ale strain.
The brewing community has conventions of propagating yeast in-house, repitching and sharing cultures with other brewers, and while investment protection of Gulo is important to the company, they’ve stated they have no intention of stopping breweries or individuals that have purchased a culture from using it like they would any other non-patented strain.
“So, carry on brewing, and we will carry on creating quality Omega Yeast strains,” Shaner said.