New flavors for lager beer—successful generation of hybrid yeasts

March 5, 2015, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Image: John White

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd has been the first to publish a scientific study on the successful generation of hybrid lager yeasts. For centuries the same few yeast strains have been used in the production of lager beer, in contrast to ale, whisky, wine and cider, for which there is a wide range of yeast strains available to produce different nuances of flavour. VTT has been developing hybrid lager yeasts so as to impart new flavour to the beer and accelerate the production process.

Traditionally, even very different tasting lagers have been produced using the reliable and cold-hardy Saccharomyces pastorianus . Studies have shown that this trustworthy brewmaster's helper is actually a hybrid composed of two different yeast species. One of them is the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast commonly used in the production of ale, while the other, only recently discovered in the wild, has been named Saccharomyces eubayanus.

These findings have opened up possibilities for researchers to create new, customised lager yeasts through selective mating of strains of different yeast species. This enables the production of new flavours for beer or the acceleration of the fermentation phase in beer production, for example.

VTT has screened its own microbial strain collection and the ale yeast strains of commercial collections in order to identify the properties that affect the beer fermentation process. We succeeded in finding suitable yeast strains and mating them with Saccharomyces eubayanus yeast.

The hybrid yeasts generated by VTT's researchers have inherited useful properties from their "parents". The new yeasts accelerate the wort and improve the production of ethanol. They are also more tolerant to cold than their Saccharomyces cerevisiae parent strain, and settle better after fermentation than their predecessors.

The study was published in the online version of the Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology publication series on 15 February 2015.

The study shows that VTT's method is suitable for the generation of new lager yeast strains and the creation of new properties affecting the flavour of beer, as well as improving the production process. New lager yeast strains can now be generated entirely without genetic modification technology.

Explore further: Lager yeast ancestors were full of eastern promise

More information: Krogerus, K., Magalhães, F., Vidgren, V. & Gibson, B. (2015) New lager yeast strains generated by interspecific hybridization. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. link.springer.com/article/10.1 … 07/s10295-015-1597-6

Related Stories

Lager yeast ancestors were full of eastern promise

February 26, 2015

There are few drinks as iconic as a 'pint of the black stuff'. It might, therefore, surprise beer connoisseurs to learn that the DNA of the all-important brewing yeast – the building blocks of the perfect Stout – is the ...

Wine yeasts reveal prehistoric microbial world

May 11, 2011

However, one of the most well-known characteristics of yeast is the ability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, baker's yeast, to ferment sugar to 2-carbon components, in particular ethanol, without completely oxidising it to carbon ...

VTT examined the first bottle of 170-year-old beer

June 27, 2011

Finnish research center VTT has examined one of five bottles of beer salvaged last summer by divers from the wreck of a ship that sank an estimated 170 years ago in the Aland Islands.

New yeast species marks milestone

February 3, 2015

The National Collection of Yeast Cultures at the Institute of Food Research has added the 4,000th yeast strain to its publicly-available collection.

Recommended for you

Bacterial armor could be a new target for antibiotics

July 18, 2018

For over a century, scientists have studied E. coli, one of the bacteria that cause food poisoning, as a model for fighting infections. Such research has led to a variety of antibiotics that penetrate the protective cell ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.