The Inner Science Geek

Over this past weekend I got in touch with my inner science geek. Allow me to explain a bit further, the relationship of ingredients that make beer all go hand in hand and even the German law of Reinheitsgebot, also known as the purity law, understood this relationship. This law stated that only water, barley and hops where allowed for beer production. “It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Louis Pasteur discovered the role of microorganisms in the process of fermentation; therefore, yeast was not known to be an ingredient of beer. Brewers generally took some sediment from the previous fermentation and added it to the next, the sediment generally containing the necessary organisms to perform fermentation. If none were available, they would set up a number of vats, relying on natural yeast to inoculate the brew.” Well just exactly how does Pasteur relate to my scientific mind? That’s easy. I’m venturing into the realm of farming my yeasty little friends. There are numerous reasons as a brewer that you’d want to help yeast grow — by increasing the cell count the lag time for primary attenuation to ‘take-off’ will reduce. There are other reasons as well, but I won’t bore you with all the details. So here’s what I’ve done this past weekend. Other than not wearing a white lab coat, I built a stir plate and purchased a 2L Erlenmeyer flask. The stir plate will help to increase the yeast’s cell count. For $20 and a trip to Radio Shack, I purchased a potentiometer and a power switch, cut up an old cell power cord and wired a computer fan with a rare earth magnet, so I can now spin yeast in my flask. Pretty nerdy, I will admit, but very cool. I’ve never played with electronics like that before and then to be able to aid in the cultivation of yeast…yeah I’m stoked.
Eventually, I hope to start saving slants and test tubes of various strains in a freezer, so I can inoculate them when I need them depending on the style of brew I’m making. I’m like a proud papa of yeast cells. Hence, the inner science geek is shouting, look what I did!

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Posted on March 31, 2009, in anecdote. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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