The importance of yeast
If you want to produce brandy, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey, there are various steps to the manufacturing process. Mashing is where the starches, present in grains, are converted into fermentable sugars. During the second step, fermentation, we have yeast cells consume these sugars and produce both alcohol and flavor molecules. When fermentation is done, we can distill the resulting wine or beer into a stronger spirit.
Yeast cells are the living organisms that, during fermentation, create alcohol and flavor. And since they are living organisms, well, the environment in which they perform their magic needs to be such that they can perform optimally. What “optimal performance” means? That’s easy: the development of the right flavors, while maximizing alcohol yield, in the shortest time frame possible. So … how do we create that environment?
Yeast happy environment
Without diving in too deep, yeast, depending on the specific variety, needs a warmer or colder, and a more acid or more alkaline environment to perform optimally, and create the right flavors and a good amount of alcohol.
Yeast also needs nutrients. In the first phase of the fermentation, when there is still oxygen present, yeast cells grow and multiply. They need energy, vitamins, and minerals for proper propagation. During the second phase of the fermentation, when oxygen is depleted, the yeast cells also need energy, vitamins, and minerals in order to keep up the good work of turning sugars into alcohol and organics into flavor molecules. What nutrients they need? Good question!
Together with students and professors of the renowned Leyden University, our laboratory manager Willem Brakenhoff has performed extensive research on yeast nutrition. The goal was not just to create the best formula for the yeast to be “happy” and productive, efficient and effective, but to do it in such a way that esterification (the formation of flavor molecules) is not in any way negatively affected.
Over a period of over half a year, Willem and his team, working both in the iStill Laboratory and at Leyden’s facilities has achieved these goals. It results in a nutrient formula that will improve any fermentation. Faster fermentation, higher yield, identical or even improved esterification.
Towards better fermentations worldwide
In order to help craft distillers create better tasting spirits, and increase their yield, while minimizing fermentation times, we have decided to make the yeast nutrition information available. We want to give you the tools to bring the battle to Big Alcohol. And professional yeast treatment and management are essential for success.
What that means? It means you can now order the formula via our new eLearning Webpage, that is part of the iStill University Educational Programs. To help cover (at least partially) the costs of our research, we ask a mere EUR 25,-. You can order and pay online, and what you will get is a simple formula of the chemicals, vitamins, and minerals for you to order and mix to (further) improve your fermentation results. You will get an email with a PDF. The formula, an example for a 1,000 liter fermentation, and the procedure of how and when to add the nutrient are all in the PDF.
Here is the link to the formula: http://www.iStill.com/elearning
And here is a picture of our laboratory manager Willem (without lab coat) …