After brewing my first batch of beer, I was hooked. So much so, that the day after I brewed my first batch I went back to the local home brew shop and bought another extract kit. The day after that, I brewed again.
The brew day went smoothly, all things considered. And believe me, I considered all things. After pitching the yeast and bringing the fermenter downstairs into the basement closet to put next to my first batch, I had an idea. Since I had a couple weeks to wait before bottling, I thought I’d spend some time learning about this amazing organism that gives us beer. Little did I know what the next two weeks would bring.
The first place I looked to find information about Yeast was Spotify. This was my go-to app for podcasts, and I thought searching here might lead me to some interesting shows about home brewing. The first podcast I came across was Homebrew Bound. This is a podcast co-hosted by Casey – an experienced homebrewer (and podcaster) and Brian – co-owner of Hop and Barrel Brewing in Hudson, WI. It’s geared towards new and experienced homebrewers, covering topics ranging from equipment to best practices to the deep-dives into more specific areas of the brewing process. I happened to stumble upon an episode in their Yeast series, and quickly found that I was in way over my head. I immediately stopped listening, and came to the conclusion that I needed to start small and work my way up.
Next I decided that YouTube might be a good option to find some basic information regarding Yeast and the role it plays in brewing beer. This seemed to give me the primer that I was looking for. Learning about how Yeast interacts with sugars converted during the mashing process, and how the fermentation byproducts of Co2 and alcohol are created – and what affects this process can have on your beer – was extremely fascinating to me. I followed a recipe to make Wort, and took every cautionary step to make sure the process was clean and exact, only to leave the fate of the final product in the hands of a living organism. To say that this was intriguing to me is quite an understatement.
After a few days of YouTube research and blog/forum posts, I felt as though I was ready to jump back into the Yeast series of podcasts on Homebrew Bound, and a few other shows I discovered which had episodes pertaining to Yeast. What I didn’t realize was that in the days following, I would be ordering test tubes and agar and petri dishes on amazon to start building up my Yeast Lab.
I’ve since picked up a copy of the Brewing Elements Series book on Yeast, and have found that I have a new passion for microbiology and organic chemistry that I had no idea existed before. I’m excited to learn as much as I can about this incredible organism, and how to harvest, bank and store yeast for my future batches of home-brewed beer. Make sure to follow my journey as I learn as much as I can and share what I find regarding Yeast!