UQ wild yeast used for Queensland brew

Thursday, 07 May, 2020

UQ wild yeast used for Queensland brew

Researchers from the University of Queensland have brewed beer using wild fermented yeast, hand-picked from a jacaranda tree on campus. Researchers have licensed the wild yeast variety to Newstead Brewing Co with the help of UniQuest, the university’s commercialisation company. The favoured yeast was selected for its white peach, lychee and fresh-baked sourdough flavours and was one of more than 150 varieties gathered from trees, leaves and flowers at UQ’s St Lucia campus.

“Yeast is everywhere, and the diversity is mind-blowing. This particular variety of wild yeast was sourced from a big jacaranda tree near to the Brisbane River and The Women’s College at UQ,” said Edward Kerr, PhD candidate from UQ’s Faculty of Science.

Kerr began collecting wild yeasts in May 2017, before culturing them in the lab and selecting the best-performing colonies to be tested for the ability to convert sugar into ethanol, an essential step in the brewing process. The yeasts were first isolated as a yeast peptide dextrose formula and then colonised on plates in the lab.

“We then tested which strains fermented the best and the result left us with about 20 candidates that could proceed to sensory testing and potentially be used to make beer,” Kerr said.

Newstead Brewing Co is still perfecting the domestic ale, and plans to make it available for drinking as soon as possible.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Nitr

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