Brettanomyces, a Funky Yeast, Makes Flavorful Beers

Chad Yakobson, 28, founder of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, checking on the progress of his beer in his Denver warehouse.
Chad Yakobson, 28, founder of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, checking on the progress of his beer in his Denver warehouse. Picture from article lined to, and by Benjamin Rasmussen for The New York Times

Written by Daniel Fromson for The New York Times

A creature is lurking here in Chad Yakobson’s warehouse, inside the oak barrels where he ages most of his beers. Its name is Brettanomyces, and it’s a cousin of the domesticated yeasts that humans have brewed with for thousands of years. Often called wild yeast — a reference to its natural habitat (fruit skins) and to its volatile temperament — “Brett,” as it is widely known, can lead to unpredictable fermentations and gushing beer bottles, aromas politely described as funky, and fear. Most brewers work hard to keep it out of their tanks by sterilizing every piece of equipment.

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