Scientists Make the First New Lager Yeasts in Centuries

Lager lovers can now officially raise a toast because Gibson and his colleagues recently logged the success of re-creating the ancient fling between S. cerevisiae and S. eubayanus. “You can now produce lager yeasts that are very different from one another,” Gibson says. All the resulting hybrids outperformed their parents, producing alcohol faster and at higher concentrations and turning out tastier products, as documented in a paper published in the Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology. In particular, they made 4-vinylguaiacol, which resulted in flavors more characteristic of Belgian wheat beers. “The beers have a clovey aroma,” Gibson says. “It’s actually quite nice but maybe something we don’t always want. The idea is to have a whole range of strains, and you just pick and choose.” The hunt has now turned to finding new yeast unions that gobble up sugar more effectively, potentially creating lower-calorie beers.

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