Wild Strains – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Brewing Ingredients Glossary

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What are wild strains?

Wild strains refer to yeast and bacteria that are naturally occurring in the environment and have not been specifically cultivated or isolated for brewing purposes. These strains are often found in the air, on fruit skins, and in other natural sources. Wild strains are known for their unpredictable behavior and unique flavor profiles, making them a popular choice for brewers looking to create complex and interesting beers.

How are wild strains used in brewing?

Wild strains are typically used in brewing to create sour or funky beers, such as lambics, gueuze, and wild ales. These strains are often added to the wort during the fermentation process, where they interact with the sugars and other compounds in the beer to produce unique flavors and aromas. Wild strains can also be used for bottle conditioning, where they continue to ferment the beer in the bottle, creating carbonation and additional complexity.

What are the benefits of using wild strains in brewing?

Using wild strains in brewing can add complexity and depth to the flavor profile of the beer. These strains often produce funky, sour, or fruity flavors that are not typically found in beers brewed with traditional yeast strains. Additionally, wild strains can help to create a more diverse and interesting beer lineup, appealing to a wider range of beer drinkers.

What are some common wild strains used in brewing?

Some common wild strains used in brewing include Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. Brettanomyces is a wild yeast that produces funky and barnyard-like flavors, while Lactobacillus and Pediococcus are bacteria that produce sour and acidic flavors. These strains are often used in combination to create complex and nuanced beers.

How do wild strains contribute to the unique flavors in beer?

Wild strains contribute to the unique flavors in beer by producing a variety of compounds during fermentation. These compounds can include esters, phenols, and acids that create flavors ranging from fruity and floral to funky and sour. The interaction between the wild strains and the other ingredients in the beer, such as hops and malt, can also influence the final flavor profile.

How can brewers control the fermentation process when using wild strains?

Controlling the fermentation process when using wild strains can be challenging due to their unpredictable nature. However, brewers can take steps to help guide the fermentation in the desired direction. This can include using a mixed culture of wild strains, monitoring the temperature and pH of the fermentation, and aging the beer in barrels or other vessels to allow the flavors to develop over time. Additionally, brewers can use blending techniques to mix different batches of beer brewed with wild strains to achieve a consistent and balanced flavor profile.