Omega's Gene-Edited Super-Fruity New Yeasts - Blog Article

Discussion in 'Brewer's Friend Announcements' started by Brewer's Friend Blog, May 14, 2021.

  1. Brewer's Friend Blog

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  2. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Interesting article. Didn't notice on your first post, found my way via various searches.

    I'd have to say the argument that these yeast aren't GMO because they only take away something is at least coy, if not disingenuous. You can screw things up badly through turning off expression of something as by turning it on. Though I'm sure the chances of screwing up anything 'badly' in turning off expression in brewing yeast is pretty remote, it's just that the argument can't be applied to all editing of genes. I suppose it's trying to say the the real risk is in adding new functionality, but again that's a case by case basis and we really do need a more mature response to risk/reward when it comes to GMOs.

    I'd have no problem using either yeast personally because of the CRISPR angle, it's the flavour profiles turning me off. Though I can see that a lot of people would be excited. Hope it goes well for them.
     
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  3. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    I will admit - I saw this when it was first posted and ignored it! SORRY. It was totally a case of Bias on my part - sadly so. I figured it was a way for folks to amp up their Hazy/Fruity IPAs and I'm not a fan of those. That - and - my bias on gene-editing. However, I am really glad I managed to shame myself into reading it! The article was well written! I loved how it was broken down and how it managed to be very to-the-point - meaning the author didn't try and drag it out, get too into the weeds of the science etc. Also, I LOVE how Omega used BF to share a couple recipes! The stout sounds like something right up my Alley! I like how Keith gave several alternatives for ingredients and process! I will need to add the stout recipe to my long list of MUST BREWS.

    Maybe I'll even give the Banaza a shot in a hefeweizen - I haven't done one in ages due to my lack of patience/luck/finesse with that particular yeast strain.

    So glad I took a minute to push aside bias - something I always tell others they should try when reading the news (beyond the headline!).

    To the Author: Excellent job with the article!
     
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  4. Brewer's Friend Blog

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    I agree that the yeasts are obviously GMO, but I think they are not what we (as consumers) typically think of as GMO in the food chain sense. In the case of scientists building a better tomato, for example, they've added content, not edited what was already in the tomato. I'm sure Laura would agree with all of that. I took what she said to mean that even if you have concerns about GMO generally, this product wouldn't raise the same concerns.

    One of the downsides of writing an article is that I've necessarily edited and reduced what they all said and I don't want to leave the impression with you that they were weaseling about the GMO - if that came through, that is the writer's fault (me). I think they were trying to be nuanced and I wanted to give a sense of that without turning the article into being all about the public conversation about GMOs.
     
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  5. Brewer's Friend Blog

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    Thanks so much, I really appreciate it! It was fun to talk with Laura, Keith and Bianca and I learned a lot.

    I never brew German wheat beers because of the clove (not my favorite), but I'm thinking of doing a stout with Bananza - a banana stout, leaning on the chocolate more than the roast maybe - sounds interesting.
     
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  6. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    I could jump on trying that! Let me know how it goes if you do it!
     
  7. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Didn't mean for it to come off as criticism of your article and I was a little churlish about how they characterised the editing. My apologies.

    I think I was just poking the bear on GMOs and the unthinking response many people have to the issue. Which can make practitioners more inclined to be secretive or overly careful about how they express what they're doing. Sorry going around in circles a bit and probably not helping. I'm just keen for people to be a bit more knowledgeable about the risks and the rewards of these techniques, rather than treating them all as the same issue. Which I suppose is in line with Laura's characterisation.

    Again, good to see the original post and article.
     
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  8. Mont Y. Märzen

    Mont Y. Märzen New Member

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    #8 Mont Y. Märzen, Jul 8, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
    My brew buddies and I have done quite a few Hefe brews over the last few years and we think we have the following nailed down:

    1) if you want traditional balance between clove and banana (á la Weihenstephaner) you need to mash in about 100℉, do a Ferulic Acid rest at 113℉ or so, then bump to your favorite regular mash rests (one or more, say 142℉ and 156℉). We just did this with a double decoction and the results were stunning. (we also trialed some bottle-conditioned with Speise and they turned out fantastic.) Use a long boil, at least 90 minutes, but 100 would be better. (to give enough time to convert Ferulic Acid to 4-vinylguaiacol)

    2) If you want to mute the clove, or like we did once, eliminate it and make a banana bomb, then you absolutely *must skip* the Ferulic Acid rest. Under-pitch, or just don't make a starter, and don't bother with oxygenation beyond whatever splashing occurs to knock the wort from kettle to fermenter. This will cause some slight stress on the yeast, and encourage ester production of Isoamyl Acetate, aka – banana. Then during fermentation, set the temp to the top of your strain's range, but, and this is critical, be certain to use a fermenter of a size, such that the width of the wort surface is greater than the depth of the wort. (and open ferment till Krausen drops - no blow off, no air lock either, till then) The key reason for these dimensions and the open fermentation is to reduce osmotic pressure on the yeast, which will enhance the esters (banana) and reduce phenols (clove). You can leave a lid or foil loosely on till the Krausen kicks off, but after that, you can safely remove it till it drops. Bugs don't like the CO2 during that active time.

    The fermenter dimensions are important no matter which route you take unless you want a clove bomb, or you like to struggle with nailing a flavor profile. (note, we used a BSG 7.5gal bucket for a 5.5gal to fermenter sized batch, and it was perfect for this) We found no need to ferment low to enhance clove as the Ferulic Acid rest and long boil did the job. We just needed to make sure the yeast wouldn't suppress the banana esters it wanted to make.

    I'll also add that I've been convinced by the results that at least one if not two decoctions really do raise these beers to the next level. You don't have to do them, but you won't regret the effort by the result. We did side-by-side brews of decoctions and single infusions for Hefe and Dunkelweisse and it was no contest in a blind taste test. Decocted wheat beers also have much longer flavor and aroma stability in the keg and the bottle.

    So far, we've only used the most popular WLP and Wyeast Hefe strains to nearly equal effect. We've also put the above (strains included) into practice for a Dunkelweisse, as well as a desert version of the same we dubbed Banana Split. (including Chocolate malt as you mentioned) We've just tried Bananza (and Sundew, separately) in a NEIPA, but plan to drop some of each (separately) in a future Dunkelweisse or our latest Banana Split batch to see what it can do. While we noticed moderate banana aroma and flavor in the NEIPA, we find that you need a minimum 50% wheat to really get prominent banana expression.
     
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  9. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Excellent info! Thank you.

    At the moment, I am not looking to really change the clove/banana ratio but to enhance the foamy head. I carbonate to 4.0 but even then the foam is not comparable to, for example, a bottle of Weihenstefaner. Any ideas? My recipe is public as "Don's Hefeweitzen".
     
  10. Mont Y. Märzen

    Mont Y. Märzen New Member

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    You're welcome. Tough to say exactly, but 4.0 sounds really high. How are you carbing?

    We just did a batch about 2 months ago with 5gal to keg using a QuickCarb to 3.0, then we bottled 5gal using Speise but were short, so probably ended up around 2.8-2.9vols. But both were very foamy and persistent with excellent lacing.

    Certainly, the decoctions help considerably to build head and retention. We settled on 55% Wheat as well. (Red Wheat too, as White doesn't have as much protein) We don't use Melanoidin malt, but that can help if you aren't decocting, though I'd up it considerably to maybe ½ to a whole pound.

    Also, your Calcium looks a bit at the minimum. If I'm not mistaken, it helps with head formation and retention. We used the Balanced profile and hit 80ppm of Calcium.
     
  11. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Ok thanks. 4.0 vols is "effervescent", or 'very fizzy' in layman's terms. I definitely do a step mash, and use about a half pound of melanoidin, since decoctions seem like a lot of effort. Maybe I should try it once before deciding it's too much effort?

    Ok, so next batch will try red wheat and increasing the Calcium, both easy enough to do.

    I spent a lot of time in Germany over the years, and sorely miss the excellent fluids they have. My Hefe is not at all bad, but in comparison to bottled Weihenstefaner ( for example) it's just not the same. Always striving for perfection, always happy to drink the 'rejects'...

    Again, thanks for the comments!
     
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  12. Mont Y. Märzen

    Mont Y. Märzen New Member

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    I'm convinced decoctions are worth every minute and sore muscle from stirring. I was skeptical at first. I'm sold now.

    We used "German Wheat Beer (Classic Beer Style Series Book 7)" by Eric Warner to refine our process and recipe. (among other sources)

    Best of luck!
     
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  13. Brewer's Friend Blog

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    Have you tried bottle conditioning? Might be an interesting experiment.
     
  14. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    No, and unlikely to. Washing kegs is onerous enough, bottles would be a real drag. But, as you say, a bottle or two as an exbeeriment might be worth trying, specifically to see what it does to the head. Thanks for the idea.
     
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  15. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Active Member

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    I guess I'm still stuck in 1st gear about all the GMO hype. I mean, just think, without a little creative genetic manipulation, we'd still have ears of corn that were about 3 inches long with 4 kernels of corn on them. Cattle would still be about the size of pigs, and pigs would still grow enormous tusks. Dairy cattle would produce about 1/10th the milk they do. The extinction of some species is very much attributable to their inability to genetically adapt to their environment.

    I guess my point is, isn't selective breeding and cross pollination genetic modification? If you improve a strain/species of vegetable by cross pollenating, is it the same vegetable anymore? Wouldn't it be nice to know exactly what changed in the plant's DNA because of the pollination with a different species? And if you know it, and can reproduce it in a laboratory a lot faster than our little bee friends can, why wouldn't you? Same goes for species variants in livestock, dogs, cats, etc. Without genetic modifications, humans would still be dragging our knuckles and hunting with clubs, not really caring if the wooly mammoth was non-GMO. Now, whether that modification comes from a test tube or natural selection, then ok, maybe I see the moral dilemma if it's playing with human genes, but only if that goes against your religious beliefs or canons. I can completely understand the risks of building the 'master race". But, if gene alteration became the way to guaranty no cancer ever again .....

    This kinda reminds me of the environmental activists that go jetting all over the planet in their private jets to tell everyone else how much they're messing up the planet with emissions. Stay home, and send me an e-mail. Oh, wait a minute, that requires electricity.

    But if I want fruity tasting beer, and a minor gene alteration in the yeast produces that, bring it on. Stop worrying about the GMO side of it. Totally ruins the whole concept of making beer to relax if it's going to stress me about whether or not my ingredients are GMO. Of course they are, otherwise you wouldn't have all the wonderful selections to choose from. Does it really matter if man had a hand in the modification?
     
  16. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    Usually genetic modification refers to physically altering an organisms genome and chromosomes, usually removing a gene or allele and splicing in a different one with a desired trait. Like making fish glow in the dark. Cross pollinating and hybridization refers to artificial selection, which you're right, played a crucial role in the domestication of our modern livestock and crop species.
     
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  17. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Active Member

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    Whether "naturally" or "physically" altering the organisms' genomes and chromosomes, am I not right that cross pollination and cross breeding have the same general goals and accomplish the same thing as genetic science does in the laboratory? I'll admit freely that there are probably secret labs doing stuff they really shouldn't be doing with a science that has just as much potential to create monsters as it does world peace. The biggest problem is that natural selection may not produce the desired results if the preferred trait is a weaker trait that can be overshadowed by the less desirable trait, and it may take many generations to gain sufficient reliability in the target.

    The operative word is 'desirable'. Mold resistant strains of grains have been developed over many centuries of controlling the genetics of the grain. Domestic/farm animals have been bred for specific characteristics since humans first learned that just because something doesn't look the same as it's parents, doesn't mean that's a bad thing. I don't care whether you do it with a chromosome cleaver, putting the right critters in the same pen or cage, or the controlling the availability of dust on a bee's legs, it's now genetically modified. It was all in the interest of a better species of organism, or maybe, a complete accident. The technical intent of the word has little to do with the real truth.

    I kinda like the big ol' fat carrots better than the little stringy roots they once were. Where would we brewers be if there was only one kind of hops, one kind of yeast, and one kind of malt? We'd be very bored, and this forum probably wouldn't exist, either.
     
  18. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    I think the issue in most people's minds is 'natural' vs 'man-made'. Cross pollination is believed to have far fewer dangers than gene manipulation. I am no expert, so I really cannot say.
     
  19. Brewer's Friend Blog

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    In the article, Laura makes the distinction between introducing genes from other species to an organism and merely turning off or removing a gene already in an organism. She surely doesn't say either is an issue, but does draw a distinction between them.
     
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  20. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Active Member

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    Let's just say I'm a pine tree farmer. I like the qualities of two species of pines that I have, but would like to combine some of them. So, one year, I go out and put paper bags over all the blossoms on the trees with the exception of just a few so that I know exactly which cones have the seeds I want to check. Ok, 5 years passes, and the experiment went bad, and I didn't get the growth rate I was looking for or reduced needle length, etc. etc. So, that year, I do the same to the other species, so that a few cones on that tree have pollen only from the other species. Wow, I've got a great new tree.

    Is that process not man-made? It's what paper mills do in their experimental forests. First time I ever saw pine trees with paper bags over the ends of the new growth, you can bet I was quite curious what was going on.
     

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