Belgian beers owe their success to medieval hybrid ‘super yeasts’

Just like the phenomena that is seen in plants, when certain yeasts are put together, they have the ability to create a product that is highly stress-resilient. Belgian beers often have two parent yeasts that can come together to make a subtype of yeast that is much stronger and produces a whole different taste. This is considered a medieval practice, and it is used by companies such as Gueuze and Trappist in creating their signature Belgian beers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hybrid beers are stronger since the two different forms of yeast produce a stronger result than traditional varieties.
  • The process of these two yeasts combining and forming a stronger product is known as hybridisation.
  • The important characteristics that are present in the parent yeasts end up creating a more stress-resilient yeast.

“Professor Steven Maere, a bioinformatics expert at the VIB-UGent Centre for Plant System Biology, provided the necessary plant expertise to the team in Leuven. In turn, together with colleagues from Munich, they identified the yeasts in the production of, for example, wine, beer and bread.”

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