Subscriber Exclusive

Yeast: A Force Behind IPA 2.0

Today’s most creative craft brewers know how to select yeast strains that don’t just ferment maltose, but also dance alongside hops that are at once tropical, citrusy, earthy, piney, and floral.

Dave Carpenter Jun 2, 2017 - 9 min read

Yeast: A Force Behind IPA 2.0 Primary Image

Conan. Pacman. Chico. Denny’s Favorite. These are not, as the uninitiated might initially suspect, terms for the Mountain Time Zone’s most popular cannabis products. These are, in fact, names that have been lovingly bestowed upon distinct strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae: good ol’ ale yeast.

Just as poodles and Great Danes reflect the selective pressures that breeders have placed upon Canis lupus familiaris, individual yeast strains express the cumulative effects of centuries of environmental adaptation and random mutation. Beer nerds sometimes describe certain styles as “yeast-driven,” meaning that yeast expression is a critical aspect of the finished product. English bitters, Hefeweizen, and most Belgian-inspired styles find themselves huddling beneath this umbrella.

Brewers of such styles will get into heated debates about the relative merits of yeasts from Westmalle or Chimay, Dupont or Thiriez, Weihenstephan or Schneider. Brewers of American India pale ale, however, have long specified a crescendo of exceptionally precise hops additions, only to close with a predictable denouement: “Ferment with American ale yeast.”

Make & Drink Better Beer

Subscribe today to access all of the premium brewing content available (including this article). With thousands of reviews, our subscribers call it "the perfect beer magazine" and "worth every penny." Your subscription is protected by a 100% money back guarantee.