Microbiology in the service of microbreweries

Microbiology in the service of microbreweries

The establishment is located in Bas-Saint-Laurent, more precisely in La Pocatière.

And the Ras L’Bock microbrewery is one-third of the 315 microbreweries in Quebec. It uses yeast produced locally by Labo – Solutions Brassicoles.

Yeast ultimately produces beer. »

A quote Alexandre Caron, co-owner of Ras L’Bock brewery

A dozen microbreweries in eastern Quebec use liquid fermentations from the lab — the solutions are Brassicolls.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Luc Blanchet

All Ras L’Bock beers contain a yeast that is brewed at La Pocatièresays Alexandre Caron, co-owner of Ras L’Bock brewery.

There aren’t tons of ingredients that go into making beer, there are four: water, yeast, hops, and malt. We, at Ras L’Bock, strive more and more to get our products as close as possible.He points out.

Alexandre Caron, Co-Owner of Ras El'Bagh Brewery.

Alexandre Caron, Co-Owner of Ras El’Bagh Brewery

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Luc Blanchet

Yeast production stands halfway between the food processing and pharmaceutical industries.

Yeast is a single-celled fungus that multiplies by budding. They are found everywhere in natureLaboratory Manager Explains – Solutions Brassicoles, Miriam Lautry.

Yeasts are invisible to the naked eye (new window). By living, reproducing, and dying, these microscopic fungi help create things like bread, beer, and wine. Yeasts, which have a life cycle of consuming sugars and excreting carbon dioxide, have been exploited by humans for thousands of years.

This ingredient used by microbreweries requires a very high level of purity. So the Pocatois laboratory had to equip itself with unparalleled quality control methods.

Some yeast strains from the laboratory - solutions Brassicols come from Quebec, for example maple sap.

Some yeast strains from the laboratory – solutions Brassicols are made from Quebec maple sap.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jennifer Boudreau

The company stores about 60 different types of yeast in a freezer that is capable of extreme temperatures of -80 degrees Celsius.

These strains come from all over the world, but also from Quebec. Some strains are extracted from maple sap.

This is enough to produce 250,000 liters of beer. »

A quote Louis-Philippe Simard, Operations Director, Le Labo – Brewing Solutions
Image of yeast strains under the microscope.

Laboratory managers must ensure the purity of liquid fermentations using high-tech equipment.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Luc Blanchet

We take a small amount of yeast and place it in a very, very, very, very cold freezer. We take this yeast and then we give it a little culture medium, a liquid that looks like beerLouis-Philippe Simard, the lab’s director of operations, explains.

We let her grow there and give her lots of oxygen. This oxygen and these nutrients allow it to break down. So, we start with a few hundred yeasts, and it’s not long before we have millions of yeasts. We let it grow until there are trillions of yeast, which makes a kind of white creamHe explains.

Various preparations of the laboratory - solutions Brassicols.

Laboratory – Solutions Brassicolls provides distilleries with clean live products so they can carry out alcoholic fermentation.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Luc Blanchet

The liquid fermentations are then sold to microbreweries in Quebec so that they can carry out alcoholic fermentation.

Breweries choose yeasts based on the different types of beer they want to make.

If they want to make an IPA or a more American beer, they’ll pick a more neutral strain that will resist alcohol better.Louis-Philippe Simard explains.

Ras L'Bock microbrewery factory located in La Pocatière.

Ras L’Bock microbrewery factory located in La Pocatière.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Luc Blanchet

At Ras L’Bock, we have a wide variety of products. We have German yeasts, IPAs and traditional styles. They have [Le Labo – Solutions Brassicoles] So many choices, so many types of yeast. They keep adding to the listAlexandre Caron of Ras El’Bag Microbrewery is delighted.

For the rest of us, what we love about microbrewing is the choice of as many ingredients as possible so we can experiment as much as possible. »

A quote Alexandre Caron, co-owner of Ras L’Bock microbrewery
Liquid fermentation in creation.

Le Labo – Solutions Brassicoles is struggling to meet the growing demand of microbreweries.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Luc Blanchet

For Alexandre Caron, this partnership allows us to deliver quality products while reducing production time.

Quebec has several microbreweries that purchase their yeast from the United States. For example, Colorado and the West Coast. It took La Pocatière three or four days to get herehe said.

The higher you are, the longer it will take and timing is critical for yeast as it spoils quickly. »

A quote Alexandre Caron, co-owner of Ras L’Bock brewery

The liquid fermentations produced at Le Labo – Solutions Brassicoles are so popular that the Pocat-based company is struggling to meet demand from a growing number of microbreweries.

The lab is also working on an expansion project worth more than a million dollars to increase its yeast production fivefold. The company hopes to export its yeasts elsewhere in Canada.

Its new equipment should be operational by the end of 2022.

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

"Alcohol evangelist. Devoted twitter guru. Lifelong coffee expert. Music nerd."

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