It is frequently said: “brewers make wort, but yeast makes beer.” Yeast, in my opinion, is the most important ingredient of a beer; it’s not only the source of glorious alcohol, but the main contributor to off-flavors. Even if you create the most exquisite batch of wort the world has ever seen, if the yeast is treated poorly no one will be coming back for a second pint. The sooner you realize that brewers are just glorified yeast wranglers, the sooner the quality of your beer will improve.
A common anxiety that many new (and even long-time) homebrewers have is “is my yeast looking/acting/smelling like it should!?” I know my heart always skips a beat every time I use a new strain and it looks or behaves differently from previous batches, “this time for sure I’ve screwed it up and I’m on the express train to Infection City!” To combat this anxiety I’ve had this idea percolating in my head for a while: why not document the yeast I use as I put it through its paces as a visual and empirical guide to all the different aspects of our good buddies S. cerevisiae and friends.
To this end, I present to you The Yeast Bank, a visual guide to the yeast strains I use in my batches. The goal is to capture a “soup to nuts” representation of the yeast: vial/packet, starter, lag phase, fermentation, and flocculation. My hope is that others will discover these posts and see that maybe their experience isn’t so bonkers as they think.
In the mean time, if you’ve stumbled upon this post and have some yeast photos/videos you’d like to share, I’d be happy to include them (and give you attribution). Just fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.