How long has it been? My god it was in the last century that I had a long conversation with Matthias Neidhart of B. United International, who told me about the first time experiencing 5 year old Aventinus, while visiting the Schneider& Sohn brewery in Germany. He explained to me that the magnificent dunkel weizenbock developed a port-like character after a half a decade of aging. Then he spoke of the Schneider & Sohn house yeast of which he said they are so proud of.
And rightfully so. As Professor Beer has pointed out: “the secret to Hefeweizen’s banana-like character is the yeast.”
Esterification is extremely important in German beers using only the four classic ingredients (water, barley malts, hops and yeast) and it reveals the reinheitsgebot genius of brewing where the yeast produces flavor profiles that are unique, ranging from floral to tropical, to chocolate and caramel, with many subtle variations in between.
For centuries yeast was a very mysterious agent in beer production. The English brewers referred to a strain of yeast that produced ale as God is good. Before science isolated yeast strains that not only would make ale but also bottom fermented lager, every time. In that sense, Louis Pasteur can be regarded as the father of modern brewing, along with Emil Hansen, who identified the cultured yeasts capable of producing beer. Pasteur concurred, while visiting the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1884. This is where pure yeast was created, using single cell cloning. A technical discovery that without would make modern beer production impossible.
Not so surprisingly I was reminded of all this while sampling my local Christian Moerlein Bay of Bengal Double IPA A cleverly packaged presentation that does not infringe upon any NFL trademark but does connect with local football fans, similar to the way Great Lakes Brewing Company came out with Cleveland Brown Ale when their beloved franchise returned. But what is truly remarkable about this Bengal beer is the flavor profile created, especially in the very long finish, which I can only describe as brown mustard like. So much so that I can imagine using this for a brat beer bath. Another testament to the power of Ester. Cheers!