Of the key ingredients in beer, yeast has the greatest influence on flavor. While hop-forward beers (like IPAs) or malt-forward beers (like stouts and brown beers) have a strong, ingredients-dominant profile, more than half of a beer’s aroma and flavor can be attributed to yeast. This is particularly true for clean, crisp lagers or fruity ales or spicy weisen, which is why we take special care to preserve our brands’ historical yeast strains.
Depending on environmental factors, barley malt and hops will vary a bit from year to year, making the work of a Brewmaster that much more challenging. But yeast is the one element that always stays consistent and true to the original yeast strain with which our beer brands were first brewed. Much of our company’s success is due to our ability to brew beers that consistently reflect the same taste characteristics – and this is due in large part to yeast.
Because the preservation of these historical strains is so important, we carefully store more than 1,500 historical yeast strains. These strains are preserved in cryogenic tanks at -196°Celsius in our Leuven and St. Louis Yeast Centers. This even includes a yeast strain for Budweiser that dates back to 1876. We also take yeast strains from the century-old wooden barrels of our Belgian Sour beer program.
Today, we only use a small part of our historical collection in our portfolio – which leaves a lot of room for us to innovate and play with new ideas.