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02/28/07 11:54 AM  
Wyeast Lacto Strain
I mentioned in another thread that I was surprised by some recent experiences with a wild strain. That strain is the Wyeast "Lactobacillus Delbrueckii" that many have used, and which I think many suspect was/is a component of the Roselare blend.

Messing around with it recently (trying to sour unpitched wort) it looked like it was producing quite a bit of CO2. But lactobacillus delbrueckii is homofermentive, and hence does not produce significant CO2. Surprising. And also annoying, since I had spent some time looking up information on l. delbrueckii and it appeared this strain might not be what it was labelled.

I emailed Wyeast about this and they were actually pretty responsive. After some discussion back and forth, I got an email today with the following information (and permission to share it publicly):

"You are correct, the strain you have received is a heterofermentative strain of lactobacillus and is not L. delbrueckii. We have recently replaced the L.del. culture with another strain of lactobacillus. Most likely it Lactobacillus brevis. It is a strain of Lactobacillus isolated from a Berliner weisse. Considering the source, we think it is brevis. We are

in the process of analyzing to make a definitive species determination. The packaging/marketing/technical info has been in the process of switching to this new strain. You will probably see this in the next package you purchase."

Also, "We sell this strain for the purpose of souring wort/beer. We try to provide the best strain we can find for doing this. This is why it was recently switched."

So, I give them credit for making this information available, but on the other hand it's their responsibility not to sell the strain as something it's not.

More broadly, how do we know the lacto, brett, etc strains we buy (from White Labs or Wyeast) are what they are labelled? It's a complex issue--sending strains out to get typed is expensive and might even make it unprofitable for them to even supply these strains. But at the very least, the strains should carry accurate labels, such as "souring lactobacillus" or some such.

Perhaps we should be emailing these companies and asking how they know their strains are what they are labelled. In the meantime, I think it's wise to assume (at most) that only the "lacto", "pedio", or "brett" portion of the strain name is correct.


03/06/07 11:29 AM  
Re: Wyeast Lacto Strain
My original post was cross-posted to the HBD (as "Matt"--there are not as many other Matts on that board). Anyway since then I've recieved some more information from Wyeast.

Steve, I imagine two consecutive cross-posts is not something you'd generally like to see on your board. I've done it here just because it seems to me that the information below is all of interest... please let me know if I've overstepped. I've deleted some stuff that was in response to an interesting post by Raj Apte in HBD #5152.


If the company does not know which lactobacillus they have, then the strain should be sold simply as "lactobacillus." More specific names aid consumers only if they understand the basis for the name--only then can they judge what information from other sources (textbooks, Raj's web page, Sparrow's "Wild Brews", websites about yogurt, half-lies from Belgian brewmasters) is useful.

This is why I was pleased to read the following in an email response to my HBD post, from Wyeast:

" Our Lactobacillus culture is now labelled "Lactobacillus" and our Pediococcus cerevisiae (aka Pedio. damnosus) is now labeled "Pediococcus". "

After this name change, it is much easier to decide what information might be helpful when one invests months in making a beer with these 2 strains. Previous experience of other brewers with the product would be useful. Looking up hop resistance and temperature ranges for "l. delbrueckii" might be counterproductive, and now the consumer knows it.

I'm still trying to understand the basis for how the ~8 other commonly available non-saccharomyces strains are named, and will pass along whatever I find.


03/07/07 07:00 AM  
Re: Wyeast Lacto Strain
Matt, you post terrific stuff, no problems.
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