Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Dork confessional moment: This is cool, both as a concept and that somebody turned it in to a quest:
A Cal Poly professor’s mission to turn a 45-million-year-old yeast into an ingredient for a beer has proven successful — and now he hopes to grow his operation locally.
Raul Cano, a Cal Poly biology professor, discovered the yeast in amber that came from Myanmar, which was previously known as Burma, while conducting research in the 1990s.
Apparently these little yeasties are different from their modern kin:
Despite initial skepticism from some about the taste the beer would produce, Cano says the flavor turned out surprisingly good and unique.
Critics have described the taste as one with lots of spice, resembling cloves, along with tinges of ginger and pineapple.
One thing that makes the yeast different is its genetic makeup — which allows the beer to finish with a desirable clear color instead of a cloudy resolution because of how the prehistoric yeast strain ferments sugars, Cano said.
My question: Were these "critics" on loan from the wine division? "Resembling cloves, along with tinges of ginger and pineapple"? Seriously?
I can believe those are beer critics. These days, they're all into nuance like the wine critics. They're on about 'nose', 'lace', clarity, 'mouth feel', subtle flavors in the taste und zo weiter.
A friend of mine got into home brewing (he makes great beer) and started showing all those symptoms. Me, I just know whether it tastes good or not.
And so man continues to domesticate the world's creatures. :)
Re: allergies, you usually don't get a sensitivity right away to something you've never had. It would take either a huge OD of Jurassic yeastie beasties, or several years drinking yeastie beasties.
That said, I suspect people with yeast allergies would want to sip prudently. They might get relief from their allergies, or they might not.