Michael Balla (1), Joseph Buono (1), Cody Gifford (1), Kari Murad (1); (1) The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY, U.S.A.

Yeast, Fermentation, and Microbiology

Growth of new microbreweries in the United States has rapidly increased over the last decade. According to the latest statistics from the Brewers Association, 2013-2014 experienced a 27.8% increase in new U.S. microbreweries. In our state, New York, there has been a 141% increase in breweries from 2011-2014. This growth in number has caused increased competition and a desire to differentiate product within the crowded market. The vast number of different recipes and varying styles produced has driven the craft brew excitement and market accessibility. While many new recipes focus on variations of grains, malt extracts and hops, our lab concentrated on the yeast and, specifically, wild yeasts. Previous studies in our laboratory have focused on the isolation, identification and characterization of local wild yeast strains from a nearby orchard for possible use in food production. This study continued and expanded upon that work to determine if the wild yeast strains were capable of producing quality craft beer. Side-by-side sensory taste analysis and alcohol yields were performed using both commercial and wild yeast strains and four different brewing recipes. Successful taste and alcohol yield with locally obtained wild yeast may represent a desired end product that consumers can enjoy and that producers can market uniquely.

Michael Balla received his B.S. degree in cell and molecular biology at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, in May 2016. He performed undergraduate fermentation research for a year and a half under the guidance of Dr. Kari Murad and in conjunction with a local brewery and distillery. He received a Sigma Xi award for outstanding student research in March 2016. Upon graduation, he is hoping to begin working in the field of brewery science.