The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae– the main character in beer brewing

Authors


  • Editor: Graham Fleet

Correspondence: Elizabeth J. Lodolo, SAB Ltd Brewing Centre of Excellence, PO Box 123902, Alrode 1451, South Africa. Tel.: +27 82 921 7720; fax: +27 86 681 4102; e-mail: bettie.lodolo@za.sabmiller.com

Abstract

Historically, mankind and yeast developed a relationship that led to the discovery of fermented beverages. Numerous inventions have led to improved technologies and capabilities to optimize fermentation technology on an industrial scale. The role of brewing yeast in the beer-making process is reviewed and its importance as the main character is highlighted. On considering the various outcomes of functions in a brewery, it has been found that these functions are focused on supporting the supply of yeast requirements for fermentation and ultimately to maintain the integrity of the product. The functions/processes include: nutrient supply to the yeast (raw material supply for brewhouse wort production); utilities (supply of water, heat and cooling); quality assurance practices (hygiene practices, microbiological integrity measures and other specifications); plant automation (vessels, pipes, pumps, valves, sensors, stirrers and centrifuges); filtration and packaging (product preservation until consumption); distribution (consumer supply); and marketing (consumer awareness). Considering this value chain of beer production and the ‘bottle neck’ during production, the spotlight falls on fermentation, the age-old process where yeast transforms wort into beer.

Ancillary