Nyt Nordisk Øl (New Nordic Beer) Vandregær
As a brewing nerd and beer lover, nothing excites me more than yeast and experimentation. So, a project like Ny Nordisk Øl (New Nordic Beer for the Scandinavian-ly impaired) which has a focus on isolating a truly nordic yeast strain for the fermentation of beer, is right up my alley. Their latest project is called "Vandregær" (Wandering Yeast). They will be taking a specially isolated and grown pitch of yeast and wander around to different craft breweries in Denmark. Each brewery will make a beer and then harvest the yeast from that beer to be sent on to the next brewery. There are some basic rules the breweries have to follow in regards to the beer, but they have free hand to try different styles to see what this yeast can actually do. These beers will be evaluated at some later date and the findings published. Vandregær seems like an exciting and tangible step forward in the search for a nordic yeast.
Where does the "Vandregær" yeast come from?
Certain regions of Denmark are remarkable for their terroir, or special characteristics given to food raised or grown there dependent on geographical location. One of these places is the Island of Lilleø, famous for its microclimate that produces a unique terroir in fruits such as its apples. Apples naturally have wild yeast growing on the skin. This has been used for centuries by cider makers to produce spontaneously fermented ciders and apple wines.
The "vandregær" yeast will consist of three strains isolated from the skins of these Lilleø apples. Two strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewer's yeast) and one strain of Torulaspora delbrueckii (usually used in wine fermentation). Blended together equally these three strains will make up the Vandregær. In experiments it has behaved similar to other common brewers yeasts with an attenuation of 70-80% at standard ale temperatures. The beers brewed by the professional breweries will have gravity and temperature ranges to stick to as guidelines for evaluation at the end. Although that will give good data on how the yeast performs within those parameters, wouldn't it be cool to try some other tricks?
Enter the Homebrewers
Ny Nordisk Øl has opened the Vandregær project up to the homebrewing community as well. Breweries that participate in the project will be giving out homebrew sized pitches on harvesting day. One of those homebrewers will be yours truly. As far as I understand it there will be few to no restrictions for what homebrewers do with this yeast. Which has my mind spinning of course with possibilities.
Maybe a Nordic farmhouse ale? Wandering IPA? Hops, grains, adjuncts, styles, temperatures, so many possibilities!!! I have an idea of what I will make, but I am also open to suggestions. Feel free to leave a comment here or on facebook with what you think I should brew.
This will become a regular feature here now on the blog up until the beer is completed. I am hoping to make it a Wednesday regular for the next few months, starting next Wednesday when I go to pick up the yeast. Expect a recipe and brewday soon after acquisition of my flask of wandering apple bugs.
Below is a list of breweries participating in vandregær and when they will be harvesting their yeast. If you are a homebrewer interested in brewing with the vandregær yeast I urge you to reach out to your closest one and ask for details on when you can wrangle up some microorganisms.
Brewday: 15th Feb.
Yeast Harvest: 25th February
Brewday: 2nd March
Yeast Harvest: 12th March
Brewday: 16th March
Yeast Harvest: 26th March
Brewday: 30th March
Yeast Harvest: 9th April
Brewday: 13th April
Yeast Harvest: 23rd April