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Howdy Y’all, with the shine still on 2016, we here at Sawdust City decided to bring y’all something else real new and shiny…well new…shiny, not so much.  A beer brewed with our very own native Wild Muskoka yeast strain!

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That’s right, last April with help from our good pals at Escarpment Yeast Labs and The Limberlost Forest, we headed out into the wilds of the Muskoka woodlands in search of something we could use at the brewery.  And lo and behold, but we managed to find a yeast strain that was viable for beer fermentation.

Deep in the Limberlost Forest amongst the foliage and wildlife, we struck out with the fine gents from Escarpment Yeast Labs to see what we could discover. They swabbed, plated and harvested many a sample that day my friends, it was truly mystifying to watch! 

After a long day

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of searching and sciencing it up we celebrated by sampling and sabering many a beer on the shores of our very own private Limberlost Forest lake…science can be rough my friends, it’s not for everyone.

Once the gathering and celebrating were through, they returned to their labs and the real work began. Extensive screening, testing and pilot batches were performed in order to reduce the number of samples down to a manageable amount. Eventually they were able to isolate a native Muskoka yeast strain that was not only alcohol tolerant, but also produced a tasty beer that wasn’t loaded with unwanted off flavours.

Science was happening and we were getting very excited. But then we hit a road block.  The yeast wasn’t attenuating fully and we were left with a beer that was a little too sweet for what we like here at Sawdust City. Sure it fermented clean and produced a beer with a unique flavour profile, but it just wouldn’t dry out enough.  So it was back to the lab!

Once again, the boys from Escarpment played around with some different blending options to help the yeast drop the final few points.  They brewed a few more pilot batches using the Muskoka yeast, blended with known, readily available yeast strains to see what provided the best attenuation and flavour profile.

In the end we decided to use Brett Brux as our blending strain. Not only did it help dry the beer out, but it also provided a nice fruitiness to the flavour profile.  So the final product is our native Muskoka yeast strain blended with a touch of Brett Brux.

So that brings us to now.  After growing the yeast up to a pitchable quantity in the Escarpment labs, we are gonna be brewing our first beer at Sawdust City with the native Muskoka yeast found in the beautiful Limberlost Forest this Saturday.  Joined by the Escarpment Yeast Lab folks, our friends from the Limberlost Forest and a few lucky members of The Brew Box crew, we’ll be brewing our inaugural batch of Limberlost Saison this weekend.  With a simple malt bill, a highly fermentable mash program and a balancing hop profile with local hops from Clear Valley Hops in Collingwood, we are hoping for a beer that will showcase the yeast profile and let it shine through. A nice, crisp dry beer with a yeast forward flavour is our aim.

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So a big thanks to the Escarpment Yeast Labs and Limberlost Forest for all their help in this project.  This has been quite the experience.  And to all our friends out there, stay tuned and we’ll let you know shortly how the beer turns out.

Cheers,
Sam Corbeil
BREWMASTER