Unleash the Yeast, by BrewDog

Last year, to divert from the annual IPA is Dead theme (which is four beers with the same recipe except the hops) they did the same but with different yeast types. Unleash the Yeast!

Yeast is not something that people pay a lot of attention to, for example in home brewing you can more or less get lager and ale yeast. In the books on home brewing that I’ve read there is generally not a chapter on different yeast types, just some information on how fermentation works and what the effects are.

For that reason, and since I’m am usually trying to get my hands on one of each BrewDog beers (except the ridiculously expensive ones) I decided this would be fun. Last week, when my cold was almost completely gone I decided to give them a go.

Unleash the Yeast!

Unleash the Yeast!

The yeast types used are based on the type of beer that is generally made with it, but they might as well be the names of the yeasts. I find them not very indicative, since the style indicated is very broad to say the least. Belgian Trappist can be anything from Westvleteren, Orval and Chimay. Quite a variety of different beers, with different profiles. The same goes for American Ale. Bavarian Weizen and Pilsen Lager has a slightly smaller variety of products that are made with it, so those might be a bit more descriptive.

Belgian Trappist
It’s very gentle with a typical Belgian ‘ale’ profile. The hop flavours are very timid and the beer very sweet and malty because of it. Somewhere between a double and blond beer I’d say. Some dried flowers and not fruity at all.

American Ale
A LOT more focus on the hops. The bitterness is more or less the polar opposite from the Beglian Trappist one. Floral hop flavours, so a lot of aromatics. Very crisp. The barley flavours are similar to the previous beer. I find it very hard to believe this beer recipe is the same.

Pilsen Lager
Rather bittersweet and holds the middle between the American Ale and Belgian Trappist. For a lager it would have a lot of depth, but also the malty, and only slightly hoppy flavours. Dusty, and the most generic so far. It very much tastes like lager.

Bavarian Weizen
While I thought the American Ale was crisp, this one trumps it in that respect. The hoppy bitterness is present, but much more gentle than it was in the American Ale. The sweetness is very different. Like comparing a sweet apple with apfel strudel. Not that it tastes like apple, but you get the drift. Very summery.

I’m not entirely convinced of this project. If the beers are exactly the same (which it says on the label, so it’s probably so) than yeast is maybe the most determining factor in a beer’s flavour profile. I do think, however, that the beer recipe was chosen to accommodate a lot of flavour from the yeast. Clever.

It’s rather enlightening to taste those brews since the difference is so big based on only one factor. Much more different than the different hoppy IPAs from IPA is Dead. I do, however, like the IPAs better as a beer on its own.

Of this batch, the Weizen and American Ale are my favourites. The lager was too generic and the Belgian Ale just didn’t do it for me. Those were the two sweetest beers so that might say something too.

What’s going to be next in this line of projects? Exactly the same recipe except for the base malt? Anyway, I’m game!

PS: Yes, I see the irony in this post being about beer and me just having said I’ll barely be blogging about it.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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