Krausen (pronounced kroy-sen) is the foamy head comprised of yeast and proteins that forms during fermentation. There are many factors that go into making a great beer, but none is more important than fermentation. Temperature, pitching rate and yeast strain all play a role in fermentation and therefore have a significant impact on the flavor of the beer. Project Krausen is about gaining a better understanding of these variables while having a little fun in the process.
Modern IPA's are all about showcasing fruity flavors. Tropical, stonefuit, citrus, melon, and pineapple are just a few of the terms used to describe flavor and aroma of these quaffable libations. While hops get the headlines, yeast are responsible for a great deal of the "hoppy" character the market craves. Depending on the strain, yeast are capable of producing a range of esters that contribute to the fruity flavor of the beer and, with so many yeast strains available it can be hard to keep up - Enter Project Krausen! For our first experiment, we chose the following three strains, which are known for producing fruity character, and pitched them in five gallon batches of Electric Sidekick NEIPA base wort.
Kveik Hornindal - produces esters ranging from stonefruit, pineapple, and dried fruit.
Temperature Range: 72–98° F
Alcohol Tolerance: 12-16%
Kveik Hothead - Produces a honey-like aroma with notes of mango.
Temperature Range: 72–98° F
Alcohol Tolerance: 11%
Brett Trois/ Tropical IPA - A Saccharomyces strain formerly classified as a Brettanomyces strain. It produces tart, tropical characteristics with a clean finish.
Temperature Range: 70–85° F
Alcohol Tolerance: 10%
All three strains ferment at warmer temperatures that traditional ale yeast strains which typically perform best under 70° F. For this experiment, we stayed on the cooler side and fermented all three batches in the low seventies.
While all three beers were tasty, the Kveik Hornindal and Tropical IPA were by far the big winners receiving well over three times the votes of the other two beers.
Kveik Hornindal - This strain was the overall winner by a small margin. Tasters definitely noticed the increased ester profile and commented on the pinnacle character.
Kveik Hothead produced a nice drinkable beer it was the least favorite of the tasters. I felt was a little on the earthy side and would be a great yeast for a saison-like beer.
Brett Trois/ Tropical IPA - This was my favorite yeast and finished a close second on the night. The profile was full of pineapple and mags and had a slight tart note which would make for a nice drinkable summer IPA.
All three of these strains make great beer and given their ability to ferment at warmer temperatures we think they are a great choice for home brewers lacking temperature control in the summer months or anyone looking to add a fruity character to their beer without adding fruit. Loaded Question will definitely use both Kveik Hornindal and Tropical IPA for larger batches going forward and would love to see what sort of flavors that produce at warmer temperatures.