Scientists figured out how to make an IPA without the hops

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Todd, Mar 21, 2018.

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  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,632) Aug 23, 1996 California
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  2. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,430) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
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  3. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    GMO yeast producing hop oils without the hops? I'm all for it! Some, we'll just say "less than informed folks", might not be as excited.
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  4. frozyn

    frozyn Devotee (426) May 16, 2015 New York

    Really interesting news. Not surprised a scientist decided to tackle modifying unicellular yeast to see if they could do more things with it. Will be a different world when brewers are double dry yeasting at various gravities to get the hop flavors we want :wink:
  5. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,345) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    This will get banned quickly in Europe and have all the free range ethical omnivores up in arms in the USA. Soon, we'll see an organization called PETY formed.
    Zorro, LuskusDelph, TongoRad and 2 others like this.
  6. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,735) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    I think they just unlocked the secret of Romulan Ale.
    Zorro, beergoot, waltari and 3 others like this.
  7. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (0) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Yeast can do all kinds of neat things. Making lactic acid is one of them, but making terpenoids is even more so.
    DrewSnyc667 likes this.
  8. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (8,191) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

  9. Hayden34

    Hayden34 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2014 Georgia

    That's cool and all but how does it TASTE? I remain highly skeptical until I know that key bit of information.
    beergoot and hopfenunmaltz like this.
  10. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,735) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    If this becomes commercially viable I can see it's use by home brewers who simply want to make a decent house beer.
    LuskusDelph likes this.
  11. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (664) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I haven't seen him around here in a long time, but I would be really interested in what @Peter_Wolfe thinks of this.
  12. Tripel_Threat

    Tripel_Threat Poo-Bah (3,037) Jun 29, 2014 Michigan
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    It's all fun and games until the power goes out on the security fences and they rampage out of the paddocks.

    It'll be an interesting time when you can combine hop and yeast blends for flavor and bitterness.
    errantnight likes this.
  13. moshea

    moshea Initiate (0) Jul 16, 2007 Michigan

    The answer is in the post you are responding to

    ".....In a double-blind taste test of two batches of the final hop-free pale ale compared to a regularly brewed pale ale, tasters found the hop-free beer to have more of the style’s characteristically bitter flavors....."
    Hayden34, woodchipper and LuskusDelph like this.
  14. Beer_Economicus

    Beer_Economicus Champion (851) Apr 8, 2017 Ohio

    I have to assume @Hayden34 sas really referring to the enjoyablensss.

    For example, you can create many ind tastes where you ask people whether both of these cakes (one with stevia and one with sugar) have that sweetness we associate with cake. That does not answer whether it is "as good." Just because it is substitutable does not mean it tastes the same. I literally cannot think of anything that I can substitute that tastes "exactly the same." (Per the example above, I hate Stevia.)
    Hayden34 likes this.
  15. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,236) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Yes, but deep into the future and space Burton water will be available from hydrogen, oxygen, and Druidic incantations. It is written. Real ale is safe for almost eternity.
    beergoot, Beer_Economicus and Squire like this.
  16. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Initiate (0) Aug 29, 2012 Nebraska

    Apparently, a biochemist at UC-Berkeley has done some bio-engineering (read the article for a more detailed description of what, exactly, he's doing) that effectively has created a yeast strain that imparts the flavor and aroma of hops--specifically Cascade.

    I admit that my initial reaction was skepticism, *but* apparently they worked with Lagunitas to convene a blind tasting with over 40 people and the beer with genetically engineered yeast and no hops performed well against traditionally-hopped beers.

    Obviously, it's a LOOOOOOOOONG ways away from having a meaningful impact in the actual commercial beer market. Can it be done with other hop varietals besides Cascade? Is it scalable? Can it be done at a price point that makes it a viable alternative to actual hops? Are brewers who have infrastructure and processes aligned to make beer with hops going to want to move in another direction? Would there be a different set of implications for Big Beer vs. smaller independent brewpubs and taproom size breweries?

    And that's before we get into the uphill marketing battle of getting beer enthusiasts to buy into a beer without hops tasting the same as or better than the traditional IPAs they are accustomed to. It's one thing to convince people doing a blind taste test--most consumers aren't going to be conducting blind tastings, and there are some who won't even entertain the idea enough to buy a bottle/six pack in the first place.

    Here's another article that summarizes the Times article, in case you have hit your limit on free articles at NYT:
    Ranbot and Harrison8 like this.
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,429) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The NYT article was an interesting read with much discussion about hop flavor. How was bitterness achieved in the hop-less beer?


    P.S. The answer to my question was in another article:

    “They then asked Charles Bamforth, a malting and brewing authority at UC Davis, to brew a beer from three of the most promising strains, using hops only in the initial stage of brewing – the wort – to get the bitterness without the hoppy flavor. Hop flavor was supplied only by the new yeast strains. Bamforth also brewed a beer with standard yeast and hops, and asked a former student, Lagunitas’s Donaldson, to conduct a blind comparison taste test with 27 brewery employees.”
    #17 JackHorzempa, Mar 23, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
  18. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (1,956) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

  19. AustinWadkins

    AustinWadkins Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2016 Iowa

    WOw that is incredible! I don’t know how I feel about it but I could see this getting big in the future!
  20. Invinciblejets

    Invinciblejets Devotee (477) Sep 29, 2014 South Carolina

    Why not just use non gmo real hops?
    Idk maybe I’m crazy...
  21. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Poo-Bah (1,874) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    That first article in the thread had a lot of problems.
  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,426) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Of course, unless they change the TTB rules (or somehow get the yeast recognized as a "hop product"), brewers would have to have their labels approved by the FDA, a different Federal bureaucracy than the one they regularly work under, and whose labeling requirements are different and more complicated than the TTB's.

    TTB Ruling 2008-3:
    FDA -Guidance for Industry: Labeling of Certain Beers Subject to the Labeling Jurisdiction of the Food and Drug
    jmdrpi likes this.
  23. MNAle

    MNAle Poo-Bah (2,345) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    But do the regulations say anything about the quantity of hops? Would one "hop" per batch suffice? :wink:
    jmdrpi likes this.
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,426) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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  25. Peter_Wolfe

    Peter_Wolfe Initiate (0) Jul 5, 2013 Oregon

    I'm still around, lurking. Just very busy with work and newborn kids.

    I met Charles Denby, the individual whose lab is doing all the work at Berkeley, at the World Brewing Congress in 2016. He told me about the project and I told him I was intrigued and would be happy to help run trials with him. I can't say a ton about it yet because it's early on, but I can say I started running pilot trials with his yeast earlier this year. I've made six brews to date using Dr. Denby's modified strains.

    First - the article is all kinds of stupid. The yeast strains have nothing to do with bitterness whatsoever. The strains are modified to include genes from basil and mint plants so that they can manufacture terpenes (aroma flavor compounds) identical to those already produced in hop trichomes. Bitter acid synthesis is unaltered.

    I can say with some certainty that they're absolutely not a total replacement for hops, but they might be a good way to augment or change and add to the overall hop flavor in a beer. I'll know a lot more in a couple months, but early trials seem promising.

    Personal Partially Related Rant (feel free to stop reading here):
    I'll add this about GMO, because I know people always want to focus on that. If you're someone who considers themselves a supporter of sustainability, clean energy, and a clean environment (which I personally am), you should absolutely be an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of GMO technology. This doesn't mean that you need to support corporate ownership of it (everyone always wants to talk about Monsanto, which only distracts from the actual subject), but GMO itself is the only way we're going to feed the current and future population of the planet earth without permanently harming it and numerous other species. The alternative is dramatically reducing our population, and I don't foresee anyone volunteering to do that.
    #25 Peter_Wolfe, Apr 12, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
  26. Lahey

    Lahey Initiate (0) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    My one concern would be that they have to use much more yeast than normal to get the flavor right. Not all people can tolerate a ton of yeast in their diets. I'd prefer good old hops myself. Cool to see scientists working on beer though.
  27. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (664) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Your information is always great. I'm glad you are still around, but there are more important priorities than BA, clearly.
    Peter_Wolfe and drtth like this.
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