Microbiology at the service of microbreweries

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Microbiology at the service of microbreweries

Le Labo – Solutions Brassicoles works with microbreweries from all over the Quebec, who use their locally produced yeast.

The brewing industry is booming in Quebec, but in the province only one company specializes in making beer's most important ingredient: yeast.

This establishment is located in Bas-Saint-Laurent, more precisely in La Pocatière.

The Ras L'Bock microbrewery makes in fact, one-third of the 315 microbreweries in Quebec use yeast produced locally by Labo – Solutions brassicoles.

“C' x27; is the yeast that ultimately makes the beer. »

— Alexandre Caron, co-owner of the Ras L'Bock brewery

A dozen microbreweries from Eastern Quebec uses liquid ferments from the Lab – Brewing Solutions.

All Ras L'Bock beers have yeast that was produced in La Pocatière, says Alexandre Caron, co-owner of the Ras L'Bock brewery.

It doesn' There aren't tons of ingredients for making beer, there are four: water, yeast, hops and malt. We at Ras L'Bock are increasingly trying to get our supplies as close as possible, he underlines.

Alexandre Caron, co-owner of the Ras L'Bock brewery

Yeast production sits midway between food processing and the pharmaceutical industry.

Yeast is a single-celled fungus that multiplies by budding. They are found everywhere in nature, explains the laboratory manager of the Lab – Solutions Brassicoles, Myriam Ladrie.

Yeasts are invisible to the naked eye. By living, reproducing and dying, these microscopic fungi help create bread, beer and wine, among other things. Yeasts, whose life cycle consists of eating sugars and expelling carbon dioxide, have been exploited by human beings for millennia.

This ingredient used by microbreweries requires a very high level of purity. The Pocatois laboratory must therefore equip itself with unparalleled quality control methods.

Certain strains of Labo yeasts – Solutions Brassicoles are made from Quebec maple sap.

The company has about 60 different strains of yeast stored in a freezer capable of producing extreme temperatures of -80 degrees Celsius.

These strains come from all over the world, but especially from Quebec. Some strains are extracted from maple sap.

“That's enough to produce 250,000 liters of beer. »

— Louis-Philippe Simard, Director of Operations, Le Labo – Brewery Solutions

Laboratory managers must ensure the purity of liquid ferments using high-tech equipment.< /p>

We take a small amount of yeast and keep it in a freezer that is very, very, very, very cold. He is given some culture medium, a liquid that may look like beer, explains Louis-Philippe Simard, the lab's director of operations.

We let her grow in there and give her lots of oxygen. This oxygen and these nutrients allow it to divide. You start with a few hundred yeast particles and it doesn't take long until you have millions. We let them grow until we have billions of them, which will make a kind of white cream, he explains.

Le Labo – Solutions Brassicoles offers pure live products to brewing companies so that they can carry out their alcoholic fermentation.

The liquid ferments are then sold to microbreweries in Quebec so that they can carry out their alcoholic fermentation.

Brewing companies choose yeasts according to the kinds of beer that x27;they want to concoct.

If they want to make an IPA or a more American beer, they're going to take a strain that's going to be more neutral, that's going to hold up well to alcohol. alcohol,” says Louis-Philippe Simard.

The Ras L'Bock microbrewery factory located in La Pocatière

At Ras L'Bock, we have a good variety of products. We have German yeasts, IPAs, more traditional styles. They have [Le Labo – Solutions Brassicoles] several choices, several types of yeast. They keep adding more to the catalog, says Alexandre Caron, of microbrewery Ras L'Bock.

“The rest of us, what we love about microbrewing is having as many choices of ingredients as possible so that we can experiment as much as possible.

— Alexandre Caron, co-owner of Ras L'Bock microbrewery

Le Labo – Solutions Brassicoles is struggling to meet the demand of microbreweries, which are more and more numerous.< /p>

For Alexandre Caron, this partnership allows him to offer quality products in addition to shortening production times.

Many microbreweries in Quebec used to buy their yeasts in the United States, for example, in Colorado and on the west coast. It took three or four days to get here, to La Pocatière, he said.

“The further you are, the longer it takes time, and time for the yeast, that's really important, since it degrades quickly. »

— Alexandre Caron, co-owner of the Ras L'Bock brewery

The liquid ferments produced at Le Labo – Solutions Brassicoles are so popular that the company pocatoise is struggling to meet the demand of microbreweries, which are more and more numerous.

The laboratory is also working on an expansion project estimated at more than #x27;a million dollars to quintuple its yeast production. The company hopes to export its yeasts elsewhere in Canada.

Its new equipment should be operational by the end of 2022.

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