Beer and Science: Huntsville company Leavendary provides yeast for craft brewers from HudsonAlpha labs


Hudson Alpha houses some of the most cutting edge research in the world. Scientists routinely unlock secrets of the human genome and now some of the secrets of great beer.

A newer resident of the research facility, Leavandary produces designer yeast for craft brewers.

Founder Peyton McNully explains, “What we typically would deliver would be several trillion cells of yeast that started as a few thousand a few days before.”

They keep their specific yeast samples stored in this super freezer.  It holds them at -79 degrees celsius. That’s -110 degrees fahrenheit.

There are over a thousand strains of brewing yeast that produce hundreds of kinds of flavor profiles, so for a consistent product, you better get it right.

McNully notes, “You’ll get different flavor profiles based on what kind of beer you’re brewing, what sort of sugars you’re feeding it, and then also temperature is a factor.”

Back Forty of Gadsden and Old Black Bear of Huntsville currently use Leavendary, who say their product, their lab setting, their high-tech approach — all go toward fighting the biggest problem for brewers.

McNully points out, “There’s a lot of uncertainty as to what it is, if it’s appropriately measured, if it’s the appropriate strain, if it’s going to perform the same way.”

At Leavendary they look to control all that for brewers. In fact, they’ll tell you they’ve got it down to a science.

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