The yeast that saved beer returns in Carlsberg’s “Father of Quality Lager”

Carlsberg re-created the Father of Quality Lager, brewing it using the world’s first pure yeast, extracted from an original living sample that survived 133 years in a Carlsberg bottle recently found in the brewery’s old cellars. // Photo via Carlsberg

Carlsberg re-created the Father of Quality Lager, brewing it using the world’s first pure yeast, extracted from an original living sample that survived 133 years in a Carlsberg bottle recently found in the brewery’s old cellars. // Photo via Carlsberg

Carlsberg took a page out of “Jurassic Park” (and a much safer approach to bringing something old back to life) recently to rebrew a beer from 1883, the company announced via press release.

The Carlsberg Research Lab last week extracted 133-year old living yeast cells and used them “rebrew” the first lager that used pure yeast.

In the old days, brewing beer was an unpredictable process that often resulted in undrinkable beer due to the phenomenon called “beer sickness.” However, in 1883, Carlsberg Research Laboratory changed all that when it discovered pure yeast, which made it possible to make quality beer from every brew.

As beer sickness was a widespread problem back then, Carlsberg gave away the pure yeast, aptly named Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis, for free to other brewers. Today, most lager beers in the world originate from that pure yeast discovery, including major international brands.

“Without it, we wouldn’t have the type of beer that is now 90 percent of the world’s market,” says Britain’s leading Beer Historian Martyn Cornell.

So when scientists at Carlsberg Laboratory found one of the very first Carlsberg beers brewed with the original pure yeast from 1883 in the old cellars of Carlsberg in Copenhagen, Denmark, they understandably got excited.

After a year of research, they were able to extract living yeast cells from the bottle, and, to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Carlsberg Research Laboratory, rebrew the world’s”first quality lager” in the most authentic manner, using the original pure yeast and the exact same recipe, ingredients, and brewing techniques as in 1883.

For more about the “Father of Quality Lager” project, check out the website.


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