4-30-19 Tonight we are joined by Lance Shaner, co-owner of Omega Yeast, and Carvin Wilson, mead aficionado and speaker on fermenting mead at high temperatures.
Lance is a long time yeast handler, and has been homebrewing since he was an undergraduate days at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He got to play with many yeasts, since the food science department there had a wide selection of yeasts to choose from. He made duplicates of almost every strain and took them to the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where he earned his Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics, with a focus on Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or brewer’s yeast.
He has 9 years of laboratory experience, including 5 years of original research on the stress response of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (a.k.a. brewer’s yeast). The Norwegian kveik strains are his favorites, and he spends his free time watching his “buds” (Genevieve, 6 and Annelise, 3) grow up! Lance worked with friends to develop a method to propagate yeast strains, and he and his partner Mark Schwartz were keen to start a yeast company. They took this task on despite the dominance of large yeast companies in brewing, and with the acquisition of a rare German yeast from a small family brewery, picking up some unusual yeasts like Norwegian kveik (kwike), a Norwegian farmhouse ale yeast that loves high temperatures, and the support of some astute early adopters, they were off and running.
Omega has grown quickly, because they create unique yeast strains and aren’t afraid to experiment. They are always crossing and blending strains to create unique attributes. For example, Saisonstein’s Monster is a genetic hybrid of several saison strains; it provides high attenuation and yields spicy aromatics that suggest fruit and bubblegum. You can read an in depth article and Q&A on Lance and Mark and Omega Yeast on Seven Fifty.
Carvin Wilson is a home mead maker who is an avid experimenter, and has made nearly every style of mead and won many medals in competitions all over the country.
Carvin is owner of a software company, and when he’s not slinging code, he’s making mead and spending time with his lovely wife Robyn, and their kids and grandkids.
Carvin has spent quite a bit of time over the last few years researching and experimenting with meads. Judging by the amount of awards he’s gotten, including the 2018 AMMA Ken Schramm Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mead, he’s doing it right.
Lately, Carvin has been experimenting with high temp (over 70 degrees F) fermentations, going even into the 90’s or 100’s. This is a temperature that most mead makers will rear back and hiss at, like Dracula facing a cross. But the results are in, as he proved in his results at his talk at the 2019 AMMA MeadCon on Life about 70 degrees, which was heavily attended.
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Show links and notes
- Lars Blog – Norwegian yeast
- Beersmith software
- Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels
- Let There Be Melomels by Rob Ratliff
- The Big Book of Mead Recipes by Rob Ratliff
- May 4 – Leaky Roof Meadery – May Day at the Meadery
- May 9 – The Royce Detroit – The Compleat Introduction to Mead with Ken Schramm
- May 17 – Rushford Meadery and Winery – Winery Comedy Tour
- May 18-19 Orchid Cellars Meadery – Wine in the Woods – Maryland
- May 19 – Starrlight Meadery – Reiki I Certification class
- May 20-22 – Wye Valley Meadery – London Wine Fair
- May 24-25 – Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery – Singles Mingle Event
- May 25-26 – Linganore Winery – Caribbean Wine and Music Festival
- Jun 1 – Honeymoon Meads – Music – Giant’s Causeway
- June 1 – Warped Pours II – Pour Harder – Metro South Homebrew League Homebrew Festival
- June 8 – Woodstone Creek Artisan Winery and Distillery – Saturday Sips, Wine, Mead, Spirits (wine, mead, port and distilled spirits)
- June 27 – Brother’s Drake Mead – The Bee’s Meads at the Conservatory
- July 27 – Orcas Island Cider and Mead Festival
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