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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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Vicky Rowe

Vicky Rowe has been active as a promoter and supporter of the mead industry since the mid-90's with Gotmead.com, and is totally serious about seeing the mead industry take its rightful place as a popular craft beverage on the world recreational drinking stage.

She is also an experienced marketing coach and consultant who has recently decided to focus her marketing expertise exclusively on the craft beverage market to help meaderies, cideries, breweries and distilleries expand their business and get more customers while doing what they love.
Vicky Rowe
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