Experimenting with different types of yeast
Our head of research and development Benedict, has gone crazy with yeast experimentations on our Arctic Whisky.
He also has a sidekick business (Spheric Spirits) which focuses on replicating the character of traditional Scotch Single Malt Whisky as it was before the days of industrialisation and efficiency optimisation. He does so by using old Scotch traditions along with innovation and his knowledge in Microbiology.
Here’s some of the cool stuff that we’re currently collaborating with Spheric Spirits on to create some severely interesting and hopefully funky Arctic Single Malt Whisky.
Yeast trapping: Benedict is trapping wild organisms in our back garden and even all the way up in Svalbard to isolate potential yeast strains suitable for Whisky fermentation. We currently have 1000 litres of sterile Wort fermenting which was left outside the distillery overnight open under the birch trees to cool off and be inoculated by local microorganisms before leaving it in an unexposed environment. It took 4 months to see any activity in the fermenter. After 12 months we’ll analyse and archive our culture in a laboratory and distill the little alcohol within.
Alder smoked malt: A Norwegian landrace barley variety (Brage) was grown in Trøndheim, floor malted and alder smoke kilned at Bonsak Malt. This small batch was fermented with an old English Ale yeast from the discontinued Boddrington brewery in England. We used spent brewers yeast from the local brewery in the 6th generation. The derived new-make distillate is maturing in a refill Octave.
Scottish peat meets Kveik: Benedict’s 5 favourite Kveik farmhouse cultures where put together to ferment in joint venture a batch of 55ppm Scottish peated malt which was sourced and imported by our Scottish shareholder Colin. It is not left at that. Dregs from a rare belge lambic beer bottle have been propagated and added to the fermentation as this one will ferment for a serious 9 months. The microorganisms Brettanomyces, which gives lambic beers from Belgium it’s unmistakable distinct character, needs a long time and dextrinous wort. The fermentation room smells of spitfire barbecued pineapple.
Milk The Funk bottle share Homebrew Convention blend: a culture blend propagated from bottled dregs sourced from the Milk The Funk bottle share at HomebrewCon in the United States. This blend is only available once during the year’s pre-sale and we were lucky enough to get Bootleg Biology’s support to reach out to their archives. We’re making one single cask of Whisky each year from each year’s different Milk The Funk blend. Recently we’ve received the 2016 blend (Baltifunk). A minimum 6 week fermentation is currently ongoing and the home for the new-make derived is already waiting outside our doors. A real Bodega Solera Butt, first fill Oloroso Sherry.
Mad Fermentationist Culture: Fine tuned over two years by Michael Tonsmeire, this blend morphed over time to become an elegant powerhouse of classic Saison yeast, wild Saccharomyces, rare Brettanomyces and an opportunistic Lactobacillus culture. This is a one off fermentation at our distillery to produce one single cask of single malt Whisky. Ultra long fermentation should provide some fantastic funk.