In the old days, each family brewed its own beer
Under the ceiling hung a wreath of small wooden bricks that was lowered into the fermentation barrels when families brewed their local ale. After use, the yeast dried again and was hung back up and saved for the next brew. In this way, the yeast and the tradition of beer brewing was preserved for generations and passed on from mother to daughter. When a young man was looking for a wife, he visited the local farms and tasted the beer. If a farm had well tasting beer and a young eligible daughter who was ready to be married, he struck gold. With a young wife and great beer life would be grand.
Our Brewmaster’s Family Yeast
Our brewmaster hails from a family where the yeast were passed on from mother to daughter. His great-grandmother from the island of Funen was so famous for her brewing that she would travel around and visit the larger farms when they wanted to ensure a particularly good. brew. However, the family house yeast became extinct around 1950. Our brewmaster is biologist with PhD in Health Science from the University of Copenhagen where he was a researcher. When he wished to brew the family ale again he needed to recover the family yeast. So reapplying technology from 1850, he isolated four different yeast strains from the surface of a local bee, one of them turned out to have an aroma perfectly similar to the local family ale. The family yeast was alive.
University of Copenhagen tested the genetic material from the Funen bee yeast
DNA is the genetic material of the cell and each cell gets half from each parent, so you can look in the source code of DNA and decode where it comes from. This is what Associate Professor, Nils Arne Borg from the University of Copenhagen did and found that all four Funen yeast strains are from the family of brewing yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae. From a local bee, yeast for brewing beer was found and is now used in the production of different beers in multiple breweries in Denmark and Norway.
International Brewing Competition creates new knowledge about brewing yeast
In 2016, Munkebo Brewery started a competition using the four different Munkebo yeasts. The brewery sent out over 400 tubes of the four yeast strains to brewers in Denmark. There was also interest from Sweden, Norway and Germany. The social media helped to share knowledge and support each other to propagate the yeast strains.A Facebook fansite was created around the yeast: “Munkebo Hjemstavns gær” together with the Danish homebrew social site. 62 different beers were sent in for evaluation and the medal, the Best of Show, was awarded to Black Smoothie, a stout with yeast munkebo002. One of the most interesting pieces of information was that one of the beers was fermented at 10C. This temperature is not normal for an ale yeast, and only a pilsner yeast should be able to tolerate an operating degree this low. In 2017 the same competition will be started by Munkebo distributors in Norway and Lithuania, and more countries may follow.
Knight in the Order of the Crown, Breweries and the Danish beer enthusiasts.
For the task of tasting the beers, we asked various competent judges, such as Beer Sommelier Emil Vilhelmsen, Carsten Berthelsen, a writer and Knight in the Order of the Crown. Other breweries like Kongebryg, Winther-Bargholz and Krenkerup Brewery are helping Munkebo Brewerey to evaluate and judge the beers. The Danish Beer Enthusiasts are represented by members from both the board and local groups. The winner will be announced Friday at 5 PM on the big stage of the Danish Beer Enthusiasts’ festival in May 2017 in Copenhagen. Soon after the festival, the winner beer will be brewed and served as draft in bars all around Denmark.
The judges will meet at 11 AM at Munkebo Brewery:
- Jens Eiken, Carlsberg Brewery
- Niels Kiens, Kongebryg Brewery
- Jannie Røngaard, Krenkerup Brewery
- Claus Christensen, Munkebo Microbrewery
- Thomas Schøn, Rocket Brewing Company
- Pia Winther Bargholz, Winther-Bargholz Brewery
- Umut Sakarya, Gourmet chef, Co-owner Grisen
- Emil Vilhelmsen, Beer Sommelier, Depot Odense
- Klaus Rehkopff, Danish Beer Enthusiasts, Odense
- Lasse V. Hansen, Winner of competition 2016, Best of Show
- Christian Andersen, Danish Beer Enthusiasts Board Member, Journalist
- Carsten Berthelsen, Knight in the Order of the Crown of Belgium, Author
Brewmaster, Munkebo Brewery, Claus Christensen, PhD says: “I am educated in research in yeast from University of Copenhagen and wished to combine brewing and research. I am overwhelmed and it warms my heart that other brewers wish to use our yeast in their brewing.This year we have a free style where there is no limit, so what we receive of beer brewed to us can be amazingly innovative”.
Brewmaster, Winther-Bargholz Brewery, Pia Winther Bargholz says: “I’m more than happy to participate in an innovative competition like this. It also reminds me of the good relations we have in this industry. In 2012, when I was educated as a certified craft brewer/Diploma brewer in the Scandinavian School of Brewing in Copenhagen, I was particularly interested in the part of the program where we worked with the taste in order to better assess the quality of the beer. On this very occasion I can use my experience and knowledge of beer in collaboration with other microbreweries, professional people and beer lovers who share the same passion for good quality beer as I do”.
Beer Sommelier, Emil Vilhelmsen Depot Odense: says: “We at Depot Odense are very honored that I was asked to participate as a judge in this exciting brewing competition. The beer industry is incredibly exciting because it is in rapid development. The Danish beer market is in huge change and more people have gradually gained interest in craft beer, and the foreign interest in Danish micro brews is growing. So precisely such an innovative competition is incredibly exciting as it helps to develop and show what beer universe has to offer. I am looking forward to seeing and tasting the participants’ innovative beers.”
Competition parameters 2017:
- Send your beers (10 bottles between 33-75 cl) to Munkebo Brewery, before April 21. Use this Registration Form
- It’s free to join, but there may only be used Munkebo yeast strains in category 1 and 2. No 3 is open for wild yeast and bacteria. Yeast can be bought in our webshop.
- Fermentation data and recipes must be documented and submitted. A Munkebo fermentation document can be downloaded from our website.
- One beer is named Best of Show and will be brewed commercially. However we may chose to brew more recipes. All recipe rights and sales is handed over to Munkebo Brewery.
- Text describing the brew-idea is an advantage for the assessment.
- All comments from judges will be documented and published online.
- 3 categories will be open: 1. Pilsner, 2. IPA, 3. Free Style
- Danish Pilsner or Imperial Danish Pilsner. Munkebo001 yeast may have the unique ability to ferment at 10˚C since Danish brewers report that Munkebo001 is fermenting beer as low as 10˚. Therefore, a Danish pilsner or Imperial Danish Pilsner will be of interest. Only Danish malt from Fuglsang or Refsvindinge Maltery is allowed. Imported hops are allowed.
- Session IPA. Max 4.7%. Low in alcohol and high in aroma. A juicy bastard of a highly drinkable beer is of interest. Please don’t use hops that could be difficult to buy on a large scale. Any fruits like mango, passion fruit, pineapple, anything you like, go for it! For questions about which hops or fruits are in stock in 2017, call Tony at Brewolution +4522248298,. This will make it easier to upscale the recipe.
- Free style.. surprise us J GO for it… no limit. Unicorn dust and werewolf kisses are allowed
A special premium is awarded for the best combination of flavor/aroma and the beer’s name.
Munkebo001: lots of banana at 22˚C, may ferment as low as 10˚C?
Munkebo002: raspberry and cherry at 21˚C
Munkebo003: apple and banana at 21˚C
Munkebo004: apricot and peach at 21˚C
Attenuation for all yeast strains is around 76-78% and flocculation is middle.
Good luck from all judges
Hundslevvej 141, 5300 Kerteminde
Claus Christensen, PhD
claus @ munkebo-mikrobryg.dk