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Hopping methods and biotransformation

Continuing the discussion from Making Norther Brewers "Off the Topper" Juicy?:

I’ve just begun reading about biotransformation. Found this article to be an interesting starting point. Less scientific language so I can understand it better.


Great read. Thanks for posting!

So they suggested adding hops the same time you pitch your yeast? I always thought that would affect the yeasts ability to reproduce. Kind of why they say don’t add hops before you kettle sour but that’s bacteria

Unfortunately it’s a little more complicated than adding your dry hops at high krausen. In order to release the aromatic aglycones found in hops, and various other plant materials, you need to have a yeast (or bacteria) that displays the right enzymatic activity. Unfortunately most brewer’s yeasts have limited to none of the capability of doing this. Some strains may… but there’s not a great resource showing which ones may have this ability (but I bet Conan can). Now brett on the other hand, that’s a different story.

Explain why you think Conan can and not any other ale yeasts

Just empirical evidence. In general sacch is not great at breaking down glycosides, but considering all the people reporting huge fruity and tropical flavors on hop-heavy beers fermented with Conan, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a combination of fruity esters and glycoside break-down with this particular strain.

Interesting…I wonder if that is part of the reason why the Omega Tropical IPA is so fruity? They say it was originally thought to be a Brett strain, but was recently reclassified as Sacch.

Yeah, it certainly behaves a lot like a brett strain, even down to making a pellicle occasionally. It definitely hasn’t been tamed as much as the more common brewers’ yeasts!

Is that what you have in your IPA now?

Nice read!

Actually no, I’m using 1335 right now, but have had some IPA’s brewed with this yeast. I’ll probably buy a pack for the next batch for comparison.

Centennial brett IPA. This one is almost a year old, and the hops are still shining, with some rustic brett mustiness underneath. Close your eyes and take a sip, and you’ll swear it’s pineapple juice from over-ripe pineapples that are about to turn to mush. Delicious!

Other than a 40-ibu bittering charge, all the hops were added in two stages in the whirlpool, and a large dry hop as fermentation slowed. Love me some hops biotransformation!


You are referring to White Labs 644. DNA proved it to be sacch. I’ve used it a couple times with fair success.

Yeah, 644 is the same as omega tropical, is the same as imperial citrus. There might be a couple more yeast labs that sell it… yeast bay’s funktown pale ale is a blend of 644 and Conan. I never had great luck with it, and as soon as the yeast fell out it lost a lot of character.

See, if I didn’t read this, and saw a name like “tropical IPA,” then saw something like a pellicle and sensed any Brett like funkiness, I’d assume I had messed up sanitation and burn my fermentors. I love all the stuff I learn on this forum.


I almost forgot to take a photo of this one; it was my first attempt at a NE style IPA. It’s been in the keg for almost a month now, and given I used a highly flocculent yeast strain, this is showing no signs of clearing up (yay for hop haze!). Basically tasted like a cross between grapefruit juice and Five Alive.

Recipe (11 gallon batch):

OG 1.061 @ 81% efficiency

Golden Promise x 21 lbs
C20 x 1 lb
C40 x .5 lb
Mashed at 148°F for 60 minutes

Galaxy x 2 oz @ FWH
Citra x 3 oz @ 3 minutes
Galaxy x 2 oz @ 3 minutes
Citra x 2 oz @ Whirlpool
Galaxy x 2 oz @ Whirlpool
Galaxy x 2 oz @ Dry hop during high krausen

Yeast: 1335 British Ale II

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