Articles, Blog

Rare Brews in conversation with Topher Boehm

August 14, 2019

Thank you everybody for coming. Before we begin the proceedings, I would like to acknowledge and pay respects to the
traditional owners of the land on which we meet. The Gadigal people of the Eora
nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Sydney is built.
As we share our knowledge, teaching, learning and research practices within
the University, may we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within
the Aboriginal custodianship of Country. So thank you. Welcome to Rare Brews in
conversation. My name is Matthew Davis. I’m an Associate Director with the
library, but on this side, I’m also an enthusiastic home brewer. It was with much pleasure that I welcome today our wonderful guest Topher Boehm of Wild
Flower Growing and Blending. Texan by birth, Topher joins us today as a Sydney
University Alumni, graduating in physics and the history and philosophy of
science. It was during University that Topher
first started brewing, putting to practice the scientific processes by
which he learned to refine the art of brewing for precision, and consistency,
and production. He has been working in commercial breweries since 2013, firstly
at Flat Rock Brew Cafe and battering company. Topher began to explore native
use in 2014, which sparked a new period of learning and discovery and
experimentation, which saw him traveling to northern France and Belgium in 2015,
were interned at Brassiere Terre, and later he travelled to Partisan Brewing in
London and jester King in Texas. In March 2017, Topher with his brother-in-law and
business partner Chris, opened Wildflower Brewing and Blending in Marrickville. So
thank you for coming today Topher. No worries, thank you. I have to say – just
quickly before we start – it feels like really really high tech when we’re talking about something that’s so
low tech like yeah we’re all brewing you know the speakers and things that- so anyway but thanks for having me, yeah. So I just like to start off, um. Now you describe your brewery specializing in farmhouse ales. Would you be able to describe what a farmhouse ale is. Yeah. And what it is that makes Wildflower unique. Generally a farmhouse ales
or farmhouse beers were sort of subcategory of, of the beer sort of world.
You might have lagers and English ale brewing. From our sales generally, um, just as a explanation, are this category of beers that’s a little loose. It’s a
little rustic. Um, they’re beers that are brewed um, for a purpose rather than for
precision. Um, however, I don’t call my brewery “Farmhouse Brewery” um, because people will sort of associate that with the beers that we do brew. But I’m, I’m squarely
focused in the, directly in the, flight path of Marrickville. There are no cows
surrounding me. I don’t grow any of my own barley unfortunately. I certainly
don’t grow my hops, um but uh yeah and there are people that are doing that.
There are people that are out there now doing modern-day representations of some
of the beer practices that we’re talking about. Whole- holistically- you know, my
focus in terms of the exhibit and what we’re talking about today is probably more on the yeast perspective because of my use of natural or wild indigenous yeast
in our beer um, but there are also people out there who are growing their own
barley. Malting it. Growing their own hops. There’s an estate ale being made in
Tasmania right now. By a brewery called Van Diemen. He hasn’t released it yet cause
these beers age for a very, very long time. But, um, I feel like calling
myself a farmhouse brewery farmer brewery kind of isn’t right when there’s
people that are taking, you know, that are truly farmers as well, so um. I don’t really
call it that. I think I would just call it yeast driven, Franco-Belgian, old-world
ales. That’s a little bit longer. Its a bit of a mouthful. But um yeah. So that’s,
that’s Farmers Brewing. Yeah. Okay. Well, we’ll talk a little bit more about yeast
in a moment. But, um, so you, you’ve talked before that your focus on brewing has
shifted away from wort creation which where a lot of brewing is at the
moment. Um, to yeast as the main star of your brewery.
So can you talk a little bit about the yeast you use, how you came about them, um, and how they feature in the flavor profile of your beer. Sure yeah, yeah. Um, and I’ll just
start by separating the sort of process of brewing. Um, wort production is people, is the process that people who generally might associate with brewing. It’s where
you’re, you’re mashing, you’re converting sugars from, from malted barley into a
sort of liquid, dextrinous sugary wort that then, wort is
unfermented beer- w-o-r-t and then you boil it, you add your hops. It’s, it’s great for
photos, because there’s steam in people’s faces and it’s really marketing sexy. Oh and
it takes about eight hours to brew a good, a good batch of beer and that, that’s wort,
that’s the wort production. When you finish that day- Matthew was just doing a
brewing exhibition upstairs- um, when you finish that, you’ve only sort of just
started first part of the whole brewing process, so, after you make wort, you need
to ferment it with yeast, and so. Right, what we do, what we’ve done at Wildflower
is separate those two aspects. Traditional breweries and majority of
breweries would have a brew house where they make their wort and then they also
have their fermentation cellar where they conduct the different fermentations.
We on the other hand only have a fermentation cellar. In Marrickville, there’s a
number of breweries just surrounding us, so we sort of share the resources and
there are capabilities, and just buy time on their
brew houses for them to produce it. The other part, though its a few reasons when we do that. One is financially it wouldn’t have worked to age our beer for as long as we do as well as purchase the brew house. Um, but, but also it keeps me not focused on work production and this is what we’re talking about. Basically, I focus entirely
on fermentation, so by the time that that wort gets to me, it’s already been brewed.
I don’t have to worry about cleaning the tanks, or what’s happening there.
They’re my recipes that they brew for me, but ah that way when it comes to me, my
focus is directly on the fermentations which is where I think the majority of
the flavor and beer comes from. The reason. Oh yeah, sorry. Yeah, yeah, so maybe, maybe if you want to talk a bit about your yeast. Yeah, yeah. It is quite unique, and special. So, I mean, specifically I think for the, for the um talk today, we uh travel
to these different breweries and learn these old world traditions of being able-
or techniques- of utilizing yeast that’s naturally-occurring. Um, yeast that’s
captured or harvested or um foraged very sexy marketing word in the food
world. Forage from the wild and use them to ferment the beer. So, um, our house, our
house culture is not a mono-culture. it’s a mixed culture. There’s different
strains of yeast. There’s different types of organisms that are at work there.
There’s sacrum Ises, there’s per channel Isis, there’s lactobacillus which are lactic acid freezing bacteria you find in sourdough and yogurt um and all of these things
work together to create a really diverse interesting flavor. Um, converse let me, so
you can, you can sort of pinpoint that against traditional brewing or what uh most people do now. Traditional as of 1819. The I don’t know if much attention focus
is on display out there, but um the first mono-culture fermentation
was uh in the 1890’s at the Carlsberg brewery. So when I say traditional, I mean
mono-culture is really only a hundred and thirty years. Um, most beer being made is a
mono-culture fermentation, so it’s a single strain of yeast, of a sacrum ises
strain. There might be millions and billions and trillions of these, of these ah
yeasts, but this one strain works solely to do the fermentation. As those beers
are, um, consistent, they’re predictable, and they generally have these sort of clean
characteristics. Like you mentioned at, at the introduction, I just fell in love
with the the nuance of mix culture fermentation. I fell in love with the um
sense of place that you can get from brewing with yeast that’s actually
harvested from the area that you’re brewing in. People talk about local
things and local um food and all these kinds of things, and in beer, um, we can
basically order yeast from a yeast lab in France or in America and have it sent
out and make that beer. I could make the exact same beer if I was back home in
Texas, um, basically that I could here with the access to ingredients that we have,
and it just didn’t seem right for me to move halfway across the world start my
industry in my craft and be able to do the exact same thing in the place where
I grew up. So, that’s where we focus on it. I mean, Matt’s had the beers. It creates
huge different variations of flavor um, but also it just it means something else as well. Your yeast is specifically cultivated
from the New South Wales region, is that right?
Yeah, so well the wild yeast aspect to it. So we, we have a – in the mix culture, there is um a a strain that originates from Belgium. Um,
we’ve had it in our brewery for a while. But, um, all of the while he said that
there’s basically one strain of this Belgian culture, and everything else is
from New South Wales. Yeah, so I cultivated yeast off of sugar sources
found in the wild. So yeast needs sugar to survive. Um, so anywhere you have sugar in
the wild, you will probably also find yeast. And so we cultivated it off of
fruit, off of flowers, and then from traditional spontaneous fermentations by
leaving unfermented beer out exposed to the overnight air and allowing things to
fall in and not to start the fermentation. So um, we cultivated off these things and then just tested with them. General, generally not, not always does it
create a, a good um capture, a good beer ,but sometimes it does and that’s when it’s
fun to, fun to use. Um, looking through some of the books before, when I came in
ah, a month ago, I guess, um there were these sort of really vague descriptions as to
how to collect yeast, like where to get a yeast cake from, and it’s very very vague
and so you know, it’s pretty… Before any one has 130 years ago,
um, you can imagine if you would have had to cultivate yeast from somewhere and
so I don’t know, they got it from the baker, they got it from a friend who’s a brewer down the road. But they had to start using it somehow. And I think a lot of the recipes
talked about making a yeast cake from flour and water, that they then left out overnight on a window sill or somewhere. Just till it starts to bubble. Yeah. And then you would
add that to your wort to start the fermentation. Yeah, which I mean there are
beers being made around the world. Very small batches. Um, of sort of
collaborations between brewers and sourdough bakers where people take the sourdough
culture and pitch it into their beer and wort rather- its unfermented- um, and it will make a beer. I mean it’s, it is interesting, its fascinating. Our exhibition is a story of
brewing as a transform from- transformed from a domestic activity
into a sort of scientifically controlled large-scale industry. In some ways you’ve
taken the opposite journey. Can you describe how the changing direction came about and what does this mean in terms of your approach
to brewing like the philosophy and the practice. Yeah. Um, there’s a lot tied up in that question to be honest. Um. Firstly, I mean, I never brewed on a very, very large scale. Um. Even the batch might be an owner in Marrickville but um, its not a national brand by any means. Um, but uh certainly an analytical approach that then changed. I’ve actually thought about this before
because I’m, just from my own perspective, I think one of the things that, one of the
reasons that I switched, was um it was not this mono-culture of brewing wasn’t very
interesting to me anymore. Um, when you’re putting the same inputs in, and you’re
getting the same beer every single time. You’ve successfully created beer and
you’ve successfully replicated that over and over, and over again, and at some
stage for me I’m really fidgety, um, and I, I didn’t want that anymore. I wanted there
to be a certain amount of unpredictability. Um, as well as the fact
that I’ve always- I mean, I studied physics but I took the least amount of
math classes that I could. I did history and philosophy of science and then
some arts classes as well, um, because i mean I sort of like I throw clay
for pottery and things like that. I’ve always had this sort of other side to me outside of the
analytical point and this style of brewing, this sort of old-world Franco-
Belgian, or working with wild yeast, um, approach allowed for both of those things to happen in harmony. So, still there’s a, there’s an analytical
scientific approach to how I have to work with mixed culture yeast. I mean, it’s not all shooting from the hip, um, but then also there is a point where you have to give
the yeast your work and you just have to trust it and you have to work with
mother nature instead of mastering it. There’s this,
there’s a great um Belgian producer called Cantillon and Jean van Roy is the producer
there, the brewer and he um, he, he’ll always correct someone if they call him a
brew master and he’s like no ,no one masters this. Like what he does is, is
lambics. Its spontaneous fermentation. You, you enter into a partnership with
nature. You’re not engineering or domineering or, at all, and that was- yeah-
I like that. Some of the, the recipes in the exhibition and competition go back as
far as the 18th century and one thing we discovered when we were trying to convert
these into modern brewing recipes was the surprising lack of details on the
types of ingredients. Um, malt was malt, yeast was yeast, and hops were hops. That’s, that’s all the description you got.Um, we know that certain molts can possibly have
been used. Um, for example, brown malt was heavily used back, then but we
know that it has low diastatic power, which is the ability for the enzymes to
convert the starches into sugar. So it must have used another type of power
malt in there as well. So there’s must have been local knowledge that was
commonplace but felt so unnecessary that it wasn’t needed to be written down.
You mention on your website that much of your time in northern France and
Belgium and Wallonia were spent learning the old ways and the forgotten
techniques, um, from before pure yeast strains and mono-culture. So, how much of
the brewing you learnt was an oral tradition only and what were the more
interesting things that you discovered that really surprised you.
Yeah, no, um. Just – I’ll get to that – unpack a little bit and explain that to a lot of us malt is malt and hops are hops and yeast, well, and water is water, but there’s specifically with the the boom of the craft beer industry different varietals
of barley or different varietals of hops have become more famous for their
flavors than others and, and so you basically have a branding of- um, well it’s not- basically it is a branding of these certain -you know- US Cascade versus
Australian Cascade. Um, and so there’s this disconnect now between you know being
able to precisely shop for hop harvest and you know varietal than used to be. And
this is different than um, than a grape varietal uh variation. Um, these are, you know, Mosaic and Centennial, are closer than Tempranillo and Shiraz. Just as a, just as a, um, explanation.
Um, the, the part where you were asking about the oral tradition. It was funny, I was
just saying before we came in, I feel like a bit of a farce because, you know, I’ve
started brewing 2013 commercially. It hasn’t been that long of a, of a journey for
me. I hope to continue this for a lot longer. Um, but, uh, I mean by no means an expert and the reason I don’t feel like an expert is because a lot of things that I
have learned aren’t written down, and you know, beautiful books, and I don’t
know why we have this association with oral tradition or oral knowledge not
being as valid I guess as something that’s gone through the scientific process
or something. I don’t know. Or written down by someone that we trust but yeah, a lot of it was, um, a lot of times um you know having one day with, um, a producer like, like a
Brasserie de Blaugies which is another one very close to Thiriez and talking to
them just for a few hours about how they manage their
yeast and fermentation was probably some- that that you know is a more than books,
more than two books worth of information that you can sort of deconstruct, de-compact, and ask questions about either way. So um, the, the types of information that I pulled out of those, specifically the oral traditions um, or the sort of just
continuation or practice in France was mostly about yeast health and handling
of yeast. The, the French don’t , um, the French Belgians don’t- well the ones that I was
working with- didn’t handle their yeast so sterily as we would in a large
lager or production brewery. That’s not to say that they were unclean. It’s just
that they really saw their yeast as a living product rather than just a base
ingredient that they put in. So there was a frame, like a mind-set,
difference as well as um a sort of practicing difference. Ah, along from that in
in France and Belgium was an approach that was different. These people were
producing- and this is sort of less tactile than the ingredients- but they
were brewing because that was their job and they went home and they took out,
they look after their family and they’ve been doing this for you know, for
generations in the family. It wasn’t this um, you know, instagram marketing craft
beer sort of thing that we have now. It was just what they did. Just a trade. It
was just a trade and that was probably more influential talking about that and
understanding brewing is a, as a, process that you know fit the community. Or you
know fed in a way I guess as well nutrition and barley. But yeah, something that they provided just as much as the person down the road running the pharmacy part
of the community. That that was really really interesting. In Texas, back at
Jester King- sorry to take this really long… but um, the oral traditions, their work, were
were practice. I mean, these- it’s a new brewery, where Jester King was only 2009 I think they started. And they’ve been experimenting with the
things that they’ve been told and trying to create best practice with a modern
viewpoint on old world techniques that Jester King also ferments with mixed
culture fermentation’s. And so it was both of us just kind of looking at each other
and work with these brewers going “why do you do that?” And they said ” I don’t know
it just works” you know, and okay well let’s do that then for a while or me
questioning them and saying you know what why, why did you this? Oh, someone
told us to do it this way, and then you know some producer from Belgium told him that and so there’s been a- there is a lot of the community of people that practice
these such fermentation is pretty small. Um um, we all talk, yeah. And it’s, it’s quite
interesting to hear some of those things that you talk about because whenever we
read these recipes they’re all these sort of practices that you can’t understand
quite why they did it, but obviously it had some effect either for preserving
the wort before it went to – before it was boiled, um, so for example we have some
recipes where people recommended boiling hops in the water that you then plant
mash with- match with. You had people who added ginger to the mash, which obviously
it must have had some sort of preservative, um. Yeah. So these are things that we’re not
quite sure why they, why they happen. Probably just worked. The same with the, and the old, before we understood yeast. So you use the same brew paddle to just do your..
Yeah. The Scandinavian countries have these beautiful sort of lattice- like
wooden necklaces- almost they look they would drop into beer- fermenting
beer- and then drop into the next one.
Yeah amazing stuff. Yeah. I just want to talk a little about the role of
women in brewing, and I understand the irony of two men sitting here talking about the role of women. But before the
end of the 19th century when brewing – before brewing embraced the scientific process it was largely seen as a sort of a domestic activity. So women’s work. The same way that producing food for the house was a domestic activity. Um, and women often supplemented their household income by selling surplus beer. Now
gradually as brewing became more commercialized, the role of women in
brewing diminished. In a similar way, beginner beer was beginning to be seen as
man’s work and also as a man’s drink. Now with the craft beer industry we are seeing the considerable rise in the number of women who make up the market share for beer in
Australia and around the world. And, I was wondering what your observations were in
this and how wild flower growing fits in. Sure. Yeah, and women aren’t only making up the market share. They’re making up the employment side as well. I mean, we’re
very lucky as an industry to be attracting really great talent that also happen to be women. Anyway, um they are, it’s interesting and I think that that approach I was talking about the we learned in
Belgium, looking at this this is a trade or something I do just because it’s it is
what it is. Ah, I think that, that that approach is probably what influenced me most in, um, understanding beer as well. We’ll talk about a bit later, I’m sure. As a
preservation technique. And so it did make me think about this
industrialization. Taking these practices out of homes and into factories and
taking them away from- well- splitting up the genders in terms of who’s doing them
and then, um, and then you know as we continue. This is something
I was thinking about over here, which started a brewery. If you look at the growth or the sort of
development of beer marketing specifically from basically the 30s and
40s onward, it was so heavily made to be such a such a man’s drink. Um. It’s really
really funny, cause it’s not- that’s not what beer is and I don’t think that beer
needs to be something that’s, that’s only allowed, what was only enjoyed by one, by
one half of the population. Um. Ah, along with that, so along comes craft beer and
some of the, some of those breweries and and some of the beer that has been
being made is is far more gender-neutral. Not only marketing. There’s some pretty
horrendous marketing out there as well. Um, but there is you know generally a better sense of marketing um, from the from the beer side, but also from the brewery
side, but also from the base products as well being sort of more interesting
flavors. And, um, at wildflower one of the things that I saw happening in the craft
beer industry that I think what we do I guess in order to take this into
perspective. One of the things that I saw was there’s a lot of beers being made
out there that are just really over and aggressive. Think about like Triple- E
hop type or hugely boozy Russian imperial stouts. I don’t find those beers
all that attractive. I don’t like. I don’t like eating food with them because they
ruined my palate, and I mean my wife pointed out to me first she says like
I’ll never get close to that. Like, it’s just so offensive.
Um it’s so aggressive. It’s overt and so what we attempt to do at my brewery, and this is along with the wild yeast is express a lot of flavor without it being
demonstrative. Um, and and so I think what we do is we attempt to make beer that that
is subtle and nuanced and has balance and and has length. Um, you know, because my wife’s palette is a lot better than mine and I actually –
generally all of my friends who are women- or my family are women. And they
far better palettes than I do. They search for more in a drink than a male. And I, I
like to think about. I like to think about someone tasting my beer and then,
by the time they finish that glass or that bottle, tasting something
entirely different because the whole beer was developed. And I think that’s
what we’re really after. I mean, I, you’re right. It’s so ironic for two men
to be talking about this and I, I’d, you know, we do these tours of the
brewery and I talk about how this was a really important part to me in making
the beer that we do this this idea of being just a bit more androgynous in
terms of how we make the beer and how we do it. But I’m, but I’ve also know that it
could be this kind of like man-splanning thing even if- anyway, its a tough one. I have to say, my wife is my barometer for whether or not my beer is any good. She’s come up with
a whole new lexicon of descriptive words. So um, “good year” and um- is- one of hers. Do you get them in your mosaic hops IPAs? Yes, so it tastes a little bit rubbery. Tyres, yeah.
Its a good year. Yeah, um, so one of the images we have in the exhibit which we’ve got up
there is the Hogarth’s Gin Lane and beer street from 1751. Now these images strive
to demonstrate the virtues of beer- a relatively low alcohol drink compared
with that of gin which was recently introduced to England after William of
Orange occupied the British throne. So gin was cheap because it was made with
low quality barley um, that was unfit for beer production and therefore drunk in
quantity by the poor. Leading to much angst over the drunkeness and health
issues within that population. What is being
your experience during your travels with the traditions around beer as a staple
food item and the role it plays in the house. Yeah, um. I’m thinking too about your um table beer. Yeah, absolutely. So we make a beer at the brewery that we only
serve there as well which is 3% in alcohol. Um, so is a very very low alcohol
beer and it has.. Our attempt just to make it full flavor so it’s, it’s not- yeah- I
wouldn’t classify it as a mid strength even though that’s where it falls in
terms of alcohol level. Um, that, that beer comes from a tradition which is
something that I experience mostly, again, back in France. Brasserie Thiriez has a
2.9% table beer that every day during, during
lunch when we were at the brewery um, we with the boil would be going, hour long
lunch in France very, very important. Cannot be missed.
So we’d sit down and we’d drink, um, we’d drink the table beer during, during the middle
of the workday. And for some reason it really struck me as, like, this is crazy.
We’re drinking during the day, like, how it is. But, but you go back to work
and you really don’t. It’s, it’s not. It’s, it’s such a low alcohol content you
don’t feel it. Maybe a 330 mill bottle of a 2.9% beer might be an after dinner drink- maybe. Um. So that was my experience with it was was was not only there but um, but also in
Belgium there’s a tradition of table beers being produced for- like-
children at school and stuff like that and and I fell in love with this idea of beer
being a purpose drink rather than something that is only for its embibing.
And uh that’s why we we make the beer at the brewery is to kind of bring that
tradition a little bit to Australia. I’m
specifically with these two things, I kind of I totally said that. I was at a distillery shop in London. Well that’s the first time. It was called Sip Smith and there’s
that gin and um they were talking to me about it um, and how like you know this was, this was all propaganda and things like that. Um, well to a super large extent it was but at the same you know the beer industry wants to
be this thing held on in high regard. Um, you know, this so civilized as compared to
Gin Street. Um, but at the same time I kind of think about it now and think about,
like, if people, if people were brewing beers for sustenance and, and for you
know a beer is a food preservation technique rather than something just
embibing versus gin which, which isn’t and this is- I have a lot of
friends who make gin- so I’m not gonna go too far in this but, but its so higher in
alcohol. I mean there’s, there it doesn’t have the, the nutrients. It’s been
distilled so that fermented byproducts of fermentation that are healthy for you, um, that you might have in beer or wine aren’t there and so I
think there’s a thread of truth amongst all this propaganda. Um, but yeah the table beer is interesting in how it’s been responded to at least in the market when
I tell the story and get a chance to explain this product is being you know
something that that can be enjoyed and you can still drive and it’s not going
to taste like water and and and where it comes from people really really
appreciate it. But when you just drop it off at the table and or you send it off
to a bottle shop and someone buys it, it’s, it’s quite funny people who think
oh no, I can’t have a three-percent beer. A three percent craft
beer- no way like there’s gotta be nothing in that and it’s. I
brewed it today, well batch brewed it for me today and i think about it as well as
being this really non-consumptive product as well and we use literally
half of the amount of malt that you would use that I would use in making
another one of my viewers of 6% amber ale. We use less hops um, so you can imagine if you only had a certain amount of barley to harvest every year you can’t
just go buy something from an overseas bar- you know- grower or something like
that. Um, you know the economy was localized. Then you would want to get more length
out of those ingredients and so there’s another reason why low alcohol beers
make sense. And, and I mean lastly, we all ,well obviously water, water being not
totally safe to drink even with a small amount of malt, a small amount of sugar, a
3% -you know- table beer low-alcohol beer will last a lot longer than boiled water.
So it’s a more preserved water as well, as, as well, as small preservation of
barley so there’s a lot of use for these things and I think I think specifically
in Australia with , um, you know the hot weather or taxation methods here. I think
that they have a great place here and I’m actually really surprised I don’t
see more of them. But anyway it’s mine Yeah. Yeah it’s quite interesting that in
Eastern Europe, there’s a lot of tradition around low alcohol drinks like
vas, which is made from sourdough and is usually about 1%,um, which everybody
drinks. It’s, it’s, it’s on the street. You don’t need a license, yeah. So
it’s quite interesting where that alcohol as a preserving agent, and also
preventing illness from bad water , um, as a role in this, yeah. Absolutely
Um,so that’s, that’s my end of my question so I was hoping to throw it
open to the audience if anyone have any specific questions for Topher. In the Belgian tradition, in the lambic
halls of the fermentation halls, they, they allow other species to come in and take
part during fermentation. Like, generally
they refer to it as their ecosystem. So we’re talking
about spiders, mice and cats and, and everything. I thought you were talking about yeast species. Well, apparently, there are things going on outside the kegs.
I saw a nice photo of you sitting on some really brand new kegs. I was just wondering , are you going to get away with that in Australia? Are you letting it happen? Are you engineering that? That’s interesting. I haven’t heard
as much about that. I mean in terms of the larger sort of ecosystem. You hear about those ecosystems in cellars and wine. You know, the mold that grows and things
like that. I haven’t heard about it as much in beer but ah there is certainly
environmental influences from everywhere. Um, we, when we started the brewery, I sprayed all the timber in the brewery with finished beer that I really like to
inoculate my brewery with the yeast that I wanted to have. So in a way that the
brewery itself is like, the physical building, is part of our, part of our
process as well. It’s essential now to the flavor of the beer. Um, people
that have been making clean, you know, well, those are our Kozel in the Czech
Republic used to open ferment their lager until the
1990s. This is lager. This is a pure, pure strain fermentation but
they did it so long in these halls that every tile, everything was so impregnated
with that yeast that there was no risk of infection. Um, so it’s not
surprising with anyone talking about that. Um, you know. We, my wife’s pregnant
and shes having the baby in three weeks. I was learning at some classes or something like that, about the sort of bacterial baptism that a child gets from, from you
as a parent, um, when they’re born. I mean that this, your bacterial and
ecosystem is integral for a life of all kinds. So yeah, I mean do I, I’ve allowed
it in and I encourage it in the sense of spraying down the walls. Um, the, the beers made sanitarily and it will not affect your health, and the health
authorities do not need to come look at that. Yeah, it’s fine. Any other questions? Ah, reading some of the older recipes. They
seem to be really into adding eggs a lot. I think the last recipe we saw had six
eggs in the barrel for a year and have you heard of that being carried forward
into modern brewing? Or, have we dropped the dairy? Ah, maybe as a refining agent.
Yeah. I think that’s what we believe. It is the same way you would use floc tablets, or isinglass,
or Irish moss today. They use egg white. Yeah, so. I mean, I’m getting a few different
things why you might do that. So refining being clarification. So, uh, pulling out like
stripping out any- stripping- flocculating any yeast or an another sediment that’s
sort of around in the beer to drop into the bottom. So that when you rack off of
that, you have a clearer beer. However, I don’t, I actually don’t think they would
be not worried about the clarity of their beer at that stage. Um, I think there’s
probably also some, and this is a absolute shot in the dark so if anyone is a
yeast specialist please tell me. There – I reckon- there’s, there’s probably some yeast
health um things that you could get from, from, from eggs maybe some, some proteins that might help with phase formation or head formation or um yeast metabolism may be continuing a fermentation for longer bit of extra, different type of figures. I’m
not entirely sure. First, first idea would be in that. Um, as far as continuing it,
no. I’ve never done it um, and they’re sort of we use a icy glass which Matt was
talking about , which is a sort of, our Irish Moss icing class is different. We use
Irish moss in the kettle. Like literally moss to help pull out any
sort of, any extra sort of proteins that are hazing better while floating around so
that’s interesting. I wanted to look more at that though that’s. Six eggs and… and
..a breakfast bear that one. I think the shells are actually made out of calcium carbonate so that use it as a form of fighting against acidity. Yeah there’s
also, we know that certain minerals are important for yeast health. Yep. Um, so that’s why a lot of
the recipes have raisins added to the fermentation vessel cause its full of nitrogen and other types of minerals that the yeast feeds on. So my brother
cider in the states and there’s a traditional American cider with raisins
added which is not only for sugar and nutrients but dry grapes. Yeast is on the
skins of the grape. So um yeah, it could also be another source of that, that
yeast. Yeah. Fantastic. Have we got any other questions from the audience? Fantastic… One more? When you were searching for various
New South Wales yeasts, were you trying to get uh, any specific sources like wattle or
sort of anything representative of the state, or did you just go anything that starts
fermenting we’re gonna chuck in the beer? I didn’t have a great harvest off of one of the blossoms. So, yeah, we absolutely did. In terms of flowers, yeah, it was mostly, um,
native flowers that we would go for. I didn’t cut any more flowers for any um, you know, national parks or anything like that. It was an accident.
No nefarious things goes on there. Ah, but no, I mean, I was interested in using sort of more, um, wild flowers. So well, see in the States, we’ve done wild flowers with a lot of breweries. Native, native things. So grevillea was also really generous yeast, to native dandelions. I
don’t know.There’s some wild dandelions. Um, we’re- we’re were very generous as well. To be honest I can’t remember all the things. We were doing a lot of
different, um, batches. I’d have to go through, uh, all of my sources of yeast. But,
um, and all of my documentation. But there certainly were specific places
that you would look for yeast and specific places where you wouldn’t. Um, also different times of the year lend different um, sort of diversity of cultures
that you might collect. So in the summer time for example you might get, um, some more, um, bad stuff some more bacteria that doesn’t taste great. Um that
goes dormant in the winter. That you won’t collect in the winter.
Which is primarily in my opinion why I think that a lot of blossoms were so good. Um, but yeah I think um, we it’s took about a year to get this culture going and to
understand what it was, but I’m not preoccupied with maintaining it exactly
the way that it is. We have to accept a certain amount of drift because the
populations in the culture change themselves as well. Um, and so we’ll have another chance to do it this year. I’ve been really really busy, but I’ll continue to
go out and search for things. So if anyone thinks there’s some awesome source of yeast that they know of, please tell me and we’ll, we’ll capture some yeast off
of it and see what happens. Yeah. Any more questions? Alright, we might finish it off there. Did you- just before we finish- did you want to mention your collaborative beer?
Sure, yeah, yeah absolutely. Um, in, in October- well a few months ago-
we brewed a beer with a maltster from New South Wales and a hop grower from the far south coast of New South Wales. Um, and, uh we used our yeast and only our indigenous
cultures, our native cultures rather, than that that Belgian says on the strain that
I was talking about wasn’t a part of it. And so we’ve made a beer that, as far as
we know, is really the first modern day representation of an entirely state
driven beer. Uses things only from this state.
So it’s interesting. It’s sitting in a big 500 liter punch in right now- barrel
right now. But I will release that, yeah, in October so it’s just going to go.. it’s,
it’s a fascinating project in, because it shows a lot of maturity in the, in the
industry to be able to support local maltsters, hopsters, and people like me that are sort of crazy working with wild yeast. But anyway, yeah that’s, that’s gonna be a lot of fun. Great. Excellent. Well thank you Topher. Everyone give a round of applause. And if you haven’t
already had a chance to have a look at the exhibition on level one in the Rare
Books library, I encourage you to go down and have a look. There’s some fantastic
pieces down there, and those were just some images from some of the books that
are on display there. And I encourage any of you here if you’re interested in
brewing to enter the home brew competition um, which closes on the 24th of September. Um, all entries into Stave’s Brewery. We’re asking people to brew
recipes that we’ve pulled out from those rare books and put online and there’s
some great prizes in there. We’ve got day as a brewer at Staves and another
brewery. We’ve got home brew voucher packs. We’ve got merchandise packs, ah, brewery tours. It’s fantastic! So if you’re interested, get
brewing! Thank you very much!

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