The potential of yeasts isolated from traditional chichas as starter cultures, either for controlled production of the native beverage or for industrial beer production, has been investigated. Three S. cerevisiae strains and one T. delbrueckii strain isolated from four different Ecuadorian chichas were compared to ale and lager beer strains with respect to fermentation performance, sugar utilisation, phenolic off-flavour production, flocculation and growth at low temperature. Fermentations were performed in 15 °P all-malt wort and in a model chicha substrate at 12 °C and 20 °C. Tall-tube fermentations (1.5 L) were also performed with both substrates to assess yeast performance and beer quality. Among the strains tested, only one Ecuadorian S. cerevisiae strain was able to ferment the wort sugars maltose and maltotriose. Fermentations with all Ecuadorian strains were poor in wort at 12 °C relative to 20 °C, but were similar in model chicha substrate at both temperatures. The aromatic profile was different between species and strains. These results indicate the potential of yeasts derived from traditional Andean fermented beverages for commercial applications. One of the chicha strains demonstrated traits typical of domesticated brewery strains and could be suitable for ale fermentation, while the other strains may have potential for low-alcohol beer or chicha production.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae