Sourdough derived strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and their potential for farmhouse ale brewing

Martina Catallo, Jarkko Nikulin, Linnea Johansson, Kristoffer Krogerus, Mika Laitinen, Frederico Magalhães, Marjokaisa Piironen, Atte Mikkelson, Cinzia L. Randazzo, Lisa Solieri, Brian Gibson (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The Finnish farmhouse ale sahti is unique in that it is fermented with baking, rather than brewing strains of Saccharomyces cerevisae. The custom of maintaining farmhouse yeast cultures is however no longer practiced in Finland, and much yeast derived diversity in sahti beers has presumably been lost as a consequence. Here, the brewing potential of a number of sourdough derived strains was tested with respect to a number of different fermentation traits. Seven strains originally isolated from Finnish or Italian sourdough cultures were used to ferment high gravity sahti wort (20°P), and fermentation performance together with production of volatile compounds were assessed and compared with a reference baking yeast. Strains differed in terms of fermentation rate, yield, yeast viability and beer flavour profile. All were maltotriose positive, but utilisation varied so that alcohol yield could be greater or lower than that of the reference strain, with values ranging from 6.6 to 7.9% (v/v). Production of aroma compounds was also variable so that it was possible to identify strains producing high levels of esters and those with lower production, which could be used to emphasise flavours originating from raw materials. All strains generated 4-vinyl guaiacol and so would be suitable for other beers where this is a part of the normal flavour profile. Results suggest that sourdough isolates of S. cerevisiae are suitable for sahti production, but could also be applied to other beer styles as a way to differentiate products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-175
JournalJournal of the Institute of Brewing
Issue number2
Early online date21 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


This work was supported by Fonds Baillet Latour, the Alfred Kordelin Foundation, Svenska Kulturfonden – The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, and Suomen Kulttuurirahasto.


  • farmhouse ale
  • fermentation
  • flavour
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • sahti
  • sourdough


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