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2017 Master Brewers Conference
23. Zinc in fermentation

Joe Kinney, F.X. Matt Brewing Co., Utica, NY, U.S.A.

Yeast, Fermentation, and Microbiology II
Thursday, October 12
3:30–5:15 p.m.

Brewer’s yeast is both a very simple and very complicated microorganism. Although we meet yeast’s basic nutritional requirements with wort and oxygen, zinc is rarely abundant enough for optimal fermentation and health. Brewers may overlook the importance of zinc and its role in making quality beer. Zinc affects cellular growth, metabolism, fermentation rate, viability, and flocculation. Zinc is a cofactor for enzymes involved in alcohol production and also plays a role in extracellular activity. Different strains of yeast may require more or less zinc, with ales typically requiring more than lagers. Often, an insufficient amount of zinc is dosed into a brewer’s wort. Here we will describe a basic method for determining the proper dosage of supplemental zinc for any strain of yeast.

Joe has held the position of microbiologist for F.X. Matt Brewing Co. for more than four years. He holds a B.S. degree in biology and an M.S. degree in molecular biology from the University at Albany. Prior to analyzing beer, Joe worked in the quality control group for a pharmaceutical laboratory. He has yet to find a beer style he does not enjoy.

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