In a strange busy-street-meeting-another-oddly section of Chicago that seems forgotten, in a windowless… lets say office, science is happening. Among rows of jugs on stir plates, flying air hoses, is a small chemlab strewn about 100 sqft is Omega Yeast Labs. The first of its kind in Chicago and the midwest. But that isn’t the focus of our short tale – it’s their hybrid saison yeast.
Far beyond my comprehension is the development and breeding of yeasts and their inability to sex one another for some sort of reason. Most yeast labs work their way around that by crafting blends, Omega has basically crafted an entirely new strain by getting two unattractive partners to mate. The two partners: the famed 3711 and notorious staller 3724. 3711 is known for it’s simply lovely pepper meets citrus, where 3724 plays a bubblegum and mild fruit. OYL-500 does both.
Honestly – it’s wonderful.
At a local homebrew club meeting he came by and sold off a heap of pitches to the masses, I missed the meeting, but went to the “lab” to pick mine up. I got one for B Hall and one for me. I slated a wheat beer for Mary’s and pitched OYL-500 at let it roll in the low 60s. Back at the next LHBC meeting, many versions of the hybrid yeast were showcased – all with impressionable heavy pink-bubblegum flavor. Not that I don’t enjoy that profile, but having a full 4 gallons made me worry.
Time passed, I bottled my version and cracked one a last week, and in a word: elegant. The other half of the batch was wb-06 (a wheat yeast) with vanilla and lavender so comparison is muddled at best; but it’s refreshing in a ‘cannot wait for 90f’ kind of way. Dry, but not sharp – I bottled it with 3vols of co2 for a punchy sparkler. The pepper is mild and more misc “spice” than anything, with a kind of nodding floral note that I just adore.
Due to its ‘newness’ and pain-in-the-ass-to-getabiltiy, it’s unlikely to become my go-to saison yeast, but it will for sure have a home in my summer saisons. OYL-500 is complex enough yet not overbearing to gain my admiration and will keep a keen eye on getting more (after I wear my collection out).