The client

Pirate Life is a craft brewery, located in Adelaide. From humble beginnings, it has grown to be one of the most prominent craft breweries in Australia and is now an integral part of the Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) stable of craft brands owned by Asahi Beverages.

The challenge

The health and quality of a beer fermentation is largely influenced by the vitality of the yeast used to brew the beer. Monitoring and maintaining yeast vitality is critical to brewing efficiency and consistency and plays a significant role in determining the beer’s final flavour and aroma profile. Most breweries, however, do not have the capability or resources to achieve this in a timely and robust manner.

The solution

Affinity Labs was approached by Pirate Life to develop a customised micro quality control screening process for its beers and to develop cutting-edge methods to monitor and quantify yeast vitality as part of its yeast management program. This was achieved by using flow cytometry at different points during and post-fermentation across multiple generations of cone-to-cone re-pitching, to optimise the harvesting, propagation and pitching process.

The outcome

Pirate Life now has a well-established and efficient yeast management program and has implemented a rigorous micro quality control screening process for its entire beer range. The flow cytometry method can now be used to screen yeast vitality in source tanks prior to pitching, identify high-vitality cultures for priority brews and aid investigation into poorly performing fermentations.

“Ensuring our beer is of the highest quality is of utmost importance to Pirate Life, and Affinity Labs have been an integral resource and support system over the years. Their knowledge of microbiological processes, ability to adapt and assist with changing priorities, and excellent communication ensured we were able to develop a first-class microbiological plan without requiring the capital to start our own lab.”

Briony Nicholls, Quality Manager, Pirate Life