News from the Lab
By Neva Parker
Lab supervisor Neva Parker's job
includes developing the computer program called "Yeastman."
The program, developed specifically for White Labs, uses barcodes to
follow yeast strains through the entire culturing process, allowing
employees to track strains through each step of testing and growth.
With the addition of wireless handheld PDA devices,
multiple users are now able to access the Yeastman interface to perform
lab and production functions. This new feature allows up to three
technicians to perform tasks using the PDAs and all of the information
is sent live to the Yeastman program.
These PDAs have the ability to not only track yeast
production, but they are able to record testing results, cell counts,
and viability of our cultures. With this function, an all-encompassing
Quality Control Report can be generated, specific to each customer.
Another advantage of Yeastman is that the PDAs can operate under the
extreme temperatures in the cold room, where a lot of our work takes
In the future, we hope to link the inventory module
in Yeastman to our sales desk, so that they may also see what yeast
strains are in production and when they will be available for shipping.
We will put in place a yeast reservation system that will allow our
sales staff to give a customer an immediate response when they have a
last minute request.
New Brewing System
White Labs is expanding its testing abilities through
the use of a new pilot brewing system. In July, White Labs took
possession of a complete brewing system from Beer, Beer, and More Beer.
It is a 20-gallon all-grain system with four 5-gallon stainless,
temperature-controlled, cylindroconical fermentation vessels. While we
have done a lot of lab-scale fermentation trials in the past, this new
system will allow us to replicate real brewing conditions and get better
We will be able to perform a number of fermentation
trials – same wort with different yeasts, different fermentation
temperatures, wort trials, enzyme trials, etc. With the digital controls
of the brew system, we will be able to manage certain properties of the
brew and study how one variable can affect fermentation. We hope to gain
more information about our products so that we can better aid the
And of course, we at White Labs love beer and we like to brew! Not
only will this be a great tool for us in the lab, but we will be able to
enjoy the end products.