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News from the Lab

By Neva Parker
White Labs


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.

Yeastman Updates

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 place.

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 results.

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 brewing community.

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.