New Hop Unlock – Thiol-producing yeast

Brick Brewery in Peckham, London were among a handful of lucky breweries who jumped at the chance to develop a collab beer with Brook House Hops as part of trial for the revolutionary new Hop Unlock liquid yeast from WHC Labs.

“We’re thrilled to have collaborated with Brook House Hops on an English-hopped, thiolised IPA that we will be releasing mid-August 2022.

It’s one of the first commercial beers in the UK to use brand new liquid yeast ‘Hop Unlock’ – a thiolised yeast strain from WHC Labs which enables access to previously unattainable thiols”

What are Thiols?

Thiols are naturally occurring flavour/aroma compounds that can be found in hops and malts. Different hop and malt varieties will contain different thiols in varying quantities. Many of these thiols are classed as “unbound” which means that during the normal brewing process they will be released into the beer imparting the flavours and aromas that brewers need.

However there are also many “bound” thiols which although present, usually have little noticeable impact on the finished beer. It is these ‘bound’ thiols that have the potential to release more powerful, and in some cases, completely new flavours and aromas profiles from the same ingredients. Hop Unlock contains enzymes that can free these previously unattainable thiols and offer a myriad of new brewing opportunities for brewers.  

Tom, Head Brewer at Brick Brewery is a big fan of yeast and the magic of fermentation and heard about thiolised beers gaining popularity in the US. After speaking with WHC Labs, with whom they have a long-standing relationship, he was keen to try an experimental brew with Hop Unlock using British hops to see if it was possible to access previously hidden flavour compounds and supercharge the humble British hop in the process. This would also have the added benefit of utilising local hops and a more sustainable alternative source of ingredients.

The final hop selection included hops with high volumes of bound thiols comprising UK Challenger, UK Chinook from Brook House Hops alongside Cascade leaf, Idaho 7 Cryo and T90 Riwaka and Eclipse.  

The flavour and aroma target was white grape, lychee, mango, passionfruit flowers and Brick Brewery followed the 4 step hopping process – mash hopping, whirlpool, declaration hopping and dry hopping to maximise the effect of the yeast and unlock as much flavour as possible.

Brick Brewery will be launching Thiolised IPA in mid-August 2022.

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