Dr. Chris White answers our questions about PurePitch Next Generation

Category : New
Date : June 18, 2021
Author : Chris White

White Labs Founder Chris White Discusses Innovation in Yeast


We hear that White Labs has something new for pro brewers. What’s all the buzz about?

Absolutely! Since our original announcement of PurePitch in 2014, we’ve been talking to brewers about their needs and watching the trends in brewing practices, all in a constant effort to innovate to bring brewers the highest quality yeast. Everything we do is about making the best yeast and getting it to brewers in the best condition possible. On Monday, we announced PurePitch Next Generation which is the culmination of all the input we gathered from brewers and a whole lot of innovation at White Labs.
PurePitch Next Generation is the premium yeast we’ve always offered, with improved packaging for ease of use and optimized cell count.
In other industries, a package change might be purely cosmetic, but in this case, the packaging is critical to the health of the yeast and allows our yeast to thrive. While some of the updates we made may look like simple cosmetic changes, like the addition of handles and a resealable port, they truly serve a purpose for brewers. There is a lot of science packed into this new packaging, and it’s all to make the highest quality, best performing yeast that is easier for brewers to use.

What improvements are brewers going to see with PurePitch Next Generation?

PurePitch Next Generation is superior to anything we have offered to date. We’ve continued to innovate how we deliver our yeast to customers because ultimately, we want our yeast to have the best performance for brewers.

Let me breakdown the improvements White Lab customers are going to see with PurePitch Next Generation:

It’s easier to use – The new PurePitch Next Generation packaging is equipped with handles at the top and bottom and a port with a resealable cap, making it easier for commercial brewers to pitch yeast. The size and weight of the new packaging make it even easier for brewers to use, and the resealable cap means no more climbing up and down a ladder with scissors! 

The yeast has more energy – Through process improvements and laboratory analysis, we increased the glycogen content of the yeast cells to give them more energy when starting a fermentation.

We optimized the cell count – PurePitch Next Generation provides a higher concentration of cells in every package, improved for the ways brewers are pitching today. PurePitch Next Generation is available in a new optimized 1.75L volume size made to contain 2.15 Billion cells / mL and designed to pitch 5 HL at a rate of 7.5 million cells / mL.

We improved the shelf life – PurePitch Next Generation features a new more breathable proprietary dual-layer film designed to allow for more effective off-gassing to reduce product inflation and deliver higher viability and shelf life for the yeast. While the industry standard shelf life is 2-4 weeks, PurePitch Next Generation achieves an impressive four-month shelf life.

It features on-demand QC data – The new packaging includes a QR code with on-demand quality control data including precise cell counts and lot-specific information, along with detailed usage instructions.

We provide customized pitch rates – The new online calculator available at yeastman.com ensures the perfect pitch rate, providing brewers with a customized recommendation based on their beer style, batch size, temperature, and gravity. 

It’s lab-friendly for in-house testing – The resealable port on PurePitch Next Generation makes it easy to remove a yeast sample for in-house or third-party lab analysis and it comes in a convenient size to fit under a hood. 

The product is supported by the best people – We have the teams at White Labs to help make customers’ yeast great – a combination of departments from Microbiology, Production, Packaging, White Labs Brewing Co, White Labs Analytical Laboratory, Education and R&D work together to make the best yeast on the planet.

What big trends in brewing have you been tracking and how did they influence the improvements you made with PurePitch Next Generation?

There are so many more beer styles than there used to be and the yeast we are making had to evolve to support those trends. Brewers are using more yeast and brewing colder than ever, calling for optimized cell counts to ensure perfect fermentation. PurePitch Next Generation allows brewers to pitch the types of beers they want to make, to their specifications, and the pitch calculator at yeastman.com allows brewers to customize their pitch recommendations based on the type of beer they’re brewing, the batch size, and their preferred temperature and gravity.

Let’s talk about the connectable port for a minute. Does this mean brewers can open and then reuse the yeast in PurePitch Next Generation?  

Yes, that’s exactly what it means. A lot of technology went into this port. Even though most brewers will use the full package, some will opt to use partials, and we wanted to support both. We designed a custom-sized integrated port with a breathable cap that allows brewers to open and pour the yeast they need and then reseal the package without seeing any decline in the viability of the yeast. The size of the port was optimized to ensure all our different yeast cultures can easily come out with minimal exposure to the environment. The port is intuitive and familiar to brewers everywhere, with brewers finding the port easier to use than cutting packages open with sterile scissors.
Again, most brewers aren’t going to use partials, but some might, so we’ve given them that option. The new pitch rate calculator at Yeastman.com always returns an even number, but brewers can use the pitching slider in the calculator if they want to pitch by cell count to adjust in the calculator and it will show the partial package measurements needed.

How do you “verify” the quality of PurePitch Next Generation yeast?

Our yeast cultures are lot controlled, go through 38 points of verified quality checks, and end with a complete QC of every lot after final packaging. A Certificate of Analysis with detailed data is available for every lot and package size, embedded in a QR code printed right on the PurePitch Next Generation package and stored on yeastman.com.
Retainer packs are held for 6 months from every lot to help answer any future questions and to be used in routine retainer QC checks, performed monthly. We always encourage customers to do their own testing as well, as should be done on all ingredients and batches, but we want to give customers the confidence of knowing what tests were done at White Labs, giving them full access to the information they need to “verify” quality.

What is the best way to grow yeast?

There are many ways to make yeast. With more than 25 years of scientific exploration and technological innovation in the art of fermentation under our belt, White Labs grows yeast our way; the right way, through our patented FlexCell Technology™. We patiently grow and test our yeast for 21 days to give customers optimum cell mass, physiology, and purity.
Physiology is most important for flavor and for the ability for the customer to reuse the yeast.
The purity of the yeast is also extremely important; the yeast is not released until after final verified QC.
Our 38-point quality check continues to ensure the viability and freshness of our yeast, and customers can check the detailed and easy-to-read Certificate of Analysis with cell count, yeast viability, and microbiological verification on-demand through the QR code printed right on our PurePitch Next Generation packaging.

What does the packaging have to do with the health of the yeast brewers receive?

We make yeast fresh, and it undergoes quality control every day with most strains available for shipping within four days. It is propagated in our proprietary FlexCell Technology with ideal nutrients and minimal oxygen pickup to give viability six times longer than yeast collected from a fermentation. From there, the PurePitch Next Generation packaging ensures customers receive healthy, viable yeast with enhanced breathability minimizing yeast stress and maintaining high levels of glycogen for continued healthy yeast cells.
PurePitch Next Generation has an industry-leading shelf life of 4-months, compared to the industry standard of 2-4 weeks, due to the unique way we make the yeast, our packaging film, and our shipping methods.

What is the total cell count brewers can expect in PurePitch Next Generation?

The new 1.75L volume PurePitch Next Generation pouch is made to contain 2.15 Billion cells / mL, designed to pitch 5 HL at a rate of 7.5 million cells / mL. PurePitch Next Generation gives customers a consistent cell count they can count on, allowing brewers to more accurately pitch the perfect fermentation.

Is the new 1.75L size significant for any reason?

Professional brewers buy from us to pitch a specific batch size. The new 1.75L size provides flexibility for brewers to achieve a more effective pitch rate by allowing them to order multiple units.
When considering brewers order by liters it’s important to understand not every liter produced by each yeast company provides the same number of cells/ml. With this in mind, White Labs believes it is best to focus on the number of units you need with our cell count, to get the optimum number of cells/ml in your beer. 

What difference does White Labs’ FlexCell™ technology bring to the brewing process?

The FlexCell process leads to the most verifiably superior yeast available to brewers. Through our patented FlexCell process, PurePitch Next Generation yeast cultures are propagated in White Labs’ proprietary flexible reactors and sterile, nutrient-rich wort to create numerous healthy cells. This method of production ensures the prevention of oxygen uptake and environmental exposure.   

What makes White Labs yeast a premium product in the industry?

When it comes to yeast, we know verifiable quality and consistency are most important to our brewery customers. With PurePitch Next Generation our customers are getting premium quality, performance, technical support, and customer service – all 100% verified. Order after order, customers will continue to receive verifiable quality due to the 38 quality checks done before their yeast is shipped to them.

When is PurePitch Next Generation available and where can brewers find it?

PurePitch Next Generation is available today at yeastman.com! We’ve launched with two of our most popular strains to start with: WLP001 – California Ale Yeast, White Labs’ best-selling yeast, famous for its clean flavors and hardy fermentations, and WLP066 – London Fog Ale Yeast, White Labs’ go-to strain for Hazy IPAs. Check back often for more releases.

What’s next from White Labs?

You can expect White Labs will continue to innovate to meet the evolving needs of our customers. We’re already back in the lab exploring how we can put all the innovations behind PurePitch Next Generation to work in our homebrew line in the future, and we continue to push the envelope developing the next technology for professional brewers to pitch yeast. We can’t wait to reveal the next innovations around PurePitch Next Generation and beyond.