They make sure that
the best stays the best
Yeast is a living cell, visible only under the microscope. It multiplies by splitting
into two cellswhich in turn split into four, and so on. The big problem with yeast is
preventing a wild yeastor some other microorganism from getting into the pure
culture. Such an impurity would mean that you would lose all control over how the
yeast did its work in converting sugars into alcohol.
It took until the second half of last century before it was discovered that there were
ways of keeping a yeast culture completely pure whilst it multiplied.
Take the A strain.
The quality of Heineken beer is governed to a large extent by the yeast used during
brewing. Many yeast strains exist, in the same way that there are many different
varieties of plant seeds or bulbs in the world. In 1886 the Heineken A" yeast was
isolated from all these strains and was cultured separately. This "A" strain still
exists today and is used exclusively for Heineken beer, wherever it is produced.
Yeast is so vital in brewing because it mainly determines the flavour characteristics
of Heineken beer. If another yeast were used, the difference in the beer's aroma
and taste would undoubtedly be noticed. No wonder, then, that Heineken's "A"
yeast is carefully cultured in Holland. The required quantities of yeast are
airfreighted out at regular intervals to our Heineken beer production units, which
can then use each batch for a limited series of brews; then the cycle starts again with
afresh batch of A" yeast from Holland.
Without its yeast Heineken would never have become the beer it is today!
which Quality Control can say where
things went wrong.
Tasters can give their verdict on the taste of
a drink, but their sense of taste cannot tell
them whether the raw materials used in
that drink, like malt, though seemingly
good, are still suitable for use in brewing.
Therefore the help of the laboratory is
needed to test the suitability of these raw
materials using very small scale brewing
equipment, which produces only a few
bottles at a time. These beers can then be
checked and tasted as to their quality. At
Zoeterwoude the laboratories cover many,
many rooms in which dozens of people are
constantly busy checking that all is going
well with our production and with that of
our associated companies.
But more is done to maintain quality
standards. Since it is an element in the
overall quality of our products, the pack
must also be first class. Good beer in a
bottle with a badly printed label in colours
which differ from the standard
specifications creates a bad impression.
Poor-quality board for the cartons or an
inferior grade of paper for the labels
detract from the image that the consumer
has built up about our brand over the
years. They also detract from all the effort
put in over many, many years by the
employees of the Quality Control Section
and similar departments to ensure that
Heineken tastes the same the world over.
For an unvarying high quality is a must for
a product that is loved and in demand
throughout the world.
Gas chromatography apparatus enables
identification of flavour components.