Q&A with Omega Yeast Labs Founder and CEO Lance Shaner
Like many of you, part of why I brew beer is to experiment and create new recipes. Sure, we all have our favorites, but even then, changing up a few of the ingredients can yield surprising results.
Yeast is obviously the most crucial. After all, we’d just have sugary wort without it. So when Northern Brewer announced that we would soon be carrying Omega Yeast Labs, and that we’d have their entire ProBrew catalog, I was excited. I found myself creating an ever growing list of strains I want to try.
Yet I still had a lot of questions about Omega and who they are. So after consulting with my fellow brewers, I reached out to Lance Shaner, the Founder and CEO of Omega Yeast Labs, with some of our questions.
Lance very graciously obliged.
The Omega website talks a little bit about your background in research. Would you mind sharing a bit more about that experience and how you moved into the brewing industry?
What was the inspiration for starting Omega Yeast Labs?
Where did the name “Omega” come from? Why did you decide on that?
How much has the lab grown since you first started?
Can you share what breweries are using your yeast and which strains?
With my obvious Scandinavian heritage, I’m curious about the two Norwegian proprietary strains; “HotHead” and “Voss Kveik”. How did you come across them and develop them for your line?
There’s been a lot of buzz about the “HotHead” yeast, especially the tolerance for higher fermentation temperatures. What else can you tell us about it?
How do you go about creating your proprietary blends, such as Where Da Funk? Do you have specific flavors in mind from the start?
You also offer a Hybrid Series, such as the Saisonstein’s Monster? Can you tell us how a hybrid strain is developed?
Of your entire line of yeast, which one was the hardest to isolate and bring to the market?
Is there a specific reason you chose to offer 150 billion cells per package (50% more than other suppliers)?
What do you recommend for shelf life of your product, to ensure viability?
Do you still recommend that home brewers prepare a yeast starter for their beer, even with the high cell count at packaging?
As a homebrewer yourself, which one is your favorite strain? Do you have a favorite beer style?
Thank you for your time, Lance.
Be sure to check out all 75 of the Omega Yeast strains at northernbrewer.com. 58 of them are ProBrew strains, previously unavailable to homebrewers. If you have any strain-specific questions, contact our Brewmasters at 800-681-2739 or via SMS/text at 424-273-9699.