We’ve teamed up with Marañón Chocolate to bring you one of our sweetest Vault strains yet: WLP546 Marañón Canyon Wild Cacao. This unique strain was isolated and produced rare cacao variety—Pure Nacional—that was once thought to be extinct in Peru, and is the first known wild cacao yeast available to make artisan beer!
The coveted cacao bean was rediscovered in late 2007 by Dan Pearson and Brian Horsley, founders of Marañón Chocolate, while sourcing tropical fruits in the remote Marañón Canyon of Northern Peru. Not knowing what they stumbled upon, the pair sent the cacao tree leaves to the USDA Genetics Laboratory. USDA confirmed it was the same variety that had once dominated the chocolate market, but vanished in 1916 when diseases struck and killed the trees that grew these cacao beans.
Then, in 2015 and 2016, El Niño weather systems hit Peru, impacting the wild yeast responsible for the beans renowned characteristic flavor. To preserve the wild microflora, Dan reached out to our technical laboratory manager, Kara Taylor, to see if we could capture the wild yeast from fermenting beans. Spoiler alert: we did.
From there, they asked the next obvious question, can it be used to make beer? While the odds of the strain being able to ferment maltose while tasting and smelling good were slim, our team gave it a go and much to our delight, it worked!
Alcohol Tolerance: Medium (5 – 10%)
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 65.00-75.00°F (17-22°C)