Photo/Illutration Hiroshi Takagi, right, who developed a new beer yeast, and Ken Ichihashi, who completed the new craft beer, unveil the product in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture, on July 15. (Makoto Ito)

IKOMA, Nara Prefecture--For a craft beer with a kick, researchers at a national graduate school university here helped develop a special yeast with high fermentation performance.

The team members joined hands with the Nara-based Golden Rabbit Beer brewery to produce the craft beer.

Accelerating the fermentation process helps to reduce production costs, they said.

The yeast was developed by Hiroshi Takagi, a professor of microbiology and other members of the Laboratory of Applied Stress Microbiology at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology.

They took note of proline, a type of amino acid contained in yeast cells that protects them from drying and oxidizing as well as osmotic pressure, which can destroy cells by saturating them with water.

In doing so, the team members were able to develop a yeast with high proline content by improving commercially available beer yeasts.

They discovered that the fast-fermenting yeast can shorten the brewing process by about a week when it normally takes a month.

"We want to analyze the mechanism in more detail to make use of the yeast for the creation of an original craft beer in Nara Prefecture," Takagi said.

Ken Ichihashi, 40, head of Golden Rabbit Beer, spent about a year to commercialize the craft beer.

The single hop and single malt English pale ale is called Kaguyama, inspired by one of the three mountains collectively known as Yamato Sanzan in Nara Prefecture.

A 330-milliliter bottle sells for 693 yen ($6.30), including tax.

With an alcohol content of 4.5 percent, the beverage is said to have a pleasingly light mouthfeel and pleasant finish.

The brewery produced 800 bottles for the first batch, which are also available online.

For more information, visit the official website at (