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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Culturing Wild Yeast
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
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Default Culturing Wild Yeast

A buddy of mine has been doing sourdough, and thought he'd try a similar process to get the critters off of grain husks. Anyone done this and gotten a real strain of yeast? I've heard that you can make a sour mash this way, but would that ferment out to make something drinkable??

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Old 01-29-2009, 09:45 PM   #2
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Probably not. Wild yeast works with cider, because apple juice only has simple sugars. Breweries that talk about using wild yeast typically have been in business long enough that their business is saturated with a few strains.

If he decides to go forward, I would recommend making a batch of wort, splitting it into pint-sized quantities and then adding a little un-mashed grain to each.

Oh, and tell him to keep it away from the sourdough starter.

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Old 01-30-2009, 02:10 AM   #3
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I dont think there has been much success in culturing localized wild strains. I've heard of some poeple trying to spontaneously ferment without much effort. The biggest problem is being consistent. The yeast present in Belgium breweries are completely different from what might be floating around your house.

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Old 01-30-2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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I've had some great success with wild yeasts captured off of organic fruits (apples and peaches so far), but I have fermented through then washed them a few times, and have only used 'em for ciders so far. Although I have wanted to make a "Belgian Dirty Blonde" with the best wild strain I've got.

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Old 01-30-2009, 06:02 PM   #5
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Good points, all. I think the question taps into the DIY nature of a homebrewer-- this yeast had to come from somewhere, so why can't I do it, dammit?

The fruit skins and yeast-washing regimen sounds the best, or better than one posting about the fact that bird droppings contain wild yeast...

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Old 01-30-2009, 07:59 PM   #6
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I've been meaning for some time to boil up some DME into about a 1.040 wort, and then pour it into several sanitized mason jars. Cap them then take them around to several locations, open them up, and let them sit for a day. Then bring them back home and see if they ferment. If so, I might be able to use the yeast in a beer. I imagine you could capture some of the essence or character of a location by harvesting the yeast present in the area. For instance, I imagine yeast captured in a meadow would give floral, perhaps grassy aromas. Yeast from deep in the woods my lend an earthy, woody character. Yeast from a farm or barn might be kind of funky and yeast from an orchard fruity. I'm not sure how well this theory will hold up, but it would be fun to try.

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Old 01-30-2009, 08:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
I've been meaning for some time to boil up some DME into about a 1.040 wort, and then pour it into several sanitized mason jars. Cap them then take them around to several locations, open them up, and let them sit for a day. Then bring them back home and see if they ferment. If so, I might be able to use the yeast in a beer. I imagine you could capture some of the essence or character of a location by harvesting the yeast present in the area. For instance, I imagine yeast captured in a meadow would give floral, perhaps grassy aromas. Yeast from deep in the woods my lend an earthy, woody character. Yeast from a farm or barn might be kind of funky and yeast from an orchard fruity. I'm not sure how well this theory will hold up, but it would be fun to try.
If you did this it might be worthwhile to culture the collected yeast on plates so you can select single colonies to try in another batch.
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