I have been reading a lot about wild fermentations over the past year so I decided to try my hand at capturing wild yeast. I read that you can have more predictable results by capturing yeast and building it up prior to pitching. So, early last Summer I prepared a sanitized bucket with sterile wort and gave it to a friend with a large garden. With a large rubber band I stretched a paint strainer like I use for hops over the top. He ended up setting the bucket under a pear tree for a few days. I picked up the bucket and left it alone for about a month. Then I added more wort. I continued adding wort over several months. After about 4 months I poured it into a gallon jug. Over the next month or so, I poured off the beer, checked the gravity and added more fresh wort. Each time I added more 1.040 wort, the gravity of the beer had dropped to about 1.008. After 6 months I had built up the yeast to almost 2 inches thick in the bottom of the gallon jug. At the same time I did this I also did the same thing on my deck with a bucket of apple cider. I built it up all the while too. It only had about 1 inch of yeast cake. Yesterday I brewed about 8 gallons of Lambic. I did a turbid mash as described by Michael Tonsmeire on his The Mad Fermentationist. I did not want to tie up another 2 carboys for the next year or so, so I just used 2 of the 4 gallon PET water bottles from Price Chopper. I just checked both of the fermentations and noticed a healthy bubbling in the air lock on the batch with the pear tree harvested yeast. There is also a nice head of foamy krausen in that one. The other batch does not look like it is doing much yet. Who know
.one of these, or both could end up being an amazing beer
..or toxic waste. Only time will tell. Stay tuned.