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Old 02-05-2009, 10:11 PM   #1
ericd
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Default Howto: Capture Wild Yeast

Figured I'd post this since everytime I mention it in the forums I get tons of questions. It's very easy to capture your own wild yeast. This is different than lambic brewing, since you can make "regular" styles with it (with a bit of a twist)! I love using the wild yeast I captured this way, it will eat its way thru anything.

Step 1) Clean & sanitize an empty glass jar.

Step 2) In it mix up a bit of DME with warm water. Not much, you want the gravity of the mixture to be 1.030 at most. You could try boiling it with a bit of hops, but I didn't do it that way.

Step 3) Leave it by an opened window until you start seeing bubbles and foam on top (I think it took me about 2 weeks). Awesome! Your culture of your local wild yeast is ready! You can now use it to start a beer!

How long you leave it out will affect what you get. If you use it right after you first start seeing signs of life (2 weeks) you will just get wild yeast. Leave it out longer and you will get other things in it. This is what happens (from Lambic by Guinard):

(3 to 7 days) Enteric Bacteria and Kloeckera Apiculata
(2 weeks) Saccharomyces
(3 to 4 months) Lactic Acid Bacteria
(8 months) Brettanomyces plus Pichia, Candida, Hansenula and Cryptococcus

Note that a group of microbes take over from the previous one, so for example, at two weeks, Saccaromyces has completely taken over and there is no Enteric Bacteria or Kloeckera left in your culture.

Ok well, now you know everything about capturing your own wild yeast! Hope it helped!

Added this to the wiki

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Old 02-05-2009, 11:48 PM   #2
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This sounds cool.

Here are some questions;

  • Where do you live? (city & state)?
  • What style would you say that you made? (Closest resemblance)
  • What yeast flavor profiles have you gotten?
    • Sour/Tart/Bitter
    • Clove/Banana
    • Bubble Gum
    • Yeasty
    • Fruity/Dry
    • Other
  • What temps did you conduct the ferment?
    • Was it fast or slow
  • Was this a cloudy beer or clear?
  • Have you done this more than once
    • If so, did you get the same results?
    • What batch sizes?
I'm interested in your comments.....

I have read about making yeast from fruits.

For Cider: This is where you boil a quart of water, cool, soak 1/2 lb raisins for a bit 5-7 days. Soak warm 70-75. Pour-off or pitch only the liquid as starter. Good for 10 gallons
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:23 AM   #3
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Here are some questions;

  • Where do you live? (city & state)?
    Norman Oklahoma
  • What style would you say that you made? (Closest resemblance)
    Double Wit
  • What yeast flavor profiles have you gotten?
    • Sour/Tart/Bitter
      A Little Lactic Sourness
    • Clove/Banana
      Haven't noticed any
    • Bubble Gum
      YES, especially at higher gravities
    • Yeasty
      Yes, yeasty/cardboard
    • Fruity/Dry
      Vague topical/semitropical fruits. (Pineapple, mango, citrus etc)
    • Other
    Funk of course, spices
  • What temps did you conduct the ferment?
    • Room temp (75F), but i'd go a little lower if i could.
    • Was it fast or slow
    FAST, wild yeast is HUNGREH!!!!
  • Was this a cloudy beer or clear?
    Cloudy, they are not well behaved.
  • Have you done this more than once
    • YES, I've been propagating my culture along for more than a year from batch to batch.
    • If so, did you get the same results?
      Yes, it's the same culture so you can expect similar results.
    • What batch sizes?
    1 gallon, then 4.5 gallon now.
I'm interested in your comments.....

I have read about making yeast from fruits.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:54 AM   #4
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This is very cool. I'll have to give it a try once it decides to stay above freezing for 2 weeks.

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Old 02-06-2009, 01:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericd View Post
Here are some questions;
  • Where do you live? (city & state)?
    Norman Oklahoma
  • What style would you say that you made? (Closest resemblance)
    Double Wit
  • What yeast flavor profiles have you gotten?
    • Sour/Tart/Bitter
      A Little Lactic Sourness
    • Clove/Banana
      Haven't noticed any
    • Bubble Gum
      YES, especially at higher gravities
    • Yeasty
      Yes, yeasty/cardboard
    • Fruity/Dry
      Vague topical/semitropical fruits. (Pineapple, mango, citrus etc)
    • Other
    Funk of course, spices
  • What temps did you conduct the ferment?
    • Room temp (75F), but i'd go a little lower if i could.
    • Was it fast or slow
    FAST, wild yeast is HUNGREH!!!!
  • Was this a cloudy beer or clear?
    Cloudy, they are not well behaved.
  • Have you done this more than once
    • YES, I've been propagating my culture along for more than a year from batch to batch.
    • If so, did you get the same results?
      Yes, it's the same culture so you can expect similar results.
    • What batch sizes?
    1 gallon, then 4.5 gallon now.
I'm interested in your comments.....

I have read about making yeast from fruits.
Wow... thats cool! So how many generations would you say you've done now? And the flavor profile hasn't changed much if any from the original batch?
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:56 AM   #6
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It's been so long since I first "caught" it that I can't say if it's changed or not. Nothing to compare it too. I biggest change in flavor profiles I've noticed is between low/high gravity batches.

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Old 02-06-2009, 05:00 AM   #7
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You know the funny thing about this is what you have captured makes a Wit.

What I might capture could be Saison, Biere De Guarde or some other Farmhouse.

I may have to try this.

I wonder what difference there would be done indoors now vs spring air in April....

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Old 02-06-2009, 02:45 PM   #8
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This Is AWESOME!!!!
Have a few questions though:
Does time of the year matter? and are there different strains active at different out side temps? does wild yeast go dormant, hence less available in the colder months?

I might be interested in trying this for a small 1 gal batch as a test. have some amber dme I need to get rid of....

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Old 02-06-2009, 04:29 PM   #9
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I once sat a glass of extra wort after filling a fermentor on a windowsill and left it for a week or two. It became moldy on top so I threw it out. I am going to experiment with wild yeast again in the spring with hopefully better results. A suggestion I heard from someone that excites me is to plate the culture you develop in order to separate the different strains. You could then use each unique colony to make a monoculture of that particular strain, and test each.

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Old 02-06-2009, 05:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrfish View Post

Does time of the year matter? and are there different strains active at different out side temps? does wild yeast go dormant, hence less available in the colder months?
Well I've only done this once but it worked great. I noticed right after I captured it and got familiar with its smell that it was EXACTLY how the air smelled outside just concentrated. So I'd do it when the air smelled good outside.

Quote:
You know the funny thing about this is what you have captured makes a Wit.

What I might capture could be Saison, Biere De Guarde or some other Farmhouse.

I may have to try this.

I wonder what difference there would be done indoors now vs spring air in April....
Yeah, there's really no telling. I haven't had any Farmhouse ales because they aren't available in my area but I use it to make a big, funky wit and I like it so whatever.
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