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Old 01-23-2011, 11:07 PM   #1
andymi86
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Default When to use wild yeast

So after reading some of the threads on here I decided I wanted to try to capture some wild yeast. I made a small batch of ~1.030 wort with a bit of leftover hops added and I added the skin from an organic honeycrisp apple and a little honey. Without high hopes I figured at best I get something and at worst Im out a bit of malt extract.

On Friday I started to see what looked like krausen, so I pulled the apple skins out. By yesterday evening there was about a half inch of krausen



So my question is...how long should I left this sit before I start stepping it up to use it?

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Old 01-23-2011, 11:21 PM   #2
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I used 1/4 lb of honey to brew a two gallon batch. I'm figuring I had an almost imperceptible amount of yeast and the first brew came out great. Wild yeast hasn't read the book on proper pitching rates. It's really hungry, and much less picky than cultivated, commercial yeast strains, at least in my experience. I'd pitch what that starter yields into a batch of something 1.040 or so and see what shakes loose.

My first wild batch was in a lightly hopped american wheat beer. I made a starter off some of the bottle dregs from that and made the best APA I've ever had. The only problem I found with mine is that it doesn't flocculate all that well, so the beer ands up a bit hazy.

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Old 01-24-2011, 12:11 AM   #3
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Nice. I like the rubber grommet in the metal lid. Pitch it!

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Old 01-24-2011, 01:11 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips, and for the comment on the airlock. It's not perfect, but it seals well.

I guess I should expand on the first question a bit. I would like to brew a 5 gallon batch of saison with this in two to three weeks after I transfer my IIPA to secondary and my better bottle is free. Is that too long to wait? Should I do something like a one gallon batch in the meantime to give the yeast something to munch on?

I have a half gallon of wort left over from the IIPA (it's 1.070 and 100+ ibu calculated). If I were to use that should I dilute it a bit?

I'm tempted to just toss it in and see what happens....not sure about a wild IIPA though...

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Old 01-24-2011, 01:27 AM   #5
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I'd do a small batch first if you don't have the room, just to keep it healthy and active. I'd do a simple smash brew for the first, just so you can get a handle on what the yeast brings to the table.

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Old 01-24-2011, 03:00 AM   #6
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I'd be inclined to make a small batch and see what you have. IMO it might be better to source the yeast again (if possible) from the apple skins in a few weeks rather than try to keep this particular culture alive and kicking.

Reason being: A) you'll find out whether it's worth pitching into 5+ gallons of something to begin with and B) if you don't follow some fairly clinical procedures for maintaining the culture it could begin to select itself for undesirable traits. I suspect the culture found on the apple skins will be more stable than subsequent generations of it kept in mason jars.

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Old 01-29-2011, 02:38 AM   #7
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Well just an update. I ended up pitching into the half gallon of left over wort from the IIPA. The hops will probably hide the flavor of the yeast some, but it was a good option since I already had the wort....plus I will be able to compare it to the IIPA fermented with American Ale II, so that will be cool.

I pitched it Wed evening and woke up to this on Thursday morning.




The krausen seemed to have fallen a bit overnight, so I cleaned out the airlock and replaced it. It's slowed down but it's still bubbling away.

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Old 01-29-2011, 02:46 AM   #8
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Looks like it's working hard!

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Old 02-07-2011, 01:40 AM   #9
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I should probably mention, I took a gravity reading on Wednesday and it was down from 1.070 to 1.017. The sample tasted great...probably the best warm uncarbed sample I have had. At this point Im going to bottle on Tuesday and brew a 5 gallon saison on Friday. Since I will only have a few bottle I'm not sure of I will put any of of them away, but I will hide at least a 6-pack from the saison. Now I just need to come up with a recipe.

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Old 02-07-2011, 01:55 PM   #10
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I wonder how many different strains we get from a single sample from the skin of fruits, I assume there are somewhere near 20-30 strains in each sample of wild yeast? Is there a way we can find out? Do we just get a microscope and start counting? Should this question be in the science section? Is there any way of telling?

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