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Old 04-07-2009, 10:16 PM   #1
andreiz
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Default Culturing yeast from wheat beer

I received a bottle of Bell's Oberon today and I want to culture the yeast from it in order to brew a couple of batches. I read the BYO article and the concept seems clear enough, but most of the discussions culture from Belgian beers or something like Rogue ones that use Pacman yeast. Is it any different with a wheat beer like Oberon? Do I need to chill it thoroughly to make sure as much yeast settles as possible? The article says to pour off beer leaving just the small layer of sediment behind, but it seems like with wheat beers you'd want to leave more beer behind (like 1/4 bottle or something). Can anyone share tips on this?

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Old 04-08-2009, 02:29 PM   #2
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I would do it as normal, using just the bottom layer; chill thoroughly, pour carefully, flame the lip, and pitch into small starter or inoculate onto agar media.

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Old 04-08-2009, 03:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreiz View Post
I received a bottle of Bell's Oberon today and I want to culture the yeast from it in order to brew a couple of batches. I read the BYO article and the concept seems clear enough, but most of the discussions culture from Belgian beers or something like Rogue ones that use Pacman yeast. Is it any different with a wheat beer like Oberon? Do I need to chill it thoroughly to make sure as much yeast settles as possible? The article says to pour off beer leaving just the small layer of sediment behind, but it seems like with wheat beers you'd want to leave more beer behind (like 1/4 bottle or something). Can anyone share tips on this?
I will be attempting the same thing early next week. Thanks for the link to the article.
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Old 04-08-2009, 04:17 PM   #4
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Don't confuse the general chill haze of the wheat beer with the yeast sediment. Unless the bottle has been shook up the yeast will all be in a fine layer at the bottom - you may need a strong light to see it, might help when pouring.

BTW I found when I cultured out of Chimay that it took 6 days to see any activity in my starter wort.

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Old 04-08-2009, 05:24 PM   #5
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Okay, sounds fairly straightforward then. The only thing that gives me pause is that Chris Colby in that article says to start with 5ml or so of wort for the first step. That just seems really low to me, so I'm thinking to start with a larger size, perhaps 20-25ml. Thoughts?

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Old 04-09-2009, 02:03 PM   #6
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one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the Belgium beers carb with a different yeast then the fermentation one, often they filter out the "good" 'fermentation' yeast so that other brewers can not get that strain/mix of strains from them. They often carb with a very clean yeast that does not add any flavors to the beer.

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Old 04-09-2009, 02:41 PM   #7
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one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the Belgium beers carb with a different yeast then the fermentation one, often they filter out the "good" 'fermentation' yeast so that other brewers can not get that strain/mix of strains from them.
This is one of those things that gets repeated a lot, but I'm really not sure how often it actually happens. Some Belgians do use another yeast for bottling, but most don't actually try to hide their fermentation yeast--usually there's a difference if the main yeast was a different strain than the major house yeast for the brewery. There may be an oddball brewery here and there that actively tries to hide their yeast, but it's not common.

And most of them (the ones that have one main house yeast) just use the house yeast for bottle conditioning.

Off the top of my head for the 7 Trappist breweries:
Rochefort: Bottles with the house yeast, you can culture it fine
Chimay: Ditto
Westmalle: Ditto
Westleveran: Not sure, but they are public about using Westmalle's yeast (they pick it up fresh every brew day) so if they do use another yeast it's not to hide the yeast strain
Achel: Same as Westleveran
Orval: Adds bugs and possibly a secondary yeast strain, if you culture at home you get a mix of everything but the primary strain isn't hidden out.
de Koeningshaven: Not sure
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:55 PM   #8
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one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the Belgium beers carb with a different yeast then the fermentation one.
Not a problem for me, because as I mentioned in the OP I will be culturing from Bell's Oberon, which is an American Wheat.
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:35 PM   #9
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This is one of those things that gets repeated a lot, but I'm really not sure how often it actually happens. Some Belgians do use another yeast for bottling, but most don't actually try to hide their fermentation yeast
I went of 6 or 7 brewery tours last year, and every single one said that they filter out the good flavorfull additive yest and replace it with a simple clean yeast for the bottleing. Granted i was touring more of a micro lambic brewers on a very small scale (5 to 10 barrells). I dont recall what the larger brewers from 2 or 3 years ago said, I did not care that much back then was jsut a drinker not a maker.
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:28 PM   #10
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I just started my first attempt at a yeast starter, with the dregs from a 6 pack of Oberon. I boiled 1/2 cup of Pale DME with 2 cups water and 2 pellets of Saaz hops. Transferred to sanitized growler, no activity as of yet, but it has only been 12 hours.

Update: After 3 days, built up starter once again, and am getting some activity. Will build it up once more tomorrow. Should be ready to pitch to Oberon clone on Sunday.

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Last edited by JimboGR; 04-23-2009 at 06:11 PM. Reason: Update
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