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Old 04-11-2008, 07:01 PM   #1
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Default Yeast Starter from Wheat Flour

I've read that the ancient Egyptians made beer by adding leavened bread to the wort and then straining the solution into a secondary fermentation vessel. I'm trying to recreate this by making leaven from wheat flour and then adding this to some wort to make a starter,which I'll then strain into the fermentation vessel to pitch the yeast.



Here is the yeast starter (on the right). Its fizzing and bubbling away at about 1 bubble per minute at the moment and there are no signs of infection and a nice yeasty smell.

I've never used a starter before, only dried yeast, and was wondering how I know when its ready to use and if the yeast will be in the wort or my flour-gloop at the bottom (it seems to be forming a small head at the top if that's any help).

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Old 04-11-2008, 07:05 PM   #2
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First off WOW..to much work but a damn cool thing to try. Secondly the yeast will be on the top of the pile of 'trub'. it will be ready to pitch when the bubbling stops and when you have enough yeast to pitch

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Old 04-11-2008, 07:29 PM   #3
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So correct me if I'm wrong - you added yeast to some wheat flour, and then later added that to your wort? If so, what is the point of using the flour instead of adding yeast right to the wort? And is this just bread yeast?

The quote in the above poster's signature is strangely appropriate:

Quote:
Originally Posted by RICLARK
put 2 loafs of bread into a trashbag with 2 gallons of water let sit three monthes and then add it to your wort.
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:56 AM   #4
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Brave idea, but be ready for very sour beer. Flour, and all uncooked grain products, are covered with wild yeasts and bacteria. The method that you describe is very much like the way sourdough bread starters are made. Those are made entirely from the wild critters in the flour, with no added yeast. It is called sourdough because the high content of lactic flavor introduced. Enough that it comes through in the baked bread. I imagine that in beer, it will be much, much stronger.
On the other hand, try it and learn. I would do just a small batch, though, to avoid wasting too much wort.

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Old 04-12-2008, 01:00 AM   #5
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No I think he means that he intends to pitch the natural yeast that he can harvest from this?

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Old 04-12-2008, 01:17 AM   #6
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On one hand I am thinking that this may not turn out so well, but on the other hand I am mighty intriuged....

Keep us posted!

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Old 04-12-2008, 04:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deathweed
On one hand I am thinking that this may not turn out so well, but on the other hand I am mighty intriuged....

Keep us posted!
This is about how I make SourDough Bread. I began a started about 3 years ago using stone ground rye flower. You just start with a spoon full or so with the same amount of water....keep adding, and adding till you have a monster.
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:18 PM   #8
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Cheers Arneba28, I guess it makes sense that the stuff on top of the trub is the active bit.

Funkenjaeger-to clarify I have not added any yeast to this, the idea is to cultivate the natural yeasts in the flour. I've already tried cultivating wild yeasts from the air but got a load of mould along with it so I'm doing this in the hope of avoiding a nasty infection in my wort.

Thanks for all the input, I'll keep everyone posted on how I'm progressing and if the final brew is drinkable or not!

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Old 04-12-2008, 08:08 PM   #9
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Take some of the wild yeast and inoculate agar in a petri dish and let it work a few days and then take a loupe and select from only small clumps - white yeast and inoculate some wort and then propigate that into your starter. If the starter ferments out and tastes good you will know that you have a good strain of yeast for ale.

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Old 04-13-2008, 02:30 AM   #10
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to isolate the yeast from the flour gloop you can do what WBC mentioned, or if you dont have agar and petri dishes and loops laying around the house you should give the starter a bit of a shake (be careful of blow off through the airlock) and let it settle for 20 minutes. all the flour gloop will settle before the yeast does and at that point you should pour all the liquid into a new bigger starter. this way you've poured off most of the yeast and left most of the gloop behind. i like the word gloop.



gloop.

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