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Old 01-30-2010, 04:40 PM   #1
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Default Harvesting yeast

HI

Is it possible to harvest the yeast from a bottle of store bought beer? Say from a Sierra Nevada Hefenwivzen or Duval.

If so, how is i done?

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Old 01-30-2010, 06:25 PM   #2
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I don't think you can do this. First there would need to be some left in the bottom of the bottle and I think the ammount would be way to small to do any good.

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Old 01-30-2010, 06:28 PM   #3
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You can from some beers. Here's an outdated list, and one of many, many threads on this topic. Search around and you'll find more!

EDIT: Oh, and here's a nice BYO article on the process.

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Old 01-30-2010, 07:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killerzeek View Post
HI

Is it possible to harvest the yeast from a bottle of store bought beer? Say from a Sierra Nevada Hefenwivzen or Duval.

If so, how is i done?
I've done it numerous times. One of the hardest is Duvel, at least for me. Westmalle is pretty dang hard, as well!

Sierra Nevada uses the "Chico" strain which is (or is very close to) Wyeast 1056, WLP001, and US-05 for most of their beers and it is pretty easy to harvest. I don't know if they use it their Hefe or not, though.

In my experience, the more "local" the beer, the easier it is to culture yeast...
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:39 PM   #5
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I've harvested Duvel yeast with a stirplate using the dregs (~1/4" of left over liquid) from a 4pack. I have made 3 different batches with the yeast, they have all been great. Recommend the stirplate though, works well with these small quantities of yeast. It can take 2 or 3 days on the stirplate for the yeast to take off, it is very obvious with the belgian yeasts.

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Old 01-30-2010, 09:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killerzeek View Post
HI

Is it possible to harvest the yeast from a bottle of store bought beer? Say from a Sierra Nevada Hefenwivzen or Duval.

If so, how is i done?
Absolutely, it is possible. For many years, that was the only way I could get good yeast, and I did it every time.
Obviously, you have to start with a bottle of naturally conditioned beer that has live yeast in the bottom. The problem is that some of these beers use a different variety of yeast for carbonation than they do for brewing, so you may not get the results that you want. However, if you get good results with a particular brand, then those results should be consistent.

It isn't particularly difficult to do, but it does take some patience.
Start by drinking the beer, being careful to leave as much of the yeast behind as possible. Then make a small starter (I used to make a 6 fl oz starter using about 1/2 oz DME to 6 fl oz water, and fermented in a 12 oz bottle loosely covered to prevent bacteria dropping in). Giving the bottle a swirl every time you pass by speeds the process up. After 4 - 5 days, your small starter should have multiplied considerably, and can be stepped up.
To step up, I prepared about 1 qt fresh wort using 3.5 oz DME to 1 qt water in a half gallon jug, and transfer the original starter into the fresh wort, cover loosely, and wait another 4 - 5 days (again giving it a swirl as often as possible). If you have a stir plate, you can cut down the 4 - 5 day periods down to 1 - 2 days, and you will end up with more yeast.

-a.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:08 AM   #7
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Alright, I'll going to try it. Thanks for the information. I'll post the results

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