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Old 11-16-2012, 05:38 PM   #1
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Default Harvesting Yeast from Bells

Just a question about harvesting yeast. First of all, this was my first attempt at harvesting yeast and also my first attempt at making a starter period so bare with me.

I'm wanting to make a Bells Oberon clone and heard that it is best to harvest their ale yeast. I had some Oberon still sitting in my fridge, so I figured, what the heck and I attmpted to havest some yeast from 5 bottles of Oberon a few days ago. My first step was to add them to a small starter of 1.020 wort. I waited a couple of days and saw no signs of life in my starter. So, after a couple of days, I kicked it up and added some more wort at about 1.040 and after a couple more days, there is still no signs of activity.

My question is, how fresh does the beer you are harvesting from have to be? The Oberon I was using had been in my fridge for over 2 months so I'm thinking it was not viable to use and that is the reason why I'm getting no activity. Am I correct in thinking this? Or should I give it more time? I really don't want to wait it out much more as I'm already looking at about another week if I start over making another viable starter with harvested yeast and I really want to get this beer brewed.

After almost 5 days with no activity, I'm just planning on starting over with a sixer of some Bells Pale Ale and try this thing again.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:43 PM   #2
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You are sure this beer is bottle conditioned? Most commercial beer filters the yeast out. There was a stickie thread around here somewhere that listed commercial beers known to contain live yeast cells.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:59 PM   #3
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Oberon definitely has their house yeast in it. I can also confirm it's best done as fresh as possible. I have a friend who went back to Mi in the early summer to visit family. he sent me a sixer of oberon. I was able to harvest yeast from the dredges of two bottles and it took off in 3 days or so. I recently opened the last bottle I had, that was about 5 months old by then and went to harvest from that bottle directly to a plate. It took about 10 days to see full growth on the plate and even then I was only able to snag a couple single colonies to transfer to slant.

When I've bottle harvested pacman before I've had it take five days before I saw any change in the starter. Since we're talking about such long lag time ans such a small amount of viable yeast we're harvesting from when I do it in the future my plan is to make a 250ml starter from the dregs of at least two bottles. When that starter is finished I'll plate it out across 3-4 plates and discard the starter. From there I'll only harvest single colonies to slant. A lot more work for sure, but it's as close to a guarantee of clean yeast that I can think of.

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Old 11-16-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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I just harvested from one bottle of Bell's Pale Ale. 175 mL of 1.030 in the bottle, swirled every time I walked by. Then stepped up to 750 mL on the stir plate. I decanted the beer and stored the slurry in a sanitized mason jar. I will probably make a Two-Hearted clone with my yeast.

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Old 11-17-2012, 07:41 AM   #5
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I harvested out of 6 Oberons and that yeast was a beast after stepping up to 2l and used in 10gal batch. I used it for 4 or 5 batches.

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Old 11-18-2012, 10:44 PM   #6
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Well, I finally decided just to dump the starter I attempted to make with my 2 month old Oberons. I made a new one last night with 14 g of DME and 200 ml of boiling water to go along with the dregs from a sixer of Bells Amber Ale (the sacrifices we must make for homebrewing ).

Happy to report that it started slowly but surely bubbling away this evening so I might have actually had success this second time around!

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Old 11-18-2012, 11:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMJfan View Post
Well, I finally decided just to dump the starter I attempted to make with my 2 month old Oberons. I made a new one last night with 14 g of DME and 200 ml of boiling water to go along with the dregs from a sixer of Bells Amber Ale (the sacrifices we must make for homebrewing ).

Happy to report that it started slowly but surely bubbling away this evening so I might have actually had success this second time around!
Sounds great. I would start with wort closer to 1.020 next time. It really helps them wake up from their bottle slumber. There are a number of other Bell's yeast harvest posts with lots of good info. I've got a blog post about it too. I use that yeast for everything. It's awesome. Great attenuator and great flavor.
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Simple and easy wort aeration - Harvest yeast from your blowoff - Homebrew Spicy Mustard
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:32 AM   #8
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Sounds great. I would start with wort closer to 1.020 next time. It really helps them wake up from their bottle slumber. There are a number of other Bell's yeast harvest posts with lots of good info. I've got a blog post about it too. I use that yeast for everything. It's awesome. Great attenuator and great flavor.
Since I'm new to this harvesting yeast thing, what ratio of DME to water would you use for a 1.020 starter? I was under the impression that my ratio would give me around a 1.020 starter based on this article:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/entries/...l-bottles.html
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:28 AM   #9
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I just used the dregs from a six pack to the usual ratio for a 1.040 starter. Just started at .5l at first.

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Old 11-19-2012, 09:19 AM   #10
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Since I'm new to this harvesting yeast thing, what ratio of DME to water would you use for a 1.020 starter? I was under the impression that my ratio would give me around a 1.020 starter based on this article:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/entries/...l-bottles.html
10g per 100mL is 1.040 so 5g per 100mL would be 1.020 and 7.5g per 100mL would be 1.030.

The starter you use will work fine. But in case you are trying to rouse a particularly old or unhealthy strain from a bottle, the 1.020 really helps not shock them too much.
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RIP Snake Dog IPA, Biermuncher's OktoberFAST, Falconer's Flight IPA, Two-Hearted clone (Culturing Bell's Yeast), Noberon wheat, Skeeter Pee using dry yeast, Smooth Oatmeal Stout


Simple and easy wort aeration - Harvest yeast from your blowoff - Homebrew Spicy Mustard
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