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Old 02-20-2012, 09:08 PM   #1
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Default How do you culture yeast?

For my next batch, I am looking to clone Bell's Two Hearted Ale. When I was reviewing some recipes, it said the best way to do it was to culture the yeast from the bottle.

Now, this will only be my third batch I have ever done, so I have yet to venture much into working with yeasts because I have been trying to just get the process down. I have looked for different articles and threads, but I can not find a step by step process of how to do it. From what I can gather, it sounds like you pour most of the beer from the bottle you will be culturing the yeast from. Then you would boil some water and LME and add to the beer which contains the sediment. Next, you let it essentially re-ferment and all of the new yeast will fall out to the bottom?

If anyone can let me know if this process is right, that would be fantastic. Also, what type of container do use use to culture the yeast? Where do you store it during this process? How do you know you have enough yeast (I will be doing a 5 gallon batch)? Last, how do you pitch the yeast? I have only used dry yeast and pitched it by spreading it on top of the wort, allowing it to sit and then stirring. I have had no issues so far so I have never seen the point in using a yeast starter. Any help would be great.

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Old 02-20-2012, 09:51 PM   #2
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Honestly, you should probably wait and get more comfortable in handling yeast before you try this. If you're set on it here is a thread I found on it[/URL] or search "harvest yeast."

I'm not familiar with the beer but you can usually find a liquid yeast that will get you pretty close. Doing that would also give you a chance to work on making starters, which you will need to do to harvest yeast from a bottle.

Dry yeast typically has enough cells for most beers, but should still be rehydrated first. if you are doing a bigger beer with liquid yeast, or using harvested yeast, you need a starter to make the yeast replicate so you have enough cells to complete fementation.

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Old 02-20-2012, 10:46 PM   #3
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What you laid out is pretty much the technique, you can find more here:

The secret is in stepping up the volume of wort in the starter. It may take you a couple weeks to get an adequate supply to pitch. I did all of my step-ups in a growler, which is where I generally do my starters. Just kept adding small quantities of sterile wort until you have enough slurry.

I cultured some Bell's yeast last year and it's now my house strain, I use it a lot. Great stuff.

As far as a THA clone, you can probably get adequate results from using either WLP001, or California V. In fact, I brewed a pale ale recently with CaliV and the profile was very similar to my Bell's strain.

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