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Old 04-07-2009, 01:15 AM   #1
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Default Harvesting yeast from commercial beers?

First off, I did use the search feature.

I am planning on brewing an Oberon clone early next week. I want to harvest their yeast from the bottles. Here is my plan on harvesting the yeast.

I have a 6 pack of the beer that I want to clone. I don't want to drink all the beer at one time or even 2 times. I was planning on drinking a beer a day until the 6-pack is gone. Here is what I plan on doing.

1) 1 beer a day---decant the beer and leave a little yeast left on the bottom.

2) Re-cap that beer.

3) 2nd day, have another beer,decant, then pour the bottom yeast into the first bottle, re-cap again.

4) Keep on doing this until I have finished the 6 pack.

5) At that point I will make a starter wort consisting of 2 cups water with a 1/2 cup DME

6) Add the yeast of 6 bottles that are now in one, to the starter wort and let her go.

Does this sound right or is there another easier way to go about this?
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:51 AM   #2
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1. Call LHBS and make sure they have an American wheat yeast available. If not, order one online. Now you have a fallback for brew day if cultivating faails.

2. Drink 2 bottles each day. Make a tiny starter on day 1 from the dregs of 2 bottles. Step it up each day. If it fails, try again with the dregs of 2 more on day 2. Etc.

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Old 04-07-2009, 01:59 AM   #3
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Make a tiny starter on day 1 from the dregs of 2 bottles. Step it up each day. If it fails, try again with the dregs of 2 more on day 2. Etc.

How small of a starter? 1 cup to 1/4 cup dme? Does that sound good?
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:33 AM   #4
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With the small amount of yeast I would worry about contamination for real if you are opening and recapping. My favorite solution would be to add 1 cup of starter wort with about 0.75 oz of DME to each bottle, and at the end of a week dump all of them into a flask or growler to make a 2L starter. A 1 cup starter is nice n easy peasy since you can boil it in the microwave.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:57 AM   #5
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+1 on the worries about sanitation.... don't want any buggers.

Couple of questions for ya...

Do you know if the brewery repitches a different yeast for bottle conditioning? Some breweries will ferment with one yeast and then bottle condition with a different yeast to protect their recipe. If you are sure that they only use one yeast then you can make a small starter with the dregs of your first couple of beers.

Have you done research on sanitation? This is a critical component of culturing yeast and should not be over looked, especially when working with such a small amount to start with.

good luck!

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Old 04-07-2009, 04:13 AM   #6
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Every time I harvest commercial yeast I make sure to FLAME the opening with my mini blowtortch. The heat is going to kill any thing that is on the edge of the bottle. also you should always try to move up in size and gravity of wort of your starter. Just an example of what i do: 250 ml starter @ 1.030 w/ the dreggs of two 12oz or one 750ml and at day two Ithen pitch that into a 2000ml starter @ 1.040. If that gets some good activity then i will use it for a smaller beer or pitch it into a gallon starter @ 1.050 for a day and use that to pitch a big beer.

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Old 04-07-2009, 03:14 PM   #7
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You could pop the top and wipe the rim with StarSan and let sit for minute, then pour and finally add just a little bit of water or wort and loosen up the yeast on the bottom. Then pitch into starter flask.

I've successfully harvested yeast from a single bottle of Bell's beer. Don't remember what it was, but it took right off. I never ended up using it, just playing with harvesting. I think it was their Sparkling Ale. I got it around Christmas time.

If you do use a single bottle, you will want to step it up a couple of times I think. I don't know about yeast volumes yet. Oberon should be pretty easy to harvest. I think they just started shipping that stuff out the other day. Nice and fresh.

FYI - I went to a beer tasting the other day and Bells, Founders, etc. were all there. I asked several people what yeasts they use, and invariably they all mentioned commercially available strains of yeast. So if you found out what yeast it was, you could order from an LHBS. I think there was only one beer that was mentioned that was funny. Might have been New Holland's Saison yeast. Some sort of Chimay? I don't remember. The beer was too good that night. I should have brought a pencil and paper and wrote it all down.

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Old 04-07-2009, 04:46 PM   #8
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More power to you if you want to do it but I bet if you just used a liquid american wheat yeast you couldn't tell the difference. However in all fairness this is coming from someone who thinks Oberon is way overrated.

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