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Old 02-08-2011, 12:20 AM   #1
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Default First Attempt to Capture Wild Yeasties!

I've been reading non-stop about spontaneous fermentation lately. I'm interested! It sounds pretty wild... pun intended! Anyway, I've got a huge yellow grapefruit tree in my backyard and a pretty decent sized orange tree. Along with some weird nut trees and whatnot (plus a resident gang of 2 squirrels that leave orange and grapefruit peels on my deck). On a side note, I live in California's lovely wine country, so there are vineyards galore in my vicinity. I was originally planning on doing some 1 gallon batches to put in vineyards/backyard or to toss some fresh local fruit in. But rather than put a bunch of blood sweat and tears into a bunch of batches, I'm thinking I'll just make a generic batch to fill up a plethora of mason jars to use. Thoughts? That way when I get a yeast that smells like dog farts and death I can toss it, and not have to lose much more than the 1 pint of wort.

Is there much of a downside to using little starters to trap yeast, rather than a full batch? And are there any other words of wisdom for trapping my yeast friends?

I look forward to September when they're harvesting and crushing grapes at the wineries. That should throw lots of yummy yeasties in the air.

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Old 02-08-2011, 01:25 AM   #2
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Just get some crushes grapes from them after they're juiced... Yeast doesn't actually go airborn as much as it catches a ride on dust or pollen.

As for collecting them in small starters, sounds good. You'll play hell finding anything that puts off dog fart aroma. I just don't think those compounds are produced by saccharomyces. Hop your starter heavily, it will keep the unwanted cooties out.
On Deck: Saison "Jardin d'ÚtÚ" (3rd Gen 3711, Wild bugs, Pale ale malt, wheat, Willamette dry hop)
Primary: Saison "Vomissure de Grenouille" (2nd Gen 3711 from dregs, Pale Ale malt, Crystals and Willamettes)
Secondary: BM45/Spontaneous Bugs Experiment (down to 1.004, and tastes awesome), contemplating what fruit to add.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:12 AM   #3
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I think you're better off starting out with a much smaller quantity of wort -- maybe .5-1 liter batches. It will be easier for the yeast to take hold and you can always feed it more wort/sugar to build it up for a one gallon batch.

Instead of leaving starters sitting out I would dunk the fruit right in it. Try to avoid touching the fruit. Then you can cover it with foil or whatever and prevent additional crap from falling in.

While I agree that hopping the wort is a great idea to keep mold and lacto out it is highly likely you will get pedio or that o-something bacteria that winemakers sometimes experience. Both can withstand hop acids and will contribute a lot of diacetyl. You may get one or both in with your yeast. If that happens, you will want to leave the batch in the fermenter for several months and brett will likely appear and clean up the diacetyl. However, you may just get a good batch of yeast and not enough bacteria to take hold in a batch.
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