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Old 08-21-2008, 02:52 PM   #1
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Default Harvest yeast from bottle-conditioned commercial brews?

What are the chances that I could culture a good starter of yeast from the sediment of a Boulevard wheat (or any other brand, for that matter)? Would this yeast even be the actual Boulevard fermentation yeast, or some that they use during bottling just for conditioning? One of the books I have has a section about harvesting yeast, and the procedure, I just want to know if it is actually feasible. Thanks!


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Old 08-21-2008, 02:58 PM   #2
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I know some folks around here have done that, but I couldn't tell you if you'll be getting the fermentation yeast or just the conditioning yeast. If you do try it, do it from a few bottles. It's worth a shot.


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Old 08-21-2008, 03:43 PM   #3
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I am hoping to pitch my Wheat beer with yeast from the Boulevard Wheat, but I will keep some dry as backup. I'll post how it turns out (maybe even take pictures for a how-to).
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:32 PM   #4
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There was a post I read a while back where people were trying to make beer from everyday grocery store products. I can't remember exactly what it's called but I know they covered using commercial beer yeast sediment. Maybe someone else can remember the name of the post. Good luck!
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:03 PM   #5
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I'll let you know how my Saison comes out. I used a compo off Hennepin and Dupont yeast taken from the bottle. I tasted the starter and it had the tones of a Saison citrus and a little peppery flavor
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:07 PM   #6
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http://www.nada.kth.se/~alun/Beer/Bottle-Yeasts/ this should be a good start on what yeasts are good to use, what they are. I've cultured yeast from a hoegaarden, and a saison dupont, both with good results.
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Old 08-21-2008, 06:10 PM   #7
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There a bunch of threads on here about it...Use the search function and look up "Bottle Harvesting Pacman" Or "Pacman Yeast" a few months back a bunch of us were doing it at the same time...SOmeone even posted a video tutorial about it IIRC.
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:53 PM   #8
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You can always try it and see what happens with the starter. If the starter has the same aroma and flavor characteristics as the beer, you're good to go. If it doesn't you are out a few ounces of DME.

I'm thinking of trying this with the bottle of Westmalle I have in the fridge just for the heck of it, I'm not planning to use the yeast, I just want to practice the technique.

It wouldn't hurt to contact the brewery and ask them if there is live yeast in the bottles and if so, if it is the primary strain. I've heard some breweries will even give out recipes to homebrewers who ask! Your mileage will vary.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:51 PM   #9
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I culture up yeast and bugs out of commercial beers all the time. Mostly Belgian stuff, but I've never had any problems. For the most part Belgian bottle conditioned beers use the same yeast as in fermentation.
As for US bottle conditioned, there are several breweries I've run into that have this "propriatery" thing going on and use a conditioning strain.
As for a wheat beer, I would think that it would be the fermentation yeast because of the character that the yeast plays in the role of the overall flavor of the beer.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:35 PM   #10
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The first thing I would do is email the brewers at Boulevard. Ask them two things: 1. What kind of yeast do you use in your wheat? There's a good chance they just use a yeast you can buy. 2. Ask them if they bottle condition with a different yeast.

Most brewers will give up this information easily if you tell them you are a homebrewer.


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