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Bell's yeast culture... Will this work? Clean?

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tonymark

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I was attempting to culture some Bell's Yeast for a 2-Hearted clone this weekend. I didn't do thorough reading before hand and may have done it wrong. I made up 700 ml of 1.023 wort. I emptied the dregs from 3 bottles of Bell's Midwestern Pale Ale into the wort and put on a stir plate for 36 hours. I was very clean. As soon as boil was over I covered the flask with a Star San soaked rag. Before opening each bottle I would soak my opener in Star San for 2 minutes. I would also spray Star San under the edge of the cap and over the entire bottom a few times while the opener sanitized. After pouring off the beer, I would thoroughly flame the top of the bottom with a butane torch.

I was going to add the first round to a 1.036 1 l of wort tonight (24 hours in). Is this going to work? I think I started with way too much wort on the first pitch, but it appears to have some kind of yeast on the bottom. I don't want to ruin a batch with a bad strain. Should I keep going with it or should I bail and go with some S-05 instead for my first attempt?
 

lowtones84

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Did you notice any krausen on your 700 ml starter? As long as you didn't add the yeast while it was still too hot it should have survived. I don't remember the exact numbers I used but I did exactly this for my Two Hearted tribute, but with their Amber. I would pitch it into the 1L starter and see what happens personally. Just keep an eye on it, and swirl it frequently if you don't have a stir plate.
 
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tonymark

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It's on a stir plate, but not a lot of activity. I pour off and reserved half the wort from the first 700 ml and pitch the rest into a fresh 1.036 liter of wort. I measured the gravity of the reserved wort and it hadn't budged. I am now worry and I don't have enough time to start over before Saturday.
 

temple240

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A lot of write ups I've seen for bottle harvesting simply tell you to pitch from the bottles right into a normal starter. I prefer to do small steps but it seems that people have had success either way. Did you try turning off your stir plate and checking back in a few hours? Remember, fermentation will be slow at first with such a small amount of yeast.
 

JonM

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I did this recently and I don't get any krausen on the first step (with the 1.020 wort). Step it up with a quart of 1.040ish wort and I bet you'll see fermentation.

Also, if it really doesn't work out, 1272 is a great substitute for Bell's yeast.
 

Homercidal

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There is very little yeast in the dregs. It takes more time to build up a useable starter, and you might not get any krausen, especially on a stirplate, at the very beginning. I try to start about a week before brewing because the yeast is so slow early on. That gives me time to build the starter and cool it down and decant the yeast. It will stay good in the fridge for several days at least, so no worries.
 

phenry

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From my experience it takes the dregs from a bottle of Bell's a few days to get going (aka show any signs of activity, it nearly always forms a krausen or at the very least visibly off gasses) in a ~50-100mL 1.040 starter. After that though, I just give it the normal 1-2 days per step, going to a 400-500mL then 1-1.5L starter on the stir plate.
 
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tonymark

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Thanks for the advice.

The yeast took off over night. Woke up to find yeasty wort all over the side of the 2 l flask. I hope there are no contamination issues with it.
 

jhoyda

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I was able to harvest from one bottle of their Pale Ale. I filled the bottle about half way with 1.020ish wort and swirled it every time I walked by. Dumped all that into a 1 L starter and stepped it from there. I'm drinking the Two Hearted clone right now!
 

JonM

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I recently harvested some of their Winter White yeast, which is some awesome stuff too. I'm putting it in the "SWMBO Slayer" recipe this weekend.
 

JonM

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Here's the 2.5 gal batch of Winter White SWMBO Slayer I did last year (which was awesome.) did this with the dregs of one bottle, stepped up a couple times.

image-3873289914.jpg
 

phenry

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I recently harvested some of their Winter White yeast, which is some awesome stuff too. I'm putting it in the "SWMBO Slayer" recipe this weekend.
:off: If you don't mind me asking, what kind of commercial strain does it parallel? I keep meaning to pick myself up a 6er of Winter White but always end up walking out of the beer shop with something else.
 

JonM

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It's hard to tell. The batch I did last year had lots of the classic Belgian estery flavor, but this year, I fermented the starter a little on the warm side (65ish) and the decanted starter beer had lots of clove flavor like a hefeweizen. Either way, pretty darn tasty.
 

rjthomas21

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Am I currently working on the same yeast starter (from dregs of 6 Bell's Amber Ale) and I was wondering if anybody could give me a way to tell if the yeast if fermenting as it should? I am working with a stir plate so no krausen will be seen most likely but are there any other signs I can look for to know it is working?
 

JonM

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rjthomas21 said:
Am I currently working on the same yeast starter (from dregs of 6 Bell's Amber Ale) and I was wondering if anybody could give me a way to tell if the yeast if fermenting as it should? I am working with a stir plate so no krausen will be seen most likely but are there any other signs I can look for to know it is working?
Decant for the next step up, an then check the gravity of the decanted starter beer. If its lower then when you started, all is well.
 
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tonymark

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I decanted off some of the Bell's cultured starter last night and put in the fridge. I tasted it today and it was so good I drank the rest. The crisp Bell's taste really comes through, I can't wait to use it this weekend. Tasting the starter made me have a momentary lapse of reason and think that I should go back to extract brewing.
 

GrogNerd

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you guys are KILLING ME

not brewing anything that I could use a Bell's culture on until NEXT MONTH

unless someone recommends using it in a Maibock
 
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