Bottom of Bottle Yeast for a clone?

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riley484

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I'm making a wheat clone and the recipe calls for the yeast to be the bottom 1/2 inch of 6 bottles of the beer I'm trying to clone. I haven't heard of this before (I am a pretty new homebrewer though).

Has anyone done this before? Is this common? Anything that I should be aware of to increase my chances of a successful fermentation? Thanks.
 

mkling

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Do a search on yeast culturing. You'll need to make a starter and pitch that bottle yeast into the starter. May take a day or so to start up. You may also need to step up the starter to get a larger volume of yeast. But a basic starter will get you going.
 

rsmith179

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And make sure you pour off the beer into glasses before drinking. Hopefully you don't drink directly out of the bottle anyways, but if you're looking to culture yeast from the bottle drinking directly from the bottle is a big no no. You'll introduce all of your mouth germ friends into your starter if you do...
 

brian_g

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What clone are you doing? If it's a trapist beer, White Labs sells the same strain that is used at the trapist monetary.
 

SumnerH

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What clone are you doing? If it's a trapist beer, White Labs sells the same strain that is used at the trapist monetary.
There are 7 different trappist monestaries, and at least that many trappist yeasts.

* Westmalle monastery produces yeast used by Westmalle themselves, Westvleteran, and Achel. This is Wyeast 3787/White labs 530.
* Chimay has their own yeast strain. This is Wyeast 1214/WLP 500
* Rochefort has their own yeast strain. This is Wyeast 1762/WLP 540.
* Orval has several yeast strains. One of these is WLP 510 but they also use a Brett strain and reputedly several other variations. Some people report good results pitching 510 originally and bottle-cultured yeast (which is presumably a fuller blend) or Brett at secondary.
* Koningshoeven uses at least one and possibly more strains of their own. They are the only Trappist brewery outside of Belgium (located in the Netherlands).

In addition, the St Bernardus brewery did all the brewing for Westvleteran until 1992, when Westvleteran moved production. The St Bernardus yeast is apparently the traditional Westvleteran yeast, so that's a historically trappist yeast. Westvleteran outsourced their yeast production to Westmalle (as noted above) and no longer uses the historic strain.

EDIT: Orval is 510, not 500.
 

woollybugger2

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I always heard that they used a different strain of yeast for the bottle conditioning and that you can't culture the primary yeast from the bottle of any trappist ale...
 

brian_g

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SumnerH,

Thanks for the clarification. I deliberately oversimplified my post. I was only making the point that bottle harvesting yeast may not be necessary. Actually, there's more like 170 Trappist monasteries. Only six of these brew beer.

woollybugger2,
I've head that too, but here is a quote from Brother Pierre of Rochefort (taken from Brew Like a Monk):
"Every brewer with some experience is able to copy our beers perfectly. After bottling, the yeast cells still keep living for about six months. Anyone wanting our yeast can remove it from the bottom and cultivate it."
 

SumnerH

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SumnerH,

Thanks for the clarification. I deliberately oversimplified my post. I was only making the point that bottle harvesting yeast may not be necessary. Actually, there's more like 170 Trappist monasteries. Only six of these brew beer.
Good clarification, there are plenty of non-brewing Trappist monastaries.

There are 7 that brew beer--Westvleteran, Westmalle, Achel, Rochefort, Orval, Chimay, and Koningshoeven.

woollybugger2,
I've head that too, but here is a quote from Brother Pierre of Rochefort (taken from Brew Like a Monk):
"Every brewer with some experience is able to copy our beers perfectly. After bottling, the yeast cells still keep living for about six months. Anyone wanting our yeast can remove it from the bottom and cultivate it."
Yeah, the bottling yeast thing is a bit overstated. It's done occasionally, most notably by Orval (with Brett), but it's to add some sort of extra character to the beer (not to "hide" their yeast).

I know that at least Westmalle, Rochefort, and Chimay can be cultivated straight out of the bottle, and I'd assume Achel and Westvleteran can too (if not, you can easily get it from a bottle of Westmalle). Koningshoeven I'm not sure about.
 

brian_g

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SumnerH,

The Book Brew Like a Monk says there are only 6 that brew beer. Did they miss one? I did some investigating on Wikipedia, apparently while Koningshoeven does brew their beer in a Trappist monastery, they lost their right to call it an authentic Trappist product. I assume the book does not count Koningshoeven for this reason.
 

brian_g

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On the topic of Trappist yeast, it's really important when using White Labs Trappist Ale Yeast to keep the fermentation temperature under control. Fermenting at 85-90 degrees is a really bad idea. Bubble gum, while a fairly popular flavor on it's own, doesn't really work with beer. While you might think it could make a good novelty beer. It doesn't.
This is one of those learn from your mistakes times. It was my 4th batch of beer. Prior to that batch I had been using Cooper's and Mutton's kits. I've come to appreciate how forgiving their yeast is. The beer is still aging. The bubble gum flavor is gone, but it still has some off flavors which I'm hoping will go away or improve.
 

SumnerH

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SumnerH,

The Book Brew Like a Monk says there are only 6 that brew beer. Did they miss one? I did some investigating on Wikipedia, apparently while Koningshoeven does brew their beer in a Trappist monastery, they lost their right to call it an authentic Trappist product. I assume the book does not count Koningshoeven for this reason.
Koningshoeven regained their Trappist certification in September of 2005. Brew Like a Monk came out the very next month; presumably it was already being printed and shipped before they were re-certified.

The author, Stan Hieronymous, was hot on the news though and posted about it in his blog in October 2005. He's the best one to fill in the details:

Brew Like A Monk » Blog Archive » La Trappe regains right to use Trappist logo
 

brian_g

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SumnerH,

You seem to know quite a bit about Trappist beers. How many Belgian / Trappist style beers have you made? I've only made one (see above post), which I'm hoping will be ok after some aging. My wife isn't as big of a fan. She didn't like Chimay. She does, however, like The Three Philosophers, which is a Belgian style.
 

SumnerH

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Just the 2 in my .sig (both are recipes that Stan Hieronymous helped design for Northern Brewer--a Belgian strong dark ale modelled after Rochefort 8, and a Westmalle Extra-style pale ale). I'm reading up in preparation to spend the summer brewing a lot of Belgians.

My goal is to lay down at least 2 more (different) BDSAs, a BDPA, a quad, and a tripel in the next couple of months (basically alternating with non-Belgians so I don't run out of smaller beers or get too sick of them). I'm using them as my entry into all-grain (Brew in a bag style).

I'll be doing a wit and a lambic, too, but those aren't really Trappist/Abbey style, just Belgian.
 

SumnerH

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Oh on the fermentation temperature question: BLAM talked about this and Stan had some interviews on BBR where he discussed it.

A lot of the Trappist beers start off at 65F or so (+/- 5 depending on the style) but then just let the fermentation heat do its thing and finish higher (without making the same efforts to keep the temperature low throughout fermentation that most brewers use with their ales).

So I let them get a lot higher than I usually would; I tried to keep my kristalweizen in the low 60s, for instance (which is pretty usual for me), but it's my understanding that the Belgians actually need to be allowed to go warmer than usual to get all the nifty Belgian yeast flavors. So I just let the Belgians ramp up.

85 is really hot, though. I think mine peaked at maybe 72ish (which is warmer than I like for most ales to get).
 
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