Do small breweries propagate their own yeast?

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jcarson83

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Just curious if small breweries just getting started usually bought yeast bulk or propagated their own.
 

blackwaterbrewer

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i have bben to only one small brewery and i asked them this very question. he said that they have some yeasts that they will harvest but no more than 2-3 times. after that there is risk of mutation. he said that they did have one or two yeasts which were given to them in germany which they pay a lab to cultivate.
 
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jcarson83

jcarson83

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Seems like that would be a huge part of the cost if you needed to use liquid yeast for some specialty beers. A brick of yeast sounds awesome.
 

WindRiverGuy

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Depends on the brewery but I would say 90% leave that one up to the pros. Some get cultures from Wyeast or White Labs in much larger pitchable quantities and use them for a couple of generations. I know a couple of breweries who use dry yeast from Fermentis. When I was working at Page in Minneapolis we used to go over to the Stroh's brewery in St Paul with a bucket and tap a fermentation tank for yeast. (I'm guessing that situation was fairly rare!)
 

MVKTR2

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Mississippi's only micro, Lazy Magnolia Brewery, uses all dry yeast. They use them for a few generations and toss em. The brewer told me all the ones they use are available to us homebrewers, I quipped about that being a bunch of packets to open ;)

Schlante,
Phillip
 

Scut_Monkey

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It's upsetting how many more strains are available commercially in dry form.
Why is it that they choose not to sell to us? Is it a storage problem or something..... I can't see why except they would not find it profitable. Is my money no good! :mad:
 
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jcarson83

jcarson83

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Maybe they would rather sell a pound at a time rather than 10 grams. I can't blame them.
 

david_42

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Yes
and
yes

Most of the smaller brewers have house strains and strains they purchase for more specialized brews.

Yeah, storage is a consideration for some dry yeasts. They can be dried, but have to be kept cold and used quickly. Putting yeast in small packets at room temperature for two years is a very tough proposition.
 

beerocd

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Wasn't that in someone's picture essay here when they brewed at/with a microbrewer? I definitely remember seeing someone drain yeast from the fermenter to fill up a corny for the next batch of beer.

-OCD
 

Scut_Monkey

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Wasn't that in someone's picture essay here when they brewed at/with a microbrewer? I definitely remember seeing someone drain yeast from the fermenter to fill up a corny for the next batch of beer.

-OCD
I think Nostalgia posted pictures showing that when he helped brew at a local brew pub.
 

vtbeerman

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I know a small brewer here in Vermont that just uses half a brick of dry yeast. He said it was too much work to use liquid. "Waking it up and then putting it back to sleep all the time takes too long," he said.
 

carnevoodoo

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I think a lot of breweries in SD use a combination of White Labs and yeast propagation. I know that the breweries will also share yeast to keep costs down. Most beer in this town is made using Cali ale yeast, so it is easy for them to share like they do. I also know that several of them have yeast prop tanks. Green Flash, Alesmith, and Ballast Point for sure. BP even has a lab.
 

Amity

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My locals use Wyeast. One of the breweries here (Amber's Brewing) starts with a smack pack, brewing a 5 gallon homebrew then uses that slurry to build up to the brewery size.
 

Talloak

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I was in my local microbrewery - Backroad Brewery in La Porte, IN last friday to buy a growler. Its quite small, like 1,000bbls a year, maybe 1,500. I could be wrong. Its just two guys who run it. One boiler, two primaries and two secondaries. They are adding a third secondary soon.

But I walked in, theres no counter or anything - you just kinda stumble into the magic when you go there. There were three smack packs sitting there ready to be pitched. So thats what they use anyway. Chuck, the guy who owns and runs it, has no formal training - he was a homebrewer once. Then one day, 13 years ago, he took it to the next level.
 

moti_mo

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I just toured the Pike Brewery in Seattle - not tiny, but not huge by any means. I asked him this very question. They get their main yeast strain, used for all of their "regular strength" beers from White Labs in a large pitchable quantity, and re-use this yeast typically for 20-25 generations (with appropriate QC in place of course to ensure minimal mutation).

For their bigger beers, their Trippel and their double IPA, he said they use Wyeast (#3787 from what I can deduce) and only re-use the yeast for 5 generations at most, often less.

I was psyched to get to ask one of their brewers that question, as I'd been wondering about that point for a while w.r.t. microbreweries - they're good guys there, and good beer too.
 
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