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Harvesting Spotted Cow yeast

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mthompson

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I have been trying to harvest the yeast out of some New Glarus Spotted Cow, so I can start working out a clone. Problem is, I can't seem to get it to grow.

Has anyone ever successfully harvested from these bottles? I've searched on here and google, to no avail.

I've tried two starters now, the first with 800mL and 1/3c extra pale dme, and 2 slurries from the bottles (fridge temp). Second was the same wort, and three slurries from room temp beers.

Both times, there was no activity at all after 5 days, nor was there more yeast in the sediment than what I put in there.

Any of you hands have a suggestion?

Thanks,
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Spotted Cow is fermented with Wyeast 2565 Kölsch yeast. It is available at most retailers.

Sorry if that kills the mystique. Ferment it cold around 60ºF.
 
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mthompson

mthompson

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Spotted Cow is fermented with Wyeast 2565 Kölsch yeast. It is available at most retailers.

Sorry if that kills the mystique. Ferment it cold around 60ºF.
Doesn't ruin anything, I was gonna use a Kölsch if the harvesting didn't work out. I am just curious how you know this? I haven't read anything other than the yeast is probably proprietary, and that Dan is fond of Kölsch yeast.

Everything I've read, leads me to believe that the yeast is the same as the fermentation yeast. Don't see why you'd go through the trouble of filtering yeast out, then adding some back in......especially if it is widely available Wyeast.

Thanks,
 

joety

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Don't see why you'd go through the trouble of filtering yeast out, then adding some back in......especially if it is widely available Wyeast.

Thanks,
Don't know about Spotted Cow, but a lot of Belgian brewers do this to foil home brewers attempts to "pirate" their beers. That said, doesn't Spotted Cow claim to be unfiltered?

Yeast strains mutate over time. Even though Abbey, Abbey II and Belgian Strong Ale (Wyeast strains) were all originally lifted from Belgian breweries, some were more than 30 years ago and you still wouldn't get an exact copy.

Are you sure Spotted Cow is bottle conditioned? It's widely available in quarter barrels around here which would lead me to believe it's force carbonated.
 

Jack

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joeyt said:
Are you sure Spotted Cow is bottle conditioned?
The label claims that it's cask conditioned.

NewGlarusBrewing.com said:
Cask conditioned ale has been the popular choice among brews since long before prohibition. We continue this pioneer spirit with our Wisconsin farmhouse ale. Brewed with flaked barley and the finest Wisconsin malts. We even give a nod to our farmers with a little hint of corn.

Naturally cloudy we allow the yeast to remain in the bottle to enhance fullness of flavors, which cannot be duplicated otherwise.

Expect this ale to be fun, fruity and satisfying. You know you're in Wisconsin when you see the Spotted Cow.
 
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mthompson

mthompson

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Thanks Jack, I had another tab open ready to copy the info over.

I'm originally from Plymouth, just so's yous guys don't get the wrong idea about me. In arkansas for school (since everyon else in this thread is from WI).

The part about "leaving yeast in for fullness of flavor" and "naturally cloudy" is what leads me to believe that it is the same yeast. I just can't figure out why it won't grow out of the bottle, so I can save $10 on my next trip to the LHBS.

Anyway, I have a few more bottles from this case left. And some friends from up there are headed down tomorrow for some duck hunting, so I'll get another supply to tithe me over. (yes, me - hoppy beers give me wicked headaches :( ; swmbo prefers organic revolution)

Thanks again,
 

Jack

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To be fair, I've always wondered why there's never any sediment in Spotted Cow bottles if it really is cask conditioned.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Perhaps they mean the only do not filter the beer. It could still be force carbonated with residual yeast in the bottle. This is what I suspect they do.
 
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mthompson

mthompson

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To be fair, I've always wondered why there's never any sediment in Spotted Cow bottles if it really is cask conditioned.
All mine have sediment in them, but it doesn't seem viable.
 

jmick

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I did have success making a starter from spotted cow about 2 weeks ago. i had no intention of actually using it in a beer, but wanted to see if it could be done for future reference - so my technique was not exactly the best. 500 ml in a sanitized 1 liter plastic coke bottle with about 2/3 cup DME. I used the slurry at the bottom of 6 bottles of spotted cow. I sealed the cap tight and would check it for any pressure every couple hours or so. It took about 3 days to get noticeable activity. but it definitely got going - It could build up to a noticeable pressure release every half hour - and smelled like fermentation.


on a side note, I hardly ever get any sediment from bottles I buy at the local liquor store, but the ones from the gas station had a pretty solid layer of yeast at the bottom. I would guess it was older beer and didn't get moved around much.
 

Cookiebaggs

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Thanks Al. I'll ask him about it.

Looking forward to Saturday.

I'll have the cash, you bring the grain! :D
 

jacksonbrown

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Anybody have an AG clone recipie of Spotted Cow?
This is the one that's in my recipe file. I forgot where I found it, but I have not yet brewed it.

5 gals at 70% efficiency

5.25 lb US 2-row
1.33 lb Flaked Corn
0.88 lb Vienna Malt
0.50 lb Flaked Barley
0.50 lb Dextrine
0.50 lb Caravienne

1.50 oz. Crystal 3.5%AA - 60
0.50 oz. Crystal 3.5%AA - 10

Kolsh yeast
 

stoutaholic

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A homebrewer with close connections to the New Glarus brewing staff told me that the text on the bottle is false -- there is no live yeast in the bottle. He was actually considering suing them for false advertising.
 
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mthompson

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A homebrewer with close connections to the New Glarus brewing staff told me that the text on the bottle is false -- there is no live yeast in the bottle. He was actually considering suing them for false advertising.

I believe it, 'cause I grow bacteria for my school stuff all the time (basically the same process as yeast starters)....and I got nothing to grow from 2 cases of spotted cow. There is definitely sediment in the bottles, but as far as I am concerned it is NOT live.

Kinda irks me that a company would use that as an advertising ploy :mad:

Just personal principles, or whathaveyou I guess.....




As an update - I am gonna brew my first partial-mash Spotted cow clone this weekend.....

Grains:
3.30 lbs. Briess Pilsen LME
1.00 lbs. Briess Gold DME
1.00 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)
0.5# Briess Crystal 40L Malt
1.5# Flaked maize
1.0# Flaked barley
***Going to do the partial mash at 153F for 1 hour, and plan on a 3gal. boil.

Hops:
0.5 oz. Cascade - 60min.
0.25 oz. Cascade - 30 min.
0.25 oz. Cascade - 5 min. (or maybe dry hop - haven't done this before)

Yeast:
White Labs Cream Ale (WLP-080)



Let me know what you guys think. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
 

jacksonbrown

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Personally, I don't think cascades are right at all. They have such a distinct characteristic and scent, and it's just not Spotted Cow material.
 

BrewDey

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SWMBO loves Spotted Cow, but I bet she wouldn't if I tried to use cascades (she's an anti-hophead). I don't get too much hop presence in it at all...it actually seems pretty malty for a light beer. If anyone nails a clone for this, I'd love to give it a try.
 
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mthompson

mthompson

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Personally, I don't think cascades are right at all. They have such a distinct characteristic and scent, and it's just not Spotted Cow material.
What would be a better choice? The LHBS doesn't have a very large selection....I wanted to use Hallertau and Saaz, but that was a no go. And the guys at the store weren't much help....

Thanks,
 

jacksonbrown

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Like I said, I've never tried brewing a clone. I start off with one of the recipes already listed in this thread and try improving it from there. Or if not the full recipe then at least the hops and hop schedule. And please let us know how it turns out.
 
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mthompson

mthompson

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I start off with one of the recipes already listed in this thread and try improving it from there.
I took a few different recipes which people had on the internet, and looked at what the LHBS had, and came out with the recipe I listed above....including the wrong hops. I am only using 1oz., and according to a few different calculations should result in IBU~16-19. I was shooting for ~17, which might be high for Spotted Cow....but it's a middle of the road starting point of reference for future tweaking.

I will update you on my results. I plan on working out a decent clone over the next few batches. This will be my first true partial mash (not steeping), and my first non-kit beer, so hopefully it turns out half-way decent.

Thanks again,
 

Braid

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I'm still a rookie at this, but is it possible that the beer was in fac bottle conditioned with live yeast cells and then pasturized to kill the yeast and stop fermentation?
 
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mthompson

mthompson

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Hey guys,

Sorry about the delayed response. I brewed the above beer and noted most (I may have missed small details....) of the day on Kaiser's log book pages.

I used 100% charcoal filtered tap water, >100ppm total hardness and ~100ppm alkalinity (based on my fish test kits).

Ingredients:
3.3 lb pilsner LME
1.5 lb flaked maize
1.0 lb flaked barley
1.0 lb US 2-row pale malt
1.0 lb Gold DME
0.5 lb Crystal 40L

mini-mashed the grains at 2 qt/lb and 155ºF on an electric element stove for 60min. (actual average over the 60 minutes was 152ºF)

Hop schedule:
0.50 oz Cascade(AA-7.4%) 60min
0.25 oz Cascade(AA-7.4%) 30min
0.25 oz Cascade(AA-7.4%) 5min

My pre-boil volume was 4gal and lost 0.7gal. IBU was calculated at 21.1IBU for an average boil volume of 3.75. After flameout (1hr 45min after ignition), the wort was chilled to 72ºF in 13min and dumped in to a 6.5gal bucket and brought to 5 gal with filtered tap water. The wort was aerated by the 'knee-rocking' method, and afterward the O.G. reading was 1.052 at 68.3ºF.

A yeast starter was made two days prior to brewing using 1/3cup light DME boiled 10min in 800mL filtered tap water. One vial of White Labs cream ale (WLP080) was pitched to the started and allowed to ferment for 36 hr. After cold-crashing in the refrigerator at 37.5ºF for several hours, a 150mL slurry was left after decanting off the top portion. This slurry was pitched into the 68.3ºF wort at 11:27am and fermentation was confirmed via the blow-off tube bubbling away at 8:51pm. Fermentation activity was noticeably reduced three days later.

After 19d in the primary, I had some issues with gravity measurements....and a "few more days" turned into leaving the beer in the bucket for ~7wks total. I didn't write down bottling dates or anything (that I can find, and yes I know that Kaiser has a section for ages and comments and such), but it fermented out to 1.010 and I bottled with one package of priming sugar.

The beer turned out good and it only lasted a few weeks (mostly my fault, :mug:), but it was not exactly Spotted Cow. I did a side-by-side about 2 months ago with my last bottle of the clone and a Spotted Cow that I saved since late March (next to each other). The Spotted Cow had a little more mouth feel than mine, but overall they were very close with similar creamy smooth finishes. Colors were also very close, with the Spotted Cow being just a bit more clear, but dead even on shade. The hops were definitely different and mine had more flavor/aroma hops coming through, but not much more in bitterness. Surprising because my version was estimated at 21.1 IBU, and Spotted Cow I figured would be way less. I am thinking that the long primary and 4 month bottle conditioning may have mellowed out the hops a bit.

Overall, this was a very decent beer. Everyone that drank one said it was good (maybe they were being nice), but I found myself soon wanting a third every time I cracked one open. My next batch will probably be AG, and I will do my damnedest to get a closer hop replica and try a Kölsch yeast at around 60ºF.

Let me know if you have any questions,

MT

p.s. - sorry for all the details, but some might find it useful.
 

ThreeDogsNE

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I took the tour at New Glarus last month. I was passing through, and they were a brewery not far from my path. I was not paying close attention, as they don't distribute in Nebraska where I live. The brewer who gave the tour mentioned their proprietary yeast strain that is kept for them at the University of Wisconsin. He also talked about pasteurizing their beers, and then putting it through a centrifugation process for clarification. It sounded more like a whirlpool process, the way he described it. He also mentioned that some beer bypasses the centrifuge to add back the proper sediment. He did not mention bypassing pasteurization. After that tour I'm not surprised to see others speak of limited success in culturing their yeast. In reading the bottles I brought back (still full, tonight), they pay homage to cask condition, but don't outright say that it is bottle conditioned. Their words:

"Cask conditioned ale has been the popular choice among brews since long before prohibition. We continue this pioneer spirit with out Wisconsin farmhouse ale. Brewed with flaked barley and the finest Wisconsin malts. We even give a nod to our farmers with a little hint of corn. Naturally cloudy, we allow the yeast to remain in the bottle to enhance fullness of flavors which cannot be duplicated otherwise..."

What it does not say is bottle conditioned, refermented in the bottle, live yeast, or similar verbiage. Clever wording. Madison Avenue would be proud.

It's a beautiful brewery, made to look like an European castle or chateau. They also took the tops off of some old copper mash tuns or brew kettles to sit over the top of their stainless steel tanks to enhance that appearance. However, appearances, like words, can be deceiving. I also toured Capital Brewery the same day, where they actually use a copper tun and kettle. Looking through the door of the kettle, the difference was apparent.
 

MetallHed

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the only new glarus beer that I have noticed was bottle carbed was their organic revolution. When I had that beer it looked like sand floating in the beer.... definately sediment...
 

joety

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It's a beautiful brewery, made to look like an European castle or chateau. They also took the tops off of some old copper mash tuns or brew kettles to sit over the top of their stainless steel tanks to enhance that appearance. However, appearances, like words, can be deceiving. I also toured Capital Brewery the same day, where they actually use a copper tun and kettle. Looking through the door of the kettle, the difference was apparent.
I still have to get out to New Glarus and do that one. Their brewery does look beautiful in the pics, and I'm very familiar with topography in the area. Southwest Wisconsin reminds me a lot of Southern Belgium near the border with Luxembourg with the rolling hills and stone farmhouses. We used to camp at nearby Yellowstone Lake every summer.

If you are up in that area again you should try Ale Asylum and the Great Dane Brewpup. Great Dane has several locations in the area, be sure to try the one on the ismuth.
 

ThreeDogsNE

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This is interesting to me. Perhaps I was misinformed or they have changed there yeast. Either way I am sure it is a similar strain.
We happened upon a tour given by a guy who said he had worked there for a dozen years or so. He made kind of a big deal about the yeast arriving from the university as a very small specimen and being cultured up to an appropriate sized starter, then being re-used for five brews before being discarded. He also talked some about their pasteurization protecting their proprietary yeast strain. It all sounded legitimate. I suppose it could have been salesmanship, though the guy came across as more of a techie than a salesman (which would be excellent salesmanship/acting). He seemed genuinely proud of "his" company. I just took it at face value, and bought a few cases...
 
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