Harvesting yeast from commercial beer

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dmbnpj

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Can you do this with any type beer?

For example, a brown ale?
 

nealf

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It completely depends on if the beer was bottle conditioned or not. But, if it was... yes, you can do it with any beer that has yeast in the bottle.

A word of warning, some breweries do not use their fermenting yeast as their bottle conditioning yeast:

http://www.nada.kth.se/~alun/Beer/Bottle-Yeasts/
 

cvstrat

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The type of beer doesn't really matter. However many beers are filtered before packaging. So you're not gonna have much luck pulling yeast from a bud light. Newcastle is probably filtered too, so that could be difficult. But there are browns that are not and should be fine for that application.
 

weirdboy

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My gut says that their beer is filtered, not bottle or keg conditioned, and possibly pasteurized as well. If that's the case, you'd have very little luck trying to harvest yeast from the bottles.

The easiest way to find out for sure is just call and ask them. If you live close to the brewery, there's a chance you might be able to just swing by and get a yeast sample straight from the fermenter in a mason jar (assuming you bring one).
 
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dmbnpj

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So how to tell which beers you can do this with?
 

Grizzlybrew

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If you can see the yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle, save a couple and make a starter, look for signs of growth.

Also, you could always call the brewery and ask.
 

cvstrat

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That's what I was gonna say, contact the brewery and ask them. They will tell you.
 

Spludge

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So how to tell which beers you can do this with?
Any beer with 'Bottle Conditioned' on the label will have yeast inside which can be harvested. Look for the small cake on the bottom of the bottle, just like you see in a homebrew.

Some companies use different yeast in conditioning vs fermentation. When you make your starter make sure the aroma and flavor characteristics are what your going for.
 
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