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Harvesting Yeast from Commercial Brews

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IndyPABrewGuy

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Ok, so I've read about this, and know it can be done with bottle conditioned beers. I am personally looking to harvest some pacman yeast from the Rogue bottles I have. Anyone have any luck/anecdotes concerning said venture, or this type of harvesting at all?

Thanks,
 

Tenchiro

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Most breweries that bottle condition have a secondary yeast strain for that purpose. You don't often see the fermentation strain in the bottles.
 

Iordz

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I have heard that you can get PacMan from the Shakespeare Stout, I repeat I have only heard this and can't confirm it.
 

malkore

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make sure its not a filtered beer that was force carb'd and then bottled....there won't be any yeast to harvest :)
 

mrkristofo

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Helps to have a stirplate, flask, and stirbar for this so you can keep the yeast in reproduction.

Pacman is easy to get. Make up a 1/2 cup starter with 1/2oz DME, and 1/8tsp of yeast nutrient (diammonium phosphate). Boil the sucker for about 20 minutes, then let cool.

Pour yourself 3 nice glasses of dead guy ale, leaving about an inch of beer at the bottom of each bottle. Sanitize the neck and rim of the bottles with rubbing alcohol or vodka, and then flame them. Swirl the bit of beer/yeast in the bottom, and pitch all 3 into the starter.

Let the starter go for a couple of days on the stirplate, then step it up with 1cup of nutrient rich wort (same ratios as above). Let it go for another couple days, then pitch another cup.

By the end, you should have enough pacman to fill 3 white labs vials about half-way. I know it works with Dead Guy, because I did it just a couple weeks ago just like this. And in UT, they don't take any precautions for yeast health, like keeping beer in the fridge at the liquor stores....but I digress.

That's the lazy way to do it, anyway. A better way would be to streak them with an inoculation loop on some malt extract/agar plates, and then select some health colonies to propagate, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's more than you'd want to do ;).
 

sully

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i have had good results from the shakespeare stout 22 oz'er. i pretty much did what mr kristofo said except i stepped it up a couple of times then made a 1 gallon batch of pale ale and used the slurry from that. the pale ale was great, to bad there was only one gallon but the shakespeare stout clone was amazing... that one went so fast it was sad when it was gone. until the next batch was ready!
 
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IndyPABrewGuy

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mrkristofo said:
Helps to have a stirplate, flask, and stirbar for this so you can keep the yeast in reproduction.

Pacman is easy to get. Make up a 1/2 cup starter with 1/2oz DME, and 1/8tsp of yeast nutrient (diammonium phosphate). Boil the sucker for about 20 minutes, then let cool.

Pour yourself 3 nice glasses of dead guy ale, leaving about an inch of beer at the bottom of each bottle. Sanitize the neck and rim of the bottles with rubbing alcohol or vodka, and then flame them. Swirl the bit of beer/yeast in the bottom, and pitch all 3 into the starter.

Let the starter go for a couple of days on the stirplate, then step it up with 1cup of nutrient rich wort (same ratios as above). Let it go for another couple days, then pitch another cup.

By the end, you should have enough pacman to fill 3 white labs vials about half-way. I know it works with Dead Guy, because I did it just a couple weeks ago just like this. And in UT, they don't take any precautions for yeast health, like keeping beer in the fridge at the liquor stores....but I digress.

That's the lazy way to do it, anyway. A better way would be to streak them with an inoculation loop on some malt extract/agar plates, and then select some health colonies to propagate, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's more than you'd want to do ;).
Ok, got it. Either go the "lazy way" or go back to Micro for a week. Fantastic. Now, with a bit of searching, I should be able to get my hands on some Dead Guy, but I do have a bunch of bombers of Rogue in my basement. I just looked through them, and the only two with sediment in the bottles are the Shark Tooth Ale and the Festive Ale. Any thoughts on trying with these?? Also, lacking a small laboratory in my kitchen, so no stir plate. I'm assuming I can just gently rock the bottles relatively often (three to four times a day). Also, how necessary is the yeast nutrient? I don't have any and haven't worked with it. No issue trying, just asking.

Also, why such a small starter volume. My initial thoughts, prior to reading, would be to make a normal starter size of about 1 qt., pour the harvested yeast in there, give it a good few days, then add another qt. into it and let'er rip.

Thanks for all the info, all.
 

mrkristofo

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IndyPABrewGuy said:
Ok, got it. Either go the "lazy way" or go back to Micro for a week. Fantastic. Now, with a bit of searching, I should be able to get my hands on some Dead Guy, but I do have a bunch of bombers of Rogue in my basement. I just looked through them, and the only two with sediment in the bottles are the Shark Tooth Ale and the Festive Ale. Any thoughts on trying with these?? Also, lacking a small laboratory in my kitchen, so no stir plate. I'm assuming I can just gently rock the bottles relatively often (three to four times a day). Also, how necessary is the yeast nutrient? I don't have any and haven't worked with it. No issue trying, just asking.

Also, why such a small starter volume. My initial thoughts, prior to reading, would be to make a normal starter size of about 1 qt., pour the harvested yeast in there, give it a good few days, then add another qt. into it and let'er rip.

Thanks for all the info, all.
Ok, so no micro. I've used Dead Guy and Shakespeare both and had great results. Can't comment on the Shark Tooth or festive.

As for gently rocking, i'd shake the hell out of it instead to make sure there's some good aeration.

As for yeast nutrient, you will get sufficiently larger yield and healthier yeast this way. I substitute all my cultures with Yeast Extract, Zinc Sulfate, and Diammonium phosphate. Adding diammonium phosphate (DAP) provides necessary free amino nitrogen to the yeast that malt extract is typically deficient in. Especially in the case where you're trying to optimize the health of yeast that have been sitting under alcohol in a bottle, post fermentation, for god knows how long.

As for the small start volume? Surely you should remember this from Micro ;). You don't want to step up more than 5x the volume when you're culturing like this for optimal cell growth. Start out with 1/2-cup, step up to 1.5C, then add another cup a few days later. it will all be gravy after that.

Cheers.
 

Kevin Dean

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Wyeast sometimes puts out VSS (Very Special Strains) and often these are commercial yeast strains. I don't know how long ago, but I know Pacman was one of them; it's possible with some searching you could find a home brewer (or an HBTer, even better!) that has that particular strain in their bank.
 

Funkenjaeger

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I'm in the process of culturing pacman right now, from some shakespeare stout and brutal bitter, got about a 1L starter of it that's just about finished. If you have trouble with it I could send you a slant or something, but stepping up a slant may not be all that much simpler.
 

ColoradoXJ13

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mrkristofo said:
That's the lazy way to do it, anyway. A better way would be to streak them with an inoculation loop on some malt extract/agar plates, and then select some health colonies to propagate, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's more than you'd want to do ;).
Not necessarily, many yeast strains (Belgian Wit's for example) are mixtures of several strains, I tried this with yeast from Avery's White Rascal and got a very weird beer in the end. You are better off going with the whole slurry from the bottom of a bottle.

As a side note, I have Pacman frozen away in my library, if anyone needs it desperately, we could work something out.
 
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IndyPABrewGuy

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ColoradoXJ13 said:
Not necessarily, many yeast strains (Belgian Wit's for example) are mixtures of several strains, I tried this with yeast from Avery's White Rascal and got a very weird beer in the end. You are better off going with the whole slurry from the bottom of a bottle.

As a side note, I have Pacman frozen away in my library, if anyone needs it desperately, we could work something out.
This has been a great discussion. I'm all about trying to culture some from a Dead Guy . . . .wait, that reads wrong, a Dead Guy ALE or 6 (plus its Friday and I'm thirsty). I just need to get my hands on som yeast nutrient. Hmmm . . .. I wonder if I have my old micro Prof's e-mail still.

So, theoretically, I could harvest yeast from my homebrew, so I'll never have to buy yeast again. Awesome (I know this is not true, but in a pinch I could do said activity).
 

Funkenjaeger

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IndyPABrewGuy said:
So, theoretically, I could harvest yeast from my homebrew, so I'll never have to buy yeast again. Awesome (I know this is not true, but in a pinch I could do said activity).
It's entirely possible, and a fair number of people do - at least to a reasonable extent. It's still a very smart idea to keep dry yeast on hand because it's always ready to go. I prefer culturing by growing on slants - it takes up very little space, is really easy, and keeps the number of yeast generations low. Plus, it stays very pure without having to wash the yeast, unlike harvesting from a yeast cake.
 

mrkristofo

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I should specify that yeast nutrient is commonly used in winemaking, and should be readily available at any homebrew shop. They'll probably call it DAP.
 

Funkenjaeger

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mrkristofo said:
I should specify that yeast nutrient is commonly used in winemaking, and should be readily available at any homebrew shop. They'll probably call it DAP.
Yep, good point. My LHBS is pretty pathetic, but they've got a small shelf of various brewing-related salts, additives, and other chemicals, and I got a bottle from there, it was just labeled "yeast nutrient", and by looking at it, it's obvious there's several different compounds in it.
 
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