How do you "steal yeast"

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Active Member
Jan 7, 2008
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Dexter, MI
Hello all,

Let me start by saying thank you! As I have said before I am new to AG Brewing and everyone here has been helpful in answering all of my questions.:) So here is another question that I am sure is simple to most of you. I am attempting a clone brew from a local microbrew this weekend. I would like to make a yeast starter from the yeast of the beer I am trying to clone. From what I have read what I am going to do is make a wort from 1qt of water and 1/2 cup of malt extract and boil for 10 minutes. While the wort is boiling I am going to pour and enjoy a couple of the beers that I am trying to reproduce carefully saving the yeast in the bottom 1/4" of beer. When the wort is cooled to 80*F or so I am going to pour the wort into a sanitized 1 gallon wine jug, aerate the wort very well then add the yeast from the bottles of beer and put on an air lock and let the magic take place over the next few days. I am sure that I am missing something or there is a better way to tackle this. Could someone please give me some advice? That would be very helpful.


I'd say, shake up that bottle as often as you can. That goes for any starter, but in this case you're waking up yeast that have been inactive for quite some time, so it might take some coaxing. Personally, I'd repeat the wort process again after a couple days and add it to the bottle, then shake. I'd continue this until I had confidence that I had a good number of active yeast. Perhaps this could be enhanced by shaking the bottle up and then after waiting about 30 minutes, pour the bottle as if it were a bottle of homebrew. The last bit of stuff can be discarded, since it consists of stubborn yeast (that could be dead and ready to autolyze.
Some questions-
Do you know that the beer has been bottle conditioned and not pasteurized?
If so do you know if the brewer used a different yeast for bottle conditioning?

I've never done this before but I bet you will need to propagate it a couple times to get enough yeast for 5 gallons.
Yes the beer has been bottle conditioned. I do not know if the brewer uses the same yeast to condition as he does to brew.

Brewers are cool people. I say you just ask the dude for some yeast.

However, if you want to really tackle this from the source, you have outlined it pretty well for yourself. I would do as someone else said though and step up the wort a couple of times before actual pitching. I'd give yourself a week's worth of propogation time minimum.
I stoped by a local micro (not so micro) brewery yesterday that is in maplewood,MO. They said "you can have whatever yeast you want, just call ahead to see that we can harvest it for you at the moment". The guy was really cool. so, I may try that next time I brew.
I've spoke with 3 brewers who all use a different strain of yeast for bottle conditioning to keep this very thing from happening.