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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 12:44:41 AM

Title: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 12:44:41 AM
Seems simple enough, was going to give this a try for fun and perhaps to use with a SN Pale Ale recipe.

If you do it, how has it turned out? I'm guessing you have to do this a few times (building up, decanting, repeat) before you get enough cells to pitch.

Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: erockrph on February 14, 2015, 01:31:37 AM
First and foremost, since the culture is not in the greatest health and is a fairly low cell count, proper sanitation is an absolute necessity - even more so than usual.

For the initial step, I like to do it in the bottle instead of pouring the dregs off. Transfers are the times where you run the biggest risk of contamination, so I like to make sure the culture is woken up a bit before transferring out. Sanitize the bottle and bottle opener before opening. Then sanitize the neck/lip of the bottle before pouring the beer. I like to leave about 1/2 inch of beer in the bottle, plus the dregs. this way you get any yeast that is still in suspension and not just the flocced out dregs.

I then use a sanitized funnel to add about 1/2-1 inch of 1.030ish wort. Once diluted with the remaining beer, this gives you a nice low OG of about 1.020. This is less stressful to the yeast than the typical 1.040ish starter wort we typically use. Then I cover with foil (for non-sours) or add a small stopper and airlock (for sours). I usually give the first step about 7-10 days to give the yeast plenty of time to wake up and do their thing.

From there, the general rule for stepping up a starter is a tenfold increase each step. So step two is maybe 200 mL or so of 1.035 wort, and then that can go into a normal 2-liter starter. Use your nose to tell you whether there are any problems, and taste your larger starters to ensure that you didn't pick up any contamination along the way.

For sanitation, I have had good luck simply using Star-San, but if you really wanted to take stronger precautions, then using something like 151 or Everclear, then flaming it off is the way to go.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 01:48:47 AM
Thanks..do you use this technique often?
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: majorvices on February 14, 2015, 02:39:09 AM
If you are going to go through all that trouble, pick a strain you can not get readily available from a yeast manufacturer. Delerium Tremens comes to mind.

I've done this a few times and its certainly not difficult. But you will have more reliable and predictable results just buying a decent size pitch from the regular yeast manufactures. OTOH every homrebrewer should do this at least once, but seriously: do a harder to find strain than Chico!
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 02:47:51 AM
I would think it's worth it from a financial standpoint if it works as well as buying new yeast.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: majorvices on February 14, 2015, 03:02:53 AM
I would think it's worth it from a financial standpoint if it works as well as buying new yeast.

Well, IME it doesn't. think about all the time and malt extract you will use to step up to a pitchable quantity. Now consider what happens when you brew your beer and the yeast wasn't as healthy as you hopped or mutated due to the inhospitable conditions. Now, was it worth it then?

I've stepped up from bottles several times. It's a fun experiment. It's not going to save you any money and unless you really know what you are doing and have an expensive microscope I doubt you will find it makes beer as good as a $4 pack of US-05.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 14, 2015, 03:10:36 AM

I've stepped up from bottles several times. It's a fun experiment. It's not going to save you any money and unless you really know what you are doing and have an expensive microscope I doubt you will find it makes beer as good as a $4 pack of US-05.

+1
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: erockrph on February 14, 2015, 03:39:38 AM

I've stepped up from bottles several times. It's a fun experiment. It's not going to save you any money and unless you really know what you are doing and have an expensive microscope I doubt you will find it makes beer as good as a $4 pack of US-05.

+1
+2 - I mainly do this to step up Orval or other sour dregs, or to grow up a pitch from a batch of homebrew that used a platinum strain that isn't currently available.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 03:40:07 AM
Yeah forgot about cheap dry yeast.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 14, 2015, 04:13:15 AM
Siebel BRY 96 (the strain that Sierra Nevada uses) is the absolute easiest yeast on the planet to culture from a bottle of bottle-conditioned beer.  In fact, it was the first yeast strain that I cultured from a bottle of bottle conditioned beer.  If you are going to culture in the bottle, you are going to need a sanitized funnel and a sanitized #2.5 solid stopper, which will be used to cap the bottle while shaking.

Procedure (assuming that the beer has been resting upright for long enough that the yeast has settled)

Remove the bottle cap

Wipe the mouth of the bottle with a 90% alcohol saturated cotton ball (you need to use a light touch because the goal here is to clear the surface of any dust that may have gotten under the crimped portion of the crown, not drench the bottle)

Flame the mouth by quickly passing the flame from a butane lighter over the mouth of the bottle (Charlie P. referred to this step as "burning the lips")

Carefully decant the beer leaving the sediment and about 1/4" to 3/8" of beer. 

Add 50 to 60ml of 1.020 wort to the bottle using a sanitized funnel (do not attempt to rush the culture by using more wort)

Cap the bottle using a sanitized #2.5 rubber stopper

Place your thumb or the palm of your other hand over the fat end stopper and shake until the liquid is nearly all foam (you should hold the stopper in place; otherwise, Murphy will more than likely show up, and you will have wort on your ceiling)

Remove the stopper and cover the mouth of the bottle with a piece of aluminum foil that has been wiped down with alcohol.

Allow the culture to incubate 24 to 48 hours before stepping (discard the culture if you do not see activity within 48 hours)

Step the culture to 250ml using 1.040 wort

Incubate the culture for another 12 to 18 hours 

From this point forward, you can treat the culture as if you were making a starter with commercial yeast. If you are meticulous about sanitation, this process should produce a clean culture almost 100% of the time.

One last thing, yeast cultured from a bottle of SNPA behaves differently than Wy1056 and WLP001.  Those cultures have drifted from the source.  Cultured SNPA yeast is usually much more flocculent than either Wy1056 or WLP001.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 14, 2015, 04:16:31 AM
I've stepped up from bottles several times. It's a fun experiment. It's not going to save you any money and unless you really know what you are doing and have an expensive microscope I doubt you will find it makes beer as good as a $4 pack of US-05.

I disagree with your assertion. If performed correctly, cultured SNPA yeast performs better than any of the commercial offerings.  While culturing yeast from a bottle is a relatively simple task that can be performed without the aid of microscope, most home brewers rush the process.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 14, 2015, 04:41:13 AM
Hey, in FL you can get Bell's, and that house ale yeast is good for some clones of their beer and it is not commercially available. Culture from the Amber, Oberon, or one of the other beers at 6% or less.

Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: majorvices on February 14, 2015, 11:24:30 AM
I've stepped up from bottles several times. It's a fun experiment. It's not going to save you any money and unless you really know what you are doing and have an expensive microscope I doubt you will find it makes beer as good as a $4 pack of US-05.

I disagree with your assertion. If performed correctly, cultured SNPA yeast performs better than any of the commercial offerings.  While culturing yeast from a bottle is a relatively simple task that can be performed without the aid of microscope, most home brewers rush the process.

You disagree with me. What else is new?  ::) I agree that the mention of expensive microscope was over the top, and I blame it on the whiskey, but if you are using older, undated bottles a microscope can come in handy. From fresh bottles, agree no microscope is necessary.

FLbrewer - definitely try it for yourself. It is a fun experiment. In the long run it was never worth it for me unless it was a yeast I could not obtain commercially, like Delerium Tremens.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 12:36:57 PM

Hey, in FL you can get Bell's, and that house ale yeast is good for some clones of their beer and it is not commercially available. Culture from the Amber, Oberon, or one of the other beers at 6% or less.
Not a bad idea. Just thought to use the SN because that's the beer that it was going in.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 12:37:53 PM

Siebel BRY 96 (the strain that Sierra Nevada uses) is the absolute easiest yeast on the planet to culture from a bottle of bottle-conditioned beer.  In fact, it was the first yeast strain that I cultured from a bottle of bottle conditioned beer.  If you are going to culture in the bottle, you are going to need a sanitized funnel and a sanitized #2.5 solid stopper, which will be used to cap the bottle while shaking.

Procedure (assuming that the beer has been resting upright for long enough that the yeast has settled)

Remove the bottle cap

Wipe the mouth of the bottle with a 90% alcohol saturated cotton ball (you need to use a light touch because the goal here is to clear the surface of any dust that may have gotten under the crimped portion of the crown, not drench the bottle)

Flame the mouth by quickly passing the flame from a butane lighter over the mouth of the bottle (Charlie P. referred to this step as "burning the lips")

Carefully decant the beer leaving the sediment and about 1/4" to 3/8" of beer. 

Add 50 to 60ml of 1.020 wort to the bottle using a sanitized funnel (do not attempt to rush the culture by using more wort)

Cap the bottle using a sanitized #2.5 rubber stopper

Place your thumb or the palm of your other hand over the fat end stopper and shake until the liquid is nearly all foam (you should hold the stopper in place; otherwise, Murphy will more than likely show up, and you will have wort on your ceiling)

Remove the stopper and cover the mouth of the bottle with a piece of aluminum foil that has been wiped down with alcohol.

Allow the culture to incubate 24 to 48 hours before stepping (discard the culture if you do not see activity within 48 hours)

Step the culture to 250ml using 1.040 wort

Incubate the culture for another 12 to 18 hours 

From this point forward, you can treat the culture as if you were making a starter with commercial yeast. If you are meticulous about sanitation, this process should produce a clean culture almost 100% of the time.

One last thing, yeast cultured from a bottle of SNPA behaves differently than Wy1056 and WLP001.  Those cultures have drifted from the source.  Cultured SNPA yeast is usually much more flocculent than either Wy1056 or WLP001.
what's the point of the stopper if I just use to shake? Couldn't I use the foil?
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: erockrph on February 14, 2015, 12:50:52 PM
Place your thumb or the palm of your other hand over the fat end stopper and shake until the liquid is nearly all foam (you should hold the stopper in place; otherwise, Murphy will more than likely show up, and you will have wort on your ceiling)
what's the point of the stopper if I just use to shake? Couldn't I use the foil?
You could use something else (even your thumb if you're wearing a sanitized glove), but the stopper is certainly the best way to keep our boy Murphy from laying down the law all over your ceiling/walls/hardwoods/carpet/etc.

Edit - fix busted quote box
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 14, 2015, 01:32:21 PM

Hey, in FL you can get Bell's, and that house ale yeast is good for some clones of their beer and it is not commercially available. Culture from the Amber, Oberon, or one of the other beers at 6% or less.
Not a bad idea. Just thought to use the SN because that's the beer that it was going in.

Missed that you were doing a Sierra Nevada clone. The Bell's yeast is one I have done a few times, and is not commercially available.
Title: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: bboy9000 on February 14, 2015, 01:49:27 PM
Missed that you were doing a Sierra Nevada clone. The Bell's yeast is one I have done a few times, and is not commercially available.
Well apparently SN yeast isn't really commercially available.  I had no idea about  the genetic drift thing.  I may culture some SN yeast now.

I've cultured yeast from dregs a few times.  Once from Rogue because Morebeer's PA warehouse doesn't carry Pacman and the CA store wouldn't ship to my LHBS in MO.  Then when I started doing sours I made cultures from Boon Oude Kreik and Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere. 

When I cultured the Pacman I just sanitized with Star San and poured into a sanitized mason jar.  When I cultured the wild stuff from Boon and Jolly Pumpkin I flamed the lip, then transferred to a sanitized flask.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 02:34:09 PM
How did they turn out?
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: bboy9000 on February 14, 2015, 03:28:28 PM
The sours fermented but that was three weeks ago so they have a long time to go.  The Dead Guy clone tasted the same as it did with the Wyeast Pacman. 
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 14, 2015, 08:53:10 PM
You disagree with me. What else is new?  ::) I agree that the mention of expensive microscope was over the top, and I blame it on the whiskey, but if you are using older, undated bottles a microscope can come in handy. From fresh bottles, agree no microscope is necessary.

A microscope is completely unnecessary when culturing yeast.  A microscope will not tell one anything that agar plates made simple and/or selective growth media will not bring to light.  In fact, nine times out of ten, the reference culture can be separated from any contamination by observing colony morphology on an agar plate made with simple DME-base media.  White fuzzy colonies are mold.  Dark colonies are usually bacteria.  Round, domed shaped, cream colored yeast cultures are usually domesticated yeast.

Here's a plate that I streaked with Scottish and Newcastle's Tyneside strain:

(http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv356/tonestack/Brewing/SandNYeast_zpsc0067d33.jpg)

Here's a plate that I streaked with Southern Tier's yeast culture:

(http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv356/tonestack/Brewing/PlatedYeast_zps10c1ab8c.jpg)


The S&N plate was streaked from a culture that I grew from a slant.  The  Southern Tier plate was streaked from a 40ml liquid culture that I inoculated directly from a bottle of Southern Tier Live (I start my cultures in media bottles).  I transferred the well isolated colonies inside of the rectangle on the Southern Tier mini-plate to separate slants (that plate is only 60mm wide).   Hopefully, people noticed the complete absence of fuzzy and dark colonies on both plates.   The Southern Tier plate is proof that Southern Tier is not just winging biological quality control like many craft breweries.  That plate tells me that Southern Tier's quality control program is overseen by someone who knows what they are doing.  I have plated cultures from the two big yeast producers that were not that clean.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 14, 2015, 08:56:53 PM
what's the point of the stopper if I just use to shake? Couldn't I use the foil?

Aluminum foil will not contain the contents of the bottle when shaken that hard.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 14, 2015, 09:06:43 PM
Would using the dregs from two beers be better than one during the first step if you used a mason jar instead of the original bottle?

Also, should I cool this wort like a traditional starter?
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: davidgzach on February 14, 2015, 10:25:23 PM
Would using the dregs from two beers be better than one during the first step if you used a mason jar instead of the original bottle?

Also, should I cool this wort like a traditional starter?

Yes and yes.  This is a fun project, especially when it works.  My buddy brought a bottle of Westvleteren back with him from Belgium and I cultured the yeast.  I made a clone of their quad which is delicious and now a Dubbel.  So +1000 (for me) to culturing something that's hard to find.

EDIT:  However if you want to culture and clone the SNPA, have at it and enjoy!
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: erockrph on February 15, 2015, 02:13:23 AM
Would using the dregs from two beers be better than one during the first step if you used a mason jar instead of the original bottle?

Also, should I cool this wort like a traditional starter?

Yes and yes.  This is a fun project, especially when it works.  My buddy brought a bottle of Westvleteren back with him from Belgium and I cultured the yeast.  I made a clone of their quad which is delicious and now a Dubbel.  So +1000 (for me) to culturing something that's hard to find.

EDIT:  However if you want to culture and clone the SNPA, have at it and enjoy!
I was under the impression that Westy got their yeast from Westmalle, which is WY3787. I'm wondering if there's any difference between the two, outside of the Westy XII yeast being more stressed since it's coming from a Quad.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 15, 2015, 03:11:47 AM
Would using the dregs from two beers be better than one during the first step if you used a mason jar instead of the original bottle?

Also, should I cool this wort like a traditional starter?

Yes and yes.  This is a fun project, especially when it works.  My buddy brought a bottle of Westvleteren back with him from Belgium and I cultured the yeast.  I made a clone of their quad which is delicious and now a Dubbel.  So +1000 (for me) to culturing something that's hard to find.

EDIT:  However if you want to culture and clone the SNPA, have at it and enjoy!
I was under the impression that Westy got their yeast from Westmalle, which is WY3787. I'm wondering if there's any difference between the two, outside of the Westy XII yeast being more stressed since it's coming from a Quad.

In Brew Like a Monk it was stated that the Monks from Westvleteren and Achel will drive to Westmalle and pick up a fresh pitch of yeast the day before they brew.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 15, 2015, 01:21:02 PM
In Brew Like a Monk it was stated that the Monks from Westvleteren and Achel will drive to Westmalle and pick up a fresh pitch of yeast the day before they brew.

+1
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: davidgzach on February 15, 2015, 02:28:25 PM
In Brew Like a Monk it was stated that the Monks from Westvleteren and Achel will drive to Westmalle and pick up a fresh pitch of yeast the day before they brew.

+1

Interesting.  However, the yeast I use for my Belgians I got from the bottom of a bottle of Westvletern, which came across the Atlantic ocean, was propagated from the dregs and performs like a racehorse.  Much cooler conversation and story than "I went to my LHBS and bought some WY3787 to make a Belgian"..... ;)
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: HoosierBrew on February 15, 2015, 02:32:07 PM
In Brew Like a Monk it was stated that the Monks from Westvleteren and Achel will drive to Westmalle and pick up a fresh pitch of yeast the day before they brew.

+1

Interesting.  However, the yeast I use for my Belgians I got from the bottom of a bottle of Westvletern, which came across the Atlantic ocean, was propagated from the dregs and performs like a racehorse.  Much cooler conversation and story than I went to my LHBS and bought some WY3787..... ;)

Absolutely!  Culturing from a hard to get beer can be fun, and if it performed great, who cares ?
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: davidgzach on February 15, 2015, 02:36:47 PM
In Brew Like a Monk it was stated that the Monks from Westvleteren and Achel will drive to Westmalle and pick up a fresh pitch of yeast the day before they brew.

+1

Interesting.  However, the yeast I use for my Belgians I got from the bottom of a bottle of Westvletern, which came across the Atlantic ocean, was propagated from the dregs and performs like a racehorse.  Much cooler conversation and story than I went to my LHBS and bought some WY3787..... ;)

Absolutely!  Culturing from a hard to get beer can be fun, and if it performed great, who cares ?

Exactly my point! 
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: denny on February 15, 2015, 05:13:19 PM
I would think it's worth it from a financial standpoint if it works as well as buying new yeast.

Well, IME it doesn't. think about all the time and malt extract you will use to step up to a pitchable quantity. Now consider what happens when you brew your beer and the yeast wasn't as healthy as you hopped or mutated due to the inhospitable conditions. Now, was it worth it then?

I've stepped up from bottles several times. It's a fun experiment. It's not going to save you any money and unless you really know what you are doing and have an expensive microscope I doubt you will find it makes beer as good as a $4 pack of US-05.

All of this^^^^.  Do it because you want to try it, not because it will get you better yeast or save you money.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: majorvices on February 15, 2015, 06:32:32 PM
You disagree with me. What else is new?  ::) I agree that the mention of expensive microscope was over the top, and I blame it on the whiskey, but if you are using older, undated bottles a microscope can come in handy. From fresh bottles, agree no microscope is necessary.

A microscope is completely unnecessary when culturing yeast.  A microscope will not tell one anything that agar plates made simple and/or selective growth media will not bring to light.  In fact, nine times out of ten, the reference culture can be separated from any contamination by observing colony morphology on an agar plate made with simple DME-base media.  White fuzzy colonies are mold.  Dark colonies are usually bacteria.  Round, domed shaped, cream colored yeast cultures are usually domesticated yeast.

Here's a plate that I streaked with Scottish and Newcastle's Tyneside strain:

(http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv356/tonestack/Brewing/SandNYeast_zpsc0067d33.jpg)

Here's a plate that I streaked with Southern Tier's yeast culture:

(http://i699.photobucket.com/albums/vv356/tonestack/Brewing/PlatedYeast_zps10c1ab8c.jpg)


The S&N plate was streaked from a culture that I grew from a slant.  The  Southern Tier plate was streaked from a 40ml liquid culture that I inoculated directly from a bottle of Southern Tier Live (I start my cultures in media bottles).  I transferred the well isolated colonies inside of the rectangle on the Southern Tier mini-plate to separate slants (that plate is only 60mm wide).   Hopefully, people noticed the complete absence of fuzzy and dark colonies on both plates.   The Southern Tier plate is proof that Southern Tier is not just winging biological quality control like many craft breweries.  That plate tells me that Southern Tier's quality control program is overseen by someone who knows what they are doing.  I have plated cultures from the two big yeast producers that were not that clean.

I  understand about yeast culturing and have done it without the help of a microscope. My only thought was that if the bottles were old and the yeast was unhealthy you might want a microscope to check for mutations. I promise I will never bring up usinga  microscope again if you look at the question about drauflassen,
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: tommymorris on February 15, 2015, 06:46:45 PM
Back to harvesting yeast from SNPA. I haven't had that beer in a while but I don't remember any yeast on the bottom of the bottle. I guess y'all are saying there is enough yeast in suspension even in a beer as clear as SNPA to harvest with the methods in this thread?

Another question does it matter if your SNPA was made in North Carolina vs. California? Just for coolness factor I think I would prefer a Chico bottle.

It sounds fun. I agree it is worth trying just for the experience.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 15, 2015, 06:46:55 PM

Allow the culture to incubate 24 to 48 hours before stepping (discard the culture if you do not see activity within 48 hours)


How much activity will I see if this first step actually works?
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: majorvices on February 15, 2015, 07:00:47 PM
Back to harvesting yeast from SNPA. I haven't had that beer in a while but I don't remember any yeast on the bottom of the bottle. I guess y'all are saying there is enough yeast in suspension even in a beer as clear as SNPA to harvest with the methods in this thread?

Another question does it matter if your SNPA was made in North Carolina vs. California? Just for coolness factor I think I would prefer a Chico bottle.

It sounds fun. I agree it is worth trying just for the experience.

You should look a little more closely as there is yeast in the bottom of the bottle.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: brewday on February 15, 2015, 07:03:01 PM
Back to harvesting yeast from SNPA. I haven't had that beer in a while but I don't remember any yeast on the bottom of the bottle. I guess y'all are saying there is enough yeast in suspension even in a beer as clear as SNPA to harvest with the methods in this thread?

Another question does it matter if your SNPA was made in North Carolina vs. California? Just for coolness factor I think I would prefer a Chico bottle.

It sounds fun. I agree it is worth trying just for the experience.

There's a timely interview with Steven Dresler up on another site where he discusses this:

"There's not nearly the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle as there once was, but you can still see it, especially if you set the bottle tilted in the fridge overnight. You'll see a little bit of a yeast plug the next day. If you do that with six bottles, gently decanting the beer out of the bottles, and work in a sterile environment, and get that yeast into a starter, you could probably get that sucker running."

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/brewmaster-interview-steven-dresler-sierra-nevada.html (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/brewmaster-interview-steven-dresler-sierra-nevada.html)
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: majorvices on February 15, 2015, 07:34:11 PM
IIRC they spund the beer to a certain volume of co2 and only need a little natural carbonation to top off the co2 levels in the bottle. The yeast sediment is definitely fine compared to homebrew conditioned bottles.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: denny on February 15, 2015, 07:47:45 PM
Back to harvesting yeast from SNPA. I haven't had that beer in a while but I don't remember any yeast on the bottom of the bottle. I guess y'all are saying there is enough yeast in suspension even in a beer as clear as SNPA to harvest with the methods in this thread?

Another question does it matter if your SNPA was made in North Carolina vs. California? Just for coolness factor I think I would prefer a Chico bottle.

It sounds fun. I agree it is worth trying just for the experience.

Yeah, they definitely add yeast to both bottles and kegs.  For years I didn't believe it either, but when I was there for Beer camp I saw it being done.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 16, 2015, 12:25:51 AM
Back to harvesting yeast from SNPA. I haven't had that beer in a while but I don't remember any yeast on the bottom of the bottle. I guess y'all are saying there is enough yeast in suspension even in a beer as clear as SNPA to harvest with the methods in this thread?

Another question does it matter if your SNPA was made in North Carolina vs. California? Just for coolness factor I think I would prefer a Chico bottle.

It sounds fun. I agree it is worth trying just for the experience.

There's a timely interview with Steven Dresler up on another site where he discusses this:

"There's not nearly the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle as there once was, but you can still see it, especially if you set the bottle tilted in the fridge overnight. You'll see a little bit of a yeast plug the next day. If you do that with six bottles, gently decanting the beer out of the bottles, and work in a sterile environment, and get that yeast into a starter, you could probably get that sucker running."

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/brewmaster-interview-steven-dresler-sierra-nevada.html (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/brewmaster-interview-steven-dresler-sierra-nevada.html)

This for sure. The Bell's mentioned earlier has less yeast than in the past, but it is there.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 16, 2015, 02:24:55 AM
It only takes one viable cell to grow a culture. In fact, all pure cultures start out as a single cell.  The well-isolated colonies on the plates that I posted earlier in this thread are each the offspring of a single cell.

With that said, I look at culturing BRY 96 from a bottle of SNPA as yeast culturing training wheels.  It is a relatively easy task to perform because one is usually dealing with a relatively fresh sample, and SNPA is not a high ABV beer. 

If SNPA had not existed when I first started to brew, I would have never learned as much as I have about yeast.  I am also fairly certain that brewing would have been a passing fad.   Bottle culturing led to pure culture isolation, which led to maintaining a bank of yeast cultures on slant.  Maintaining a bank of yeast cultures on slant led to a level of understanding of the yeast life cycle that brewing alone would have never touched. Now, I can order yeast from any culture collection in the world without fear that I will not be able to handle the task of growing a tiny amount of expensive yeast into a large amount of yeast.  I can also collect and isolate wild stains.   

While high quality yeast cultures were more difficult to obtain when I first started to culture yeast, there is no freedom like the freedom to use any culture in the world without having to wait until one of the major yeast manufacturers carries it.  It is still worth the effort to learn aseptic and single-cell isolation technique, and it is still worth the effort to maintain a yeast bank.  Today, I primarily brew with cultures that are unobtainable via the home brew trade and bottle-conditioned beer, and it all started with culturing the dregs from a bottle of SNPA.

In closing, the number of brewing strains available around the world is easily between an order and two orders of magnitude greater than the number of strains available from Wyeast and White Labs.  For example, anyone who loves brewing porter should look into the Taylor Walker strain.  One will not be able to order this strain from Wyeast or White Labs because neither yeast company carries it.  However the Taylor Walker strain is available from the National Collection of Yeast Cultures as NCYC 240.  Conversely, anyone who loves brown ale should look into acquiring S&N's Tyneside strain if brewing Northern Brown Ale or Mann's strain (NCYC 352) if brewing a Southern Brown Ale.   All of these strains are available to brewers who take the initiative to learn aseptic transfer technique as well as how to prepare absolutely sterile wort.

Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 18, 2015, 12:51:35 PM
Just an update...finished two steps, everything looks good. Completing a 1 liter step this morning (picture from 8 hours after the 1 liter step), but I'm thinking in the past my starters were 2 liters. Thoughts?

(http://i.imgur.com/rX4I9jo.jpg)
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: S. cerevisiae on February 18, 2015, 11:16:17 PM
Just an update...finished two steps, everything looks good. Completing a 1 liter step this morning (picture from 8 hours after the 1 liter step), but I'm thinking in the past my starters were 2 liters. Thoughts?

(http://i.imgur.com/rX4I9jo.jpg)

That starter looks good. If you aerate your wort well, the difference in cell count between a 1L starter and a 2L starter is approximately 90 minutes of propagation time.  The one area where a larger starter for five gallons makes sense is higher gravity brewing.  We need to pitch a larger cell count with high-gravity brewing due to the initial cell loss to osmotic pressure.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: flbrewer on February 19, 2015, 12:03:11 AM
"90 minutes of propagation time", can you elaborate?

This wasn't on a stir plate and I shook it up. Not sure how well that is.
Title: Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
Post by: TMX on February 19, 2015, 03:08:02 AM
IIRC 90 min is one growth cycle