Author Topic: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?  (Read 1581 times)

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2014, 07:56:30 PM »
Should take a week to step it up into a full starter at the least.  2 days in 200ML of wort, nother 2 days in 500ml of wort. 2 days in 2L of wort.

Just conservative estimates of course, others will chime in:)
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2014, 06:45:33 AM »
I'd probably step it up a few times, store it, and then do the final step up when I'm ready to brew.

I've stored yeast in the fridge for extended periods of time.  However, you'll not want to just take it out of the fridge and pitch it directly.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 07:57:38 AM »
I pitched it in 1.020 wort last night. I'll step it up a couple times, put in fridge, then get it going again a day or so before I brew, which is likely in about 2 weeks so it won't be kept long. I'm thinking that once it gets going I can taste it and see if it seems to have similar yeast flavors as the beer so I know there isn't a different bottling strain. If I have doubts I might make a 1 gallon extract version to test it. Thanks everyone!
It is best to have the starter wort prepared and use the yeast sediment from 2-3 bottles. Lower ABV beers are generally what I use, but try to get the strain you are after in this case with a Spencer beer.

Some instructions.
http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter6-7.html

http://byo.com/barleywine-and-imperial-stout/item/1661-yeast-culturing-from-bottles-techniques

Lots of videos. I have not watched any of these so I can't say if they are good or bad.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mF7DLNjh0WM



Thanks for the links. I'm pretty confident that this beer has primary yeast in bottle. I also feel its a good candidate because I'm getting the beer fresh and its not a super high abv, especially for a Trappist. I have a feeling this yeast is not stressed. I really want to use this strain because I am planning on making this beer with 2 friends of mine who used to be monks at St. Joseph's where this is made. I got them into brewing recently and I am going to make this with them at my house to show them what AG entails.
My remaining question is at what point in the process can I stop and put in the fridge for a couple weeks before using?
Your question does not have a clear answer. The batch size and gravity will determine the pitch rate,which will determine the starter size. You don't know the viability of the bottled yeast. My advice is to make a big starter and use that as soon as possible.
Also,
As soon as possible isn't so soon, hence the question. Can this be saved for a couple weeks.
hopfenundmalz, I noticed I used the phrase "hence the question" which when I read it on the post sounds a bit rude. I wasn't meaning to be and I appreciate all the feedback you gave me.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 08:04:40 AM »
I pitched it in 1.020 wort last night. I'll step it up a couple times, put in fridge, then get it going again a day or so before I brew, which is likely in about 2 weeks so it won't be kept long. I'm thinking that once it gets going I can taste it and see if it seems to have similar yeast flavors as the beer so I know there isn't a different bottling strain. If I have doubts I might make a 1 gallon extract version to test it. Thanks everyone!
It is best to have the starter wort prepared and use the yeast sediment from 2-3 bottles. Lower ABV beers are generally what I use, but try to get the strain you are after in this case with a Spencer beer.

Some instructions.
http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter6-7.html

http://byo.com/barleywine-and-imperial-stout/item/1661-yeast-culturing-from-bottles-techniques

Lots of videos. I have not watched any of these so I can't say if they are good or bad.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mF7DLNjh0WM



Thanks for the links. I'm pretty confident that this beer has primary yeast in bottle. I also feel its a good candidate because I'm getting the beer fresh and its not a super high abv, especially for a Trappist. I have a feeling this yeast is not stressed. I really want to use this strain because I am planning on making this beer with 2 friends of mine who used to be monks at St. Joseph's where this is made. I got them into brewing recently and I am going to make this with them at my house to show them what AG entails.
My remaining question is at what point in the process can I stop and put in the fridge for a couple weeks before using?
Your question does not have a clear answer. The batch size and gravity will determine the pitch rate,which will determine the starter size. You don't know the viability of the bottled yeast. My advice is to make a big starter and use that as soon as possible.
Also,
As soon as possible isn't so soon, hence the question. Can this be saved for a couple weeks.
hopfenundmalz, I noticed I used the phrase "hence the question" which when I read it on the post sounds a bit rude. I wasn't meaning to be and I appreciate all the feedback you gave me.

Hey, I didn't even notice that it could have been rude. No problem.

Good luck on harvesting the yeast. Let us know how it turns out.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 08:11:44 AM »
I harvest yeast 2-3 times per year.  Just about a month ago I harvested some Bell's yeast from some fresh Oberon.  Got a beer going with it now in one of my conicals and will probably brew a couple more with it over the summer.  I usually cheat and start with 2-3 bottles worth of yeast.  I flame the bottle lip with an alcohol lamp, decant the beer into my glasses.  swirl the slurry... Flame the lip again and pour in the vicinity of the alcohol lamp into my flask.  When I start with a single bottle I usually just put about 50-100ml of 1.015 wort into the bottle direclty with a stirbar and foil over the top.  if I start with multiple bottles I start with about 100-150ml of starter wort in a small flask... Step it up to 500ml, then to 1500-2000ml.  Seems to work well for me.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 08:29:37 AM »
I harvest yeast 2-3 times per year.  Just about a month ago I harvested some Bell's yeast from some fresh Oberon.  Got a beer going with it now in one of my conicals and will probably brew a couple more with it over the summer.  I usually cheat and start with 2-3 bottles worth of yeast.  I flame the bottle lip with an alcohol lamp, decant the beer into my glasses.  swirl the slurry... Flame the lip again and pour in the vicinity of the alcohol lamp into my flask.  When I start with a single bottle I usually just put about 50-100ml of 1.015 wort into the bottle direclty with a stirbar and foil over the top.  if I start with multiple bottles I start with about 100-150ml of starter wort in a small flask... Step it up to 500ml, then to 1500-2000ml.  Seems to work well for me.
I used 4 bottles figuring the more the better. I wish I had been more sanitary, I just poured although of course I didn't drink out of the bottle and I capped them right after pouring the beer until we had 4 empty.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 08:53:45 AM »
I harvest yeast 2-3 times per year.  Just about a month ago I harvested some Bell's yeast from some fresh Oberon.  Got a beer going with it now in one of my conicals and will probably brew a couple more with it over the summer.  I usually cheat and start with 2-3 bottles worth of yeast.  I flame the bottle lip with an alcohol lamp, decant the beer into my glasses.  swirl the slurry... Flame the lip again and pour in the vicinity of the alcohol lamp into my flask.  When I start with a single bottle I usually just put about 50-100ml of 1.015 wort into the bottle direclty with a stirbar and foil over the top.  if I start with multiple bottles I start with about 100-150ml of starter wort in a small flask... Step it up to 500ml, then to 1500-2000ml.  Seems to work well for me.
I used 4 bottles figuring the more the better. I wish I had been more sanitary, I just poured although of course I didn't drink out of the bottle and I capped them right after pouring the beer until we had 4 empty.
Yeah my worry is always what might be just around the lip of the bottle.  Many people carry bottles by basically the caps... Fingers getting up under the edges of the crowns etc... maybe the crown scraped someone's hand while they were putting the six pack up etc... Also how many times have you opened a commerical beer to find 'crusties' up under the cap.  Cap on foam then they don't bother to rinse up and under the cap... I don't want to imagine what might be living there lol.
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2014, 09:17:30 AM »
I am late to the party, but dkfick gave you excellent advice.  I have cultured and plated yeast from many bottle-conditioned beers.  The number one mistake that most amateur brewers make when culturing yeast is attempting to make a starter directly from bottle sediment.   That technique only works when using the sediment from a bottle of really fresh normal gravity beer.   I usually start 40mls of 5% w/v (1.020) autoclaved wort using the last 10 to 15 milliliters of liquid from a bottle of bottle-conditioned beer (it is difficult to swirl the sediment into suspension using less than 10mls of beer).

Another common mistake that amateur brewers make when culturing yeast from a bottle is forgetting to flame sterilize the lip of the bottle  before decanting the beer and the yeast (I usually swab the lip with 90% alcohol before flaming it).  This step reduces the chance that wild microflora will be picked up during the transfer.   The number of viable cells in a bottle of bottle-conditioned beer is often very low; therefore, one wants to make it difficult for wild microflora to hitch a ride during the transfer.  If I am working with an older bottle of bottle-conditioned beer, I will usually perform the transfer over a flame source.   When flame sterilizing the lip of a bottle, one only needs to make a few passes through the flame source.   There is no need to heat the glass until it is hot, as doing so will often result in fracturing.

Forty milliliters is a small enough volume of wort that one should see active fermentation within 48 hours.  A bottle that has viable domesticated yeast cells should produce active fermentation within 48 hours.  One can assume that any S. cerevisiae or S. pastorianus culture that fails to start in 40mls of 5% w/v wort within this period of time is non-viable.   One can safely assume that any S. cerevisiae or S. pastorianus culture that starts after 72 hours when pitched into 40mls of 5% w/v wort is infected.  This rule of thumb does not always hold, but it holds often enough that one should be hesitant to propagate a culture that failed start in 40mls of 5% w/v wort until 72+ hours after pitching without going through single-cell isolation and testing.


« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 08:18:44 AM by S. cerevisiae »
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Offline pete b

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2014, 01:01:54 PM »
Thanks dkfick and S. cerevisiae. It seems I used too much wort and my sanitation was bad. On the plus side I used four beers worth of sediment and I think the beer was very fresh as its selling well and I got it from a busy store. I won't use it unless it starts within 72 hours so the worst case scenario is that in 3 days I need to get and drink another 4 pack and do it with the better procedures I learning from those of you who gave me feedback. Not so bad!
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Offline pete b

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2014, 08:09:43 AM »
Its Alive! I woke up to steady streams of bubbles from the yeast bed, slightly cloudy wort, and the beginnings of krausen. It seems like a larger volume of yeast too. This is after 34 hours so I'm pretty sure the freshness and quality of the yeast trumped my crappy procedures. I think that for a trappist yeast making a 6.5% abv beer is more of a warm up than a strenuous work out and they were ready to go.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2014, 08:12:19 AM »
Its Alive! I woke up to steady streams of bubbles from the yeast bed, slightly cloudy wort, and the beginnings of krausen. It seems like a larger volume of yeast too. This is after 34 hours so I'm pretty sure the freshness and quality of the yeast trumped my crappy procedures. I think that for a trappist yeast making a 6.5% abv beer is more of a warm up than a strenuous work out and they were ready to go.
of course that could also be the wild yeast from under the bottle cap ;-)  Though I'm sure it's fine.  Maybe just give it a sniff ;-) (outside the foil of course)
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Offline S. cerevisiae

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2014, 08:24:54 AM »
I am willing to bet that the culture is mostly domesticated yeast.  Wild yeast strains tend to be slow starters. 
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2014, 11:08:30 AM »
I harvest yeast 2-3 times per year.  Just about a month ago I harvested some Bell's yeast from some fresh Oberon.  Got a beer going with it now in one of my conicals and will probably brew a couple more with it over the summer.  I usually cheat and start with 2-3 bottles worth of yeast.  I flame the bottle lip with an alcohol lamp, decant the beer into my glasses.  swirl the slurry... Flame the lip again and pour in the vicinity of the alcohol lamp into my flask.  When I start with a single bottle I usually just put about 50-100ml of 1.015 wort into the bottle direclty with a stirbar and foil over the top.  if I start with multiple bottles I start with about 100-150ml of starter wort in a small flask... Step it up to 500ml, then to 1500-2000ml.  Seems to work well for me.

I primarily culture bottle-conditioned yeast from sours, but have also done so from non-sour beers as well. I do my first two steps in the bottle itself. I add about 1/2 inch of 1.020 wort to the bottle through a sanitized funnel right after I pour it, then attach a small stopper and airlock. This step takes a while to get going, and may take 10 days or so to finish. Once the first step is done, I'll add about 4oz of 1.030ish wort. This step tends to take off fairly quick. At this point there is also enough of a sample to get a good smell (and maybe even a small taste if you're careful) to check for signs of contamination. This is where I'd stop if I wasn't going to brew right away, and I'd save this for a little while until I'm ready to make a full starter.

The nice thing about stepping it up in the bottle is that you're going to have a much bigger & healthier culture in the bottle before you try to transfer it. Although you should still pay very close attention to sanitation, this may be a bit more forgiving of contamination instead of pouring a small amount of very sleepy dregs out of the bottle.
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2014, 11:39:46 AM »
Yeah I agree.  If I am using a single bottle I usually start my first step in the bottle as well.  It's just easier.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Have you harvested yeast from a commercial bottle?
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2014, 06:31:50 PM »
Update: I stepped it up a few times to about 450 ml then put it in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I decanted then made a starter that I began friday morning. I first decanted about half of the liquid then used 1.030 wort and a tsp of yeast nutrient to bring up to 900 ml in 3 steps. I pitched Sunday afternoon, there was foam on top Monday morning and a full krausen by Monday night.
I'm also pretty certain I detected similar esters in the decanted wort I tasted as in the beer. So looking good.
Thanks for the advice!
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