Author Topic: Culturing from Commercial Beer  (Read 3002 times)

Offline denny

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #30 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.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #31 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:



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




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,

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #32 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.

Offline flbrewer

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #33 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?

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #34 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.

Offline brewday

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #35 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
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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #36 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.

Offline denny

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #37 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.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #38 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

This for sure. The Bell's mentioned earlier has less yeast than in the past, but it is there.
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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #39 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.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 02:28:34 AM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline flbrewer

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #40 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?

« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 09:53:43 PM by flbrewer »

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #41 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?



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.

Offline flbrewer

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #42 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.

Offline TMX

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Re: Culturing from Commercial Beer
« Reply #43 on: February 19, 2015, 03:08:02 AM »
IIRC 90 min is one growth cycle
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