How to culture up yeast from bottle conditioned beers

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Ajhutch

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I've just done step 2 with dregs from two bottles of Chimay Blue. I'm doing it in a brown PET bottle so I can't really see a lot yet but I'll switch to clear fizzy drink bottles for the next step. I should end up with a decent amount of yeast, I'm planning a 10 litre batch with an OG around 1.070, which from the info you gave me on volumes should be fine.


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Ajhutch

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I've done five steps over the last few weeks, consolidated them and I've got this much. Does that look about right? I appreciate there's a lot of factors that make this sort of question difficult to answer but I suppose I'd rather be safe than sorry and could easily do another step before I get the chance to brew.




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MyQul

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I've done five steps over the last few weeks, consolidated them and I've got this much. Does that look about right? I appreciate there's a lot of factors that make this sort of question difficult to answer but I suppose I'd rather be safe than sorry and could easily do another step before I get the chance to brew.




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What size bottle is that? 2L?
 

Ajhutch

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What size bottle is that? 2L?


Yes, 2 litre. That would have been a good piece of info to give you initially!


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For get the question about a stir plate, I didn't realise this thread was for non stir plates
If each time you step up you get more yeast you must be going in the right direction, I would imagine without a stir plate it will take a little longer
 

MyQul

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Yes, 2 litre. That would have been a good piece of info to give you initially!


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I'm surprised at how little yeast you have considering you followed the guide and did 5 steps. But there are quite a lot of factors that could accout for this

I dont think you have enough there tbh . Normally you should have 2 bottles looking like that. I would do another 2L- 2.5L step up with that amount you have
 

Ajhutch

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Cool, thanks. I probably didn't do enough swirling!


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Ajhutch

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I've done as you suggested and fermented out another 1.040 wort, chilling down now mainly so I can check the amount of yeast. I'm going to brew on Sunday and pitch Monday. Fingers crossed! I've got some spare dry yeast appropriate to the style if all goes badly wrong.


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Hi @MyQul... on your advice in another thread I just picked up a bottle of the Hook Norton Double Stout from Waitrose to try a bit of yeast culturing. Do you reckon if I drink the ale from the bottle in the evening and then cap it with cling film or foil and put it in the fridge overnight it'll be OK to start the culturing in the morning?
 

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Hi @MyQul... on your advice in another thread I just picked up a bottle of the Hook Norton Double Stout from Waitrose to try a bit of yeast culturing. Do you reckon if I drink the ale from the bottle in the evening and then cap it with cling film or foil and put it in the fridge overnight it'll be OK to start the culturing in the morning?
Ideally you want to put the bottle in the fridge for a few days to crash out as much yeast as possible. But on my last culturing up I didnt do this and everything worked out fine. So, yeah your plan should work
 

foxbat

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And we're off! My attempt to culture up the Hook Norton strain begins.

I decided not to open the bottle last night, instead I chilled it overnight and did the whole thing this morning. I added 5g DME to 200ml of Ashbeck and set it to boil for 10 minutes after which it had boiled down to about 100ml. I might as well get the yeast used to Ashbeck early in its life because that's what it's going to be working on. The wort was chilled to 25C and poured into a sterilised 400ml Kilner jar. I poured off all but an inch of the stout in one motion into a flask for tonight's enjoyment. It's actually quite hard to guess when you've poured enough out and it has to be done in one motion if you're to get the benefit of the settled yeast that comes from chilling the bottle.

starter-1.jpg

On to the stir plate and, after coaxing the stir bar out of the trough around the edge of the jar and into the middle with a neodymium magnet, we're spinning away at 20C in the brew fridge with the jar top loosely fastened.

I'm planning to leave this first step for 3 days before stepping up. I'm in no rush so I'll probably crash cool it for 24 hours, decant and then do a 300ml 1.040 step mid-week. The aim is to get enough settled yeast on the bottom of the jar that compares in volume to a 100bn cell overbuilt starter. Then I'll keep it in the fridge ready for the week before the next brewday when I'll take it out and step it up to the appropriate size using 100bn as the starting volume. That's the plan anyway. I'll keep updating here as I go.

[edit] I just read over at Jim's that the yeast in HN bottles is not their strain and that they send the beer to be bottle conditioned to St. Austell's. Looks like I might be making a St. Austell's starter!
 
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MyQul

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Seems you've done everything correctly. Don't be surprised if you dont see anything or notice get any 'offgassing' of C02 for the first or second step up. I find you usuallly have to do these first one or two steps 'on faith'

I hadn't previously come across this info about the yeast being St Austells
 

foxbat

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Looks like I didn't leave the lid as loose as I thought because when I took the jar out of the brewfridge this morning I thought the lid felt a bit tight and there was a big poof! as I released the lid. That, and the fact that the starter wort is now creamier and cloudier is proof positive that fermentation has happened. It's now in the fridge to crash out the yeast before I decant and step up in a few days.

starter-2-prechill.jpg
 

foxbat

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Here the first step starter after a few days in the fridge. I seem to have collected quite a lot of yeast for the first step and will be stepping up tomorrow.

starter-1-chilled.jpg
 

foxbat

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Stage 2 is now on the stir plate. I added 40g of DME to 500ml of Ashbeck to give about 400ml of 1.040 wort after ten minutes worth of boil off. I decanted off nearly all the spent wort from the first step and used the dregs to swirl up the yeast stuck to the bottom of the jar. And stuck to the bottom it was. It took a fair bit of agitation to get it all back into suspension. Maybe a highly flocculent strain? I'm hoping so because it's a true English flocculent top-cropper that I want out of this experiment.

starter-2-plate.jpg

It's looking a bit lost in that 2l flask but that one's the next size up for me after the Kilner jar. I'll shift this into the brew fridge tonight when I move out the 44 bottles of Munich Helles that's been carbonating in there for the last 12 days.
 

foxbat

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I had a quick peek into the brewfridge this morning to check on progress. The starter has now gone that light brown, rich texture you get when it's fully colonised by yeast cells and there's a thin krausen trying to develop on top. I'm pretty sure that I won't need any more step-ups after this one before going to the full litre I'd need for a brew. 2 more days on the stir plate then I'll cold crash it ready for the big step up.
 

MyQul

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I had a quick peek into the brewfridge this morning to check on progress. The starter has now gone that light brown, rich texture you get when it's fully colonised by yeast cells and there's a thin krausen trying to develop on top. I'm pretty sure that I won't need any more step-ups after this one before going to the full litre I'd need for a brew. 2 more days on the stir plate then I'll cold crash it ready for the big step up.
I think you right about not needing another step up. Especially as your using a stir plate. Tbh, personally I'd have been happy chucking the yeast from post 95 into a 1L starter but for your first bottle cultre it's best to make more than less
 

foxbat

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I did a bit of reading around and I'm beginning to think that this is a bottling strain. The fast flocculation and stickiness are characteristics of bottling strains such as Danstar CBC-1. My plan now is to increase the size of my next brew, saving off 3 or 4 litres into a demijohn. I'll ferment the demijohn with the yeast collected from this step and the main batch with the Wyeast 1728 (Scottish) I'd originally planned for it. When they're both ready I'll be able to do a taste test between the two.
 

MyQul

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I did a bit of reading around and I'm beginning to think that this is a bottling strain. The fast flocculation and stickiness are characteristics of bottling strains such as Danstar CBC-1. My plan now is to increase the size of my next brew, saving off 3 or 4 litres into a demijohn. I'll ferment the demijohn with the yeast collected from this step and the main batch with the Wyeast 1728 (Scottish) I'd originally planned for it. When they're both ready I'll be able to do a taste test between the two.
Have a taste of the starter wort before you do your next step up. It will probably give you an indication if it's a bottling stain. If it tastes fruity that would mean its likely not to be a bottling strain
 

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