How To Reclaim Yeast From Bottled Beers

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J_P

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This is a small "how to" I wrote to explain to the guys at beer club how to get their hands on free brewery yeast.



You'll need the following items.

• Bottle Conditioned beer - make sure you get one where they use the primary yeast strain in the bottles, I have had good results with Brakspear, Fullers and Hopback yeasts.
• A sterilised demijohn, funnel and airlock
• A 1.020 malt solution
• A pan for boiling 2l of liquid in

Start by boiling up the malt solution, you can use unfermented wort from a previous brew and the following formulae to dilute it to 1.020

(Volume*Gravity points)/Desired Gravity = Volume of water to dilute with

Or you can just add 200g of dried malt to 2 litres of water, either way boil it for 10 minutes to ensure it is sterile. Once it's cooled a bit pour it into your sterilised demijohn and plug with an airlock and allow to cool completely to room temperature.



Once cooled aerate the wort thoroughly by swirling the demijohn with the airlock out, be sure not to let the airlock touch any unsanitised surfaces whilst you're doing this. Once this is complete carefully pour your beer, Fullers 1845 in my case, into a glass and be sure to leave all sediment behind in the bottle with a small slug of beer. Swirl the bottle round and suspend the yeast in the beer and carefully pour into the cooled, aerated malt solution and cap with an airlock.



Over the next five or so days remove the bung and swirl the demijohn round to allow air into the solution two or three times a day, this is because the yeast needs oxygen to reproduce and increase the number of viable yeast cells. Make sure not to put the airlock on any unsanitised surfaces whilst you do this, with practice you can hold the airlock whilst swirling the demijohn. Over the next few days a white layer will build up on the bottom of the vessel - that's your yeast.

Prior to pitching the yeast syphon off the spent wort and taste it to make sure it doesn't taste sour i.e. it's infected. If all is well add a litre of boiled cooled wort on brewday to wake the yeast up prior to pitching the whole lot into your cooled brew. It's as easy as that!
 

jeg3

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Bumping an old topic, I've searched the interweb for anyone who has successfully cultured Wye Valley yeast from a bottle of Butty Bach but came up with nothing.

So I started it last night. There was very little sediment from the two bottles I had, so I'm not expecting any activity for a least a few days.
 

MyQul

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I'm kidnapping Wye Valley for my next brew.

I'll be following this guide http://homebrewmanual.com/harvesting-yeast-from-bottles/
Whatever beer he's bottleconditioning from must have LOADS of yeast in to simply pour some starter wort in then get the amount of yeat he has in the bottom of the pop bottle. Perhaps that is a HB beer rather than commercial beer as HB beer tends to have much more yeast in it than commercial

To make sure it works, ideally you need do several step ups. Here's my guide to doing it

http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=53567
 

jeg3

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Well after two days there is some activity, and smells like something is happening.

So far, so good
 

Joeyriles

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I've just kidnapped some yeast from a bottle of The Kernel East India Porter (seriously tasty beer.)

I'll make a starter and see how it develops. Using pale dme won't be a problem, will it?
 

McMullan

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I've just kidnapped some yeast from a bottle of The Kernel East India Porter (seriously tasty beer.)

I'll make a starter and see how it develops. Using pale dme won't be a problem, will it?
Pale DME is fine :thumb:
 

MyQul

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I've just kidnapped some yeast from a bottle of The Kernel East India Porter (seriously tasty beer.)

I'll make a starter and see how it develops. Using pale dme won't be a problem, will it?
Have you got a line on what yeast they use? I've got a sneaky feeling it's something like US-05 but I'm not sure
 

GlentoranMark

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I was in Tesco's earlier and didn't see any "bottled conditioned beer". I didn't examine each and every beer though just looked at a few labels. Has anyone got any suitable beers that Tescos sell for this?
 

MyQul

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GlentoranMark

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Just spent another wil goose chase trying to find one of the bottles listed (+ white grape juice.)

I was only able to pick up Duvel out of Tesco's
 

MyQul

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Just spent another wil goose chase trying to find one of the bottles listed (+ white grape juice.)

I was only able to pick up Duvel out of Tesco's
What were you after? If you have waitrose near you I find (at least in the two branches in the borough I work in) they have a really big range of ales. Its where I bought bottles of 1845 and Triple to harvest the Fullers and Brakspear strains
 

GlentoranMark

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No Waitrose or Aldi in NI. Tesco has a reasonable selection of beers but nothing from that list.

I just want to try this out so I'll give the Duvel a go tomorrow although looking at the bottle I can see no yeast in it.

I spent last weekend looking for Mini Kegs :(

It's a conspiracy I tell ya.
 

MyQul

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No Waitrose or Aldi in NI. Tesco has a reasonable selection of beers but nothing from that list.

I just want to try this out so I'll give the Duvel a go tomorrow although looking at the bottle I can see no yeast in it.

I spent last weekend looking for Mini Kegs :(

It's a conspiracy I tell ya.
Can you order beer from somewhere online easily in NI? What about independant bottle shops?

I couldn't see a thing in the bottle of Brakespear Triple I cultured up - worked fine though
 

GlentoranMark

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Just like the mini kegs, I don't mind ordering online but it's just a hassle for something not that important. I'd like to try it but it's not top of my brewing todo list.

I'll see if the duvel works tomorrow.

Thanks for your help though :)
 

MyQul

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Just like the mini kegs, I don't mind ordering online but it's just a hassle for something not that important. I'd like to try it but it's not top of my brewing todo list.

I'll see if the duvel works tomorrow.

Thanks for your help though :)
Ah, well, If your not that bothered that's fine. The Duval should work. One of the owners at my LHBS said he cultured up duval once andsaid it worked well.
 

jeg3

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5 days in and after adding another 100ml of 1.020 wort there is definitely increased activity now, and visibly more yeast in the bottom of the bottle

Tomorrow I transfer to a bigger bottle and add the 1.040 wort.

There is something really satisfying about seemingly making something out of nothing.
 

YeastFace

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I bought a few bottles of Duvel to give this a go. Previous attempt with Fullers was very half-arsed.

Unfortunately there seems to be some disagreement over whether it contains the primary strain, or a bottling strain. Someone has reported they have grown a culture from bottles and the resultant beer had good character, so I'll give it a go. No major loss if not.
 
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