From the HBD Archive
From: (John Mellby)
Subject: Failure in culturing yeast
Date: 1990-02-19 21:15:22 GMT

Yeast in a Bottle! An experiment in culture

Well, my Thursday experiment failed. I tried to culture some yeast for
the next batch of beer, and it didn't work.

As you know, most beer is pasteurized (or at least filtered) to remove
the active yeast. But some good beer (especially American Microbrewery
beer) is bottle-conditioned, meaning it is bottled with live yeast which
continues to ferment in the bottle. This matures the taste of the beer,
gives it a longer shelf-life, and adds nutrients to the beer.

If you are careful, you can pour the beer, leaving an inch in the bottle
which contains the yeast which has settled to the bottom. (N.B. I am told
that even yeast which is called "top-fermenting" settles to the bottom.
Go figure!)

If you boil some dry malt (I used 1 cup which may be too much) in
about 2-4 cups of water (I used about 2 cups) for 20 minutes, then
let it cool, then add the bottom-of-the-bottle yeast, you can
establish a growing bottle of the original beer's yeast. (Of course
you sterilize the bottle, and put an air lock on top.)
Theoretically this will have more live yeast and healthier yeast than
if you start from a dry yeast packet, or from liquid yeast culture.

I tried a bottle of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale, got in D.C. in December,
and thus probably from California several months earlier. After
3 days there is no activity, so I presume there wasn't enough yeast
left in the Bigfoot bottle to start a culture.

Well, tonight I try again. I have some Celebration Ale to use which
should be newer and healthier. Anyone know whether Sierra Nevada
uses the same yeast in Bigfoot and Celebration? They are so different
it seems unlikely, but what do I know?

Surviving the American Dream
John R. Mellby Texas Instruments P.O.Box 660246, MS 3645
Dallas Texas, 75266
(214)517-5370 (214)343-7585
* "Its not what you've got, its where you stick it!" *
* Edmund BlackAdder, BlackAdder goes Forth *

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