From the HBD Archive
From: hsfmsh!hsfdjs!suurb@sfsun.West.Sun.COM (Dave Suurballe)
Subject: Failure in culturing yeast
Date: 1990-02-20 18:21:11 GMT

John Mellby asks about culturing yeast and about Sierra Nevada.

There are a couple possible reasons for his failure. One may be the
yeast itself. It came from Sierra Nevada's barley wine, and he doesn't
say how old it was. I never use yeast from that beer because it is so
alcoholic I'm afraid it would ruin the yeast. I haven't experimented,
so I can't prove this.

In my experience, age of the beer makes a huge difference.
I always use beer that was bottled within two months of the culture date.
Older beer doesn't work as well. I've never succeeded with year-old beer.

Another possible reason may be the culture medium. I haven't measured
the specific gravity of John's one cup of dry malt in two cups of water
but it sounds too strong. I have read that a specific gravity of 1.030
is correct. I use one (weighed) ounce of dry malt in a cup and a half
of water.

I have heard that all the Sierra Nevada ales use the same yeast, and
I use whatever of their beers is the youngest in the store for my
weekly culture. It's usually the Pale Ale, because it moves faster,
but this week it's Stout, because they just got some in and I got it
out of a case on the floor instead of from the older stuff on the

The bottle labels have the bottling date encoded in notches on the
right vertical edge of the bottle label. The code has been described
in this Digest. If you're the kind of guy who says "We don't read
no stinking notches!", then the cases themselves have the bottling
date stamped in letters and numerals (JAN031990) on the top.


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