From the HBD Archive
From: Mike Fertsch <hplabs!uiucdcs!adc1.RAY.COM!FERTSCH>
Subject: Commercial Yeast / Hop Bags
Date: 1989-04-03 15:00:00 GMT

> From: Paul Perlmutter <paul@hppaul>
> Subject: Free Commercial Yeast

> It would be interesting to know people's experience using yeasts
> cultured directly from commercial brews that are not pastuerized,
> such as Sierra Nevada (and Samuel Adams?).

A few years back, I make a Barleywine Ale, fermented with dregs of two
bottles of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot BarleyWine. I made a starter with 2 pints
of water, around 1/2 cup of dry extract, and sterilized it in my small
pressure cooker. After cooling, I poured the last ounce from two bottles
of the Sierra Nevada beer (the bottom of the bottle has the most yeast
sediment) into my starter. In about two days, the starter was going, and I
pitched it into my Barleywine. The beer was superb. (I formulated the
recipe to be somewhat between Bigfoot and Anchor Brewing's Old Foghorn. I
called my beer 'Big Old Fogfoot').

Sierra Nevada now filters their beer prior to bottling. It still is
unpasteurized, but there is significantly less sediment to make into a
starter. Sierra Nevada is unpasteurized, so starters can be made. It is
just more difficult now than before. Here on the East Coast, SN is not
always in best condition, so I use Wyeast's Sierra Nevada strain (#1056).
I try to get two batches out of a Wyeast package.

People in my brewclub have successfully cultured yeast from several Belgian
Ales (Chimay and Orval, I believe). The key is to get fresh beer. Old beer
has dead yeast. I've tried making a starter from Hoegarden Gran Cru this
Christmas - it didn't take, probably because of its age.

Sam Adams is another animal alltogether. Sam Adams is a contract beer from
Pittsburgh Brewing, the makers of Iron City. As a large brewery, I would
be VERY surprised if they let any beer out the door in an unpasteurized
state. I've found Sam Adams to be crystal clear, with no sediment or haze
at all. Don't count on it for culturing.

> From: hplabs!uiucdcs!iwtsf!korz (Algis R Korzonas +1 312 979 8583)
> Subject: straining

> The hop bag, I was told by my retailer (Greg
> Lawrence - Lil' Olde Winemaking Shoppe), is made of polyester,
> not nylon as many posters have mentioned. A chemist or two
> may want to comment, but I believe that nylon still contains
> aromatic hyrdocarbons, which I would rather keep out of my
> beer.

In the past I've used hop bags out of cheesecloth. They are cotton, so
they should be inert enough. Cheesecloth is cheap, so I just throw the bags
away, like a big teabag. The bad part is making the bags in the first
place. We (my wife, actually) use a sewing maching to sew the hops in the

I now use a 'zapap' type strainer (the bucket with billions of tiny holes -
described in TCJOH) to strain my hops. I just realized that 'Papazian'
spelled backwards is 'naizapap' - I now know the origin of 'zapap'.

Mike Fertsch

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