Harvesting a yeast strain & using for a different style

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Allez Hop!, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Les Gueux

    Les Gueux New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I harvested some yeast from the bottom of a bottle of commercial brewed beer. Think of a Belgian trippel and you'll be in the right area, strong ABV (9%) and fruity esters and all. Yet a dry-ish finish for this kind of beer. It's been growing (reproducing, I should say) in a 500ml starter for the past few days.

    And now next week I had planned on brewing an Heffeweizen or a witbier, I'm wondering if any of you have tried using a strain of yeast to do a slightly different beer profile than it was designed for?

    I mean perhaps attenuation will be a little strong and flocculation minimal, drier finish than usual for the flavor profiles of those beers? I don't know. But I'm interested in finding out.

    Or should I aim for a recipe taylor made for this yeast?
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,369
    Likes Received:
    6,600
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Hefeweizens and Wits are characterized by their yeasts. To get normal results, you'll need to use a yeast tailored to that style. That said, we're homebrewers. No commercial pressure: Try it and see how it comes out!
     
  3. chessking

    chessking New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Aurora, Colorado
    You may not end up with what you think. Many Belgian brewers filter their beer, then add a different strain to the bottle for conditioning. The strain of yeast you harvested may not be the one that fermented that beer.
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    some times yeast in a commercial beer are not the fermenting yeast but the bottling yeast so don't be surprised if this doesn't turn out the flavor your looking for but all in all should work fine for your style, might be slow
     
  5. Les Gueux

    Les Gueux New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have read accounts of that, filtering then adding a different bottling yeast. Not sure how frequent a practice it is. It's not a Belgian beer per se, it's La Fin du Monde by Unibroue, Canadian.

    I'll probably have a little taste of the starter and it'll give me a hint, if it's not close to the flavor profile I'm aiming for I'll probably do a dual yeast fermentation from day one.
     
  6. Tom McLean

    Tom McLean New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2013
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Scappoose, OR
    I have often read that one of the most illuminating experiments a homebrewer can run is to ferment each half of his batch with a different yeast. It would be interesting to see what happens. However, I would think it will be difficult to predict what it will taste like, even if it is the yeast that fermented the original beer.
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,369
    Likes Received:
    6,600
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Tom's idea isn't bad! Split the batch, ferment half with your harvested yeast and half with some other strain. The difference will be surprising. Another possibility is different conditions: Ferment half at the top end of the range and the other half at the bottom (same yeast, of course). There are lots of things you can try!

    And according to Chris White, that thing about using different yeast for bottling is generally a bunch of baloney. Why would a brewer, probably using a commercially-available yeast just like you do, propagate a separate strain just for bottling? Propagating the rumor is relatively cheap, actually growing yeast for no purpose other than bottling is not. Simply put, you can't make the same beer as a professional brewery on a homebrew scale. So who cares if a bunch of us scavenge yeast out of bottles?
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,976
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    my thinking was from the old days, still get confused lol I'm pretty sure today with all the microbreweries popping up most beers from big breweries are carbonated with c02 some even while fermenting under pressure I hear, yeast is too unpredictable for an exact carbonation level like pro breweries need so you probably have the good stuff and should be fine in any beer, I use the same 2 stains of yeast in most all my beers
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,369
    Likes Received:
    6,600
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Even with the work, I still prefer bottle conditioning. The yeast do some really good things for you: They clean up any residual fermentation by-products. They scavenge the oxygen out of the head space, eliminating the fear of oxydation. They extend your beer's shelf life. They continue to mature the beer after bottling. I love tasting my bottle-conditioned ales over time and documenting their evolution. The bit of extra work and bit of sediment in the bottom are worth the benefits the yeast give me. I don't have to force-carbonate or filter so I don't and, forgive me if I seem immodest, I generally prefer my beers to the pros. There are exceptions but those brewpubs are rare.
     
  10. Foster82

    Foster82 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    For the OP, if you give this a go ahead again I would start out with a really small starter (50 ml) and step it up from there. This will help to ensure any wild bugs are over whelmed by your yeast, plus it will stress the yeast less. Remember our yeast when in the battle for nutrients do in large part to overwhelming numbers.
     
  11. Les Gueux

    Les Gueux New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I was pretty careful on the sanitary part of things and the yeast seems to have done a great job with the starter, colonized the whole thing and formed a nice thick krausen. Active fermentation lasted a good 3/4 days. Sure the lag phase was a bit longer and it probably stressed the yeast a little but I hope with that this 500ml-ish starter I got enough cell count to get a good fermentation with the 23L carboy. I had a sample taste of the starter and it's obviously rough / still young, but it's really close to the flavor I'm going for. Making me think that the switching yeast for bottling after filtration is probably hogwash in most cases.

    I have a packet of S33 on hand if the fermentation lags too long or stalls at some point, but even if it's a fairly neutral yeast, I'd rather wait a good 72 hrs before putting it in as I want the flavors developed to be from my harvested yeast. I'll let you folks know how it turns out.

    Brew day went well, I have a decent 1.075 OG to start with, let's see how well it will attenuate.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white