Harvesting yeast from bottles

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Harvesting yeast from bottles

Unread postby niels » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:59 pm

My method of yeast harvesting from bottles:

I simply open up a small box of apple juice (20 cl) and pour that in the bottle. I give it a good swirl, put a (sterilized) balloon over the "neck" (which I swiped with alcohol) and set it on top of my set top box (which is always in de low 30°C).

In most cases the balloon will be erected after 24~36 hours and I will pour it into an erlenmeyer with starter wort and put it on the stir plate.

I never had a failure except for one time I was growing bacteria instead of yeast (it smelled like the worst cheese you can imagine!).

- Niels
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Re: Harvesting yeast from bottles

Unread postby lcatulo » Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:43 pm

Niels,

More details, please... :D

-The apple juice will be the yeast nutrient?
-After putting it on the stir plate, how long you have to wait to have enough yeast for a 20L or 40L batch (or how many original bottles you need)?
(I have a heated magnetic stirrer... is this good for it?)
-The erlenmeyer should be fitted with an airlock?
-The starter wort can be a mix of DME + water?

Sorry for all the questions, but this harvesting stuff is new to me... need input... need input... :D
Luis Catulo

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Re: Harvesting yeast from bottles

Unread postby niels » Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:46 pm

The procedure is the same as using starter wort, but using the apple juice from a 20 cl box makes the initial step a bit easier. The juice is pasteurized so you just need to make sure that you clean the outside and the scissors with e.g. alcohol to sanitize. Also, the apple juice contains simple sugars, so the yeast doesn't need to make a big effort to get going. After the initial juice stage you start adding complex sugars by adding starter wort.

When adding to the stir plate I hang an aeration stone a bit above the surface and turn the pump (with sterile filter) to a very low setting. I cover the neck loosely with aluminium foil (sanitized) so the air can get out. Unless you put the stir plate in a very dirty room you don't have to fear dust or bacteria. Just make sure you sanitize the neck when decanting the yeast starter and before pitching.

A heated magnetic stirrer is great. I've never used one, so I can't say how warm it will become. I just make sure it sits in a room of about 20°C.

Check e.g. How To Brew for the procedure of making yeast starters. You can use your last runnings from a batch or mix DME and water. Always boil the wort (or use the canning method). Add yeast nutrients if you have them.

Normally I step up until I have about 10% of the total volume of the batch. Cold crash a day or two and decant the wort. On brewing day I take the container out of the fridge at room temperature and pour a small can of starter wort (like 250 ml) in. By the time I've to pitch yeast it will be active again.

- Niels
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Re: Harvesting yeast from bottles

Unread postby HopSong » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:27 am

Going back to the OP.. Many breweries do not use the same yeast for bottle priming as they do for actual fermentation. So, you may not be getting the yeast you are hoping for. Just sayin'
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