Wild yeast harvesting

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by hojo813, Dec 9, 2021.

  1. hojo813

    hojo813 Initiate (41) Aug 3, 2018 Virginia

    Has anyone tried this backyard yeast rangling kit from bootleg biology? Or anything like that?

    And if so, how did it turn out? I'm curious. I've been trying to use some wild yeast and just experiment after brewing so many batches.
     
  2. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (769) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    I haven't used the kit, but I have harvested my own yeasts using much the same process.

    I built a starter from fresh picked blackberries and another from local organic peaches. I pitched a wild ale with nothing else then those starters, let it age for 1 year on oak, adding dregs along the way. Bottled. Entered into a comp a year later and took BoS out of 212 entries.

    3 years ago I snagged 4-5 blossoms off of the Nectarine tree in my back yard. Plopped them into sterile wort and let it go for about 4 days. I took a sterile loop into the starter and ran it across agar plates. Let that go for a few days. Grabbed 3 colonies from the 4th quadrant that looked promising and ran each across new plates (1 colony per plate). After a few more days I pulled 3-4 colonies from the 4th quadrant into sterile wort (single plate to single starter for 3 starters). I stepped up the starters to 1L each. Mashed and boiled 6 gallons of wort and split it 3 ways. Fermented with the 3 different starters. Compared for flavor, aroma, gravity, mouthfeel. Picked the best of the 3. Mashed and boiled 6 gallons, fermented 3 beers with the single yeast at 3 different temps to compare temperature impact on fermentation profiles.

    I still have the yeast and use it often. Light peachiness, mild citrus, vanilla, hint of blackpepper, bone dry, full mouthfeel. I use it for all my Belgian beers. Have a Wit on tap right now. Also have a Saison that I fermented with it and 3724 (Dupont) and 2 Cantillon Brett isolates. Plan to ferment an IPA with it soon. I've used it to do kettle sour Gose, Belgian Golden Strong, Imperial Saison.

    I will say that I have tried multiple times to get good microbes from blackberries again and they were all garbage. It is hit or miss. I got blessed with the blossom yeast.
     
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  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,435) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I have no personal experience here but there was an article in a past homebrewing magazine (Zymurgy?) where the author discussed sources for wild yeast. Lots of folks think of fruit (e.g. berries) and flowers but the author also suggested tree bark (oak?) for obtaining wild yeast.

    I suppose this would be a good exercise for brewing small batches (e.g., a gallon or less) of beer to ensure the wild yeast will 'work' for brewing (e.g., be hop tolerant, reach a good target FG, etc.).

    Cheers!
     
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  4. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    My yeast from blackberries experience was great once (made it to last 3 in BOS) and ok once (won its category but got dumped fast in BOS round. Obviously VT is not OR. I harvested from wild brambles on our property and did have one starter I decided not to use.
     
  5. hojo813

    hojo813 Initiate (41) Aug 3, 2018 Virginia

    Yeah I live in virginia, and they're a multitude of orchards and sources of fruit around here. I just want to isolate a strains for like a special beer in the summer or something. I think it's obvious that isolating and ale yeast would take a shitload of time and more qualifications than I have.

    Although I did come up with a recipe for like a base blonde that is a blank canvas for fruit beers. Haven't dabbled in that area yet, but I'm thinking about it. I used to be a big fan of the Cherry wheat Samuel Adams until I realized it was shit. Haha. We can do better
     
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  6. hojo813

    hojo813 Initiate (41) Aug 3, 2018 Virginia

    Yes I have that same issue. That's what got me thinking about this. There's the show that I can't think of her right now with this blonde woman that owns Golden road in California where she goes to a city and samples home Brewers from different people and then picks a winner. At the end of the season, there is a competition between each person from the season to see which beer her brewery is going to produce. Pretty cool. I love it.

    But the first season either the winner or the runner up was some hipster that used a log that he found in the woods as his yeast. He made like a black ale I think? But when it comes down to pitch he just throws the damn log into the carboy and then pulls it out when he racks. Pretty insane
     
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  7. hojo813

    hojo813 Initiate (41) Aug 3, 2018 Virginia

    So you're saying the blossoms would hold more viable yeast cells? I can definitely saying blossoms from fruit trees for sure. I wonder if you could combine say cherry and pear? The good thing I saw about that kit I mentioned was that you send them a sample and they put it in a catalog so if you ever lose it or if you get an infection they can send you part of the original strain. I'm probably going to pick it up and use it over the summer. This will be my first year I can probably get cousins off of my hop bines
     
  8. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (769) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Blossoms work well as do ripe fruit. Don't do overripe fruit as you will most likely get acetobacter leading to vinegar.
     
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  9. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Aspirant (293) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    I also have a bland blonde ale recipe I've used for brett fruit beers-my crabapple brett won best of show a few years ago. I'm halfway through a keg of cherry brett that was the other half o that batch of blonde
     
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  10. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Aspirant (293) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    I live in the high desert of southern New Mexico and about the only blossoms we have are from our cacti. I wonder if that would work.
     
  11. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (769) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    It should. I would give it a try. Especially if you know/see bees pollinating them.
     
  12. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Aspirant (293) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    We have tons of native bees, most are about the size of house flies.
     
  13. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Crusader (769) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    You "could" use them to harvest wild yeast as well. If you can find a way to get their back legs into 10-20ml sterile wort and let it go for a couple days, then step up to 100ml, then 1L.
     
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  14. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I think that could be great. Fewer organisms capable of fermentation compared to hotter, wetter regions. Easier to pick a winner.
     
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  15. Lukass

    Lukass Meyvn (1,396) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio
    Society

    I’ve done a few, one was harvested from peach skins, the other was wild yeast captured in our herb garden. Both made ok, Belgian-y tasting beers but to be honest I don’t know if I’d try it again. I’m sure there’s a lot more to wild yeast harvesting than the process that I took, but I stick with commercial strains anymore. I still think it’s worth trying if you ‘re interested in it!