An ethical yeast question

I was reading in another brewing supply catalog (NOT NB) that one of the recipes went well with yeast harvested from a major commercial brew. I wasn’t sure what to think about that, I’m pretty positive that most large breweries have proprietary yeast strains, so wouldn’t that be stealing to use another yeast?
OR is it the same as yeast harvesting thru washing your yeast? Either way you’ve paid for the yeast, or paid for the beer.
What are your thoughts on the subject? I’m not sure one way or the other, but leaning towards not doing it.

Not sure how that would be stealing, you paid for the beer, beer contains yeast. I know a lot of people that get to know brewers at brew pubs and get fresh yeast from them.

FWIW, most breweries do not have proprietary yeast strains. A few do, but even some of them (like Rogue) make them commercially available. And there’s certainly nothing unethical about cultring yeast from a bottle of beer.

Unless they genetically modify them, they can’t patent a naturally occurring organism.
Otherwise WYeast and White labs would not exist.

Yep, many breweries will hand out yeast. Nothing wrong with culturing from a bottle.

ok, that’s great!
I was looking into a Dogfish Head 60 clone (I know they suggest Pride if Ringwood) and I could just go buy some, but whats the fun in that?!
So that being said, how would I go about isolating from a commercial bottle? I understand the basics of yeast washing, is it the same thing? can I just let a bottle warm to room temp and pour it into a yeast starter? How do I get the yeast out?

I haven’t had DFH 60 in a while since they’re just not my cup o’ beer, but I don’t think I’ve seen any of their beers bottle conditioned - if they filter it, which I think they do, you won’t be able to culture anything from it. Could be way off, but I just don’t recall ever seeing any lees.

But, I think they do use the Ringwood Ale yeast (not Pride of Ringwood which I think is a hop variety) and you can buy that anywhere, including here: ... d-ale.html

IMO, its not really worth it to culture up something that you can buy - better to do that with proprietary strains or ones that are not readily available to us - like Bells or Stone etc.

Oh and even if you could copyright/patent a living organism such as yeast, they sold you that yeast - you are free to use it however you want. Stealing would be breaking into the brewery and siphoning some out of their yeast bank - that is wrong. Using what you bought is, well, what you’re supposed to do.

if you do want to culture up something unique/difficult to find, just google yeast culturing from a bottle and you’ll find plenty of “how to’s” - brandon, a member on this board I know did one at one point. Or even use the search here.

I’ve cultured plenty of yeast from bottles. There is nothing difficult about it.

Also on a side note, the few breweries out there that do have a proprietary strain, such as Brewery Ommegang, tend to sterile filter & package their beer with a neutral (often champagne or 001-type, depending) yeast.

Squall IPA is unfiltered and has live yeast. The problem is that it is a pretty strong beer so you may have trouble growing up the yeast cells. I am not sure of any other DFH beers that use their ale strain that are bottle refermented.

+1 on what Dimik and Ozwald said. The last time I was going to try and grow up some yeast from a bottle I e-mailed the brewery and asked if they would tell me if the bottling yeast was the same or not. They replied back and told me what yeast they used to ferment the beer. You would be amazed at what most of the small and mid sized brewers are willing to tell you if you ask.

I find Ringwood to be the closest to DFH’s ale yeast.