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Anyone ever toyed around with wild yeast?

So, since it’s been a little while since I’ve done something crazy in my brewing world, I wanted to explore making a true Belgian lambic using wild yeast. Has anyone ever experimented with letting their back yard inoculate a batch of beer? If so, how’d you do it? I’ve been toying with brewing a gueuze for a while, but never got the gumption to take the leap. Thanks for any suggestions (or therapy).

Unless you live somewhere where there are a lot of fruit trees or grapes, you might not have the right kind of wild yeast around. Take a look at WildBrews by Jeff Sparrow for information on how the Belgians do it if you haven’t already. You can buy most of the major strains of wild yeast and bacteria and simulate a wild fermentation in a more controlled manner, or you could make a small batch and leave it uncovered overnight to see what happens. A lot of the Belgian breweries only brew seasonally so that they get the right temperatures to encourage the yeast over bacteria, and have years if not decades of developing a local ecosystem of microorganisms in their breweries.

I know several people who have tried it. Extrapolating from their experience, I’d say about 1 time in 50 you’ll make a beer you’ll love.

Made something that smelled like almonds but tasted like ass-sludge. Then again I live in New York City so there aren’t any fruit trees. Going to try getting some yeast from fruits on street markets when it gets warmer :slight_smile:

When I made the ancient Sumerian beer, I pitched no yeast but instead crushed up a couple pounds of dates (with my sanitized hands) and threw that in, and it fermented out quite nicely. There was a little sulfur during fermentation, which is quite normal even for commercial yeast, and when all was said and done, the beer had a very clean natural Lacto sourness. No sulfur in the flavor or aroma at all, and the beer was clear as crystal. So, I guess my point is, natural fermentation can work. But it might help to throw in some dried fruit or something to inoculate with a reasonably reliable source of wild yeast that can be replicated again in the future if desired. I mean, I feel I could go back and brew the same recipe again and get similar results, because I know that the yeast came from the dates. But if you leave your beer sit out in the open air, well, then all bets are off, and you might not like what you get.

Oh, brother, you just made me laugh.

Thanks, too, for all the sound advice. I like the idea of the dates, dmtaylo2…

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