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Capturing yeast from outside

Looking to try something different and I’m looking into capturing some wild yeast in my yard. Has anyone tried this with success?

Should be intresting

One way I have read to do this is by getting it from fruit. Just add the fruit to a starter and let it rip. Then you should be able to smell and see how it will go before making an entire batch of drain cleaner. Can’t use store bought fruit that has been treated. Maybe organic stuff.

They used to say when the Belgians needed yeast, they just open the window. Somehow I don’t see this working for me.

Good luck with it. I also think it sounds interesting.

I’ve done it. The spring time is the best. Put some wort in a mason jar covered with cheese cloth no more than a couple days. Then bring it in and put in an air lock. Build up enough yeast for a 1 gallon batch. Then harvest. I’ve made saison style with it because mine fermented pretty low.

I do it pretty regularly, a few times per year with full batches. My best success is to leave the wort outside to cool overnight, when daytime temperatures are a bit below, or just above, freezing. 25°F works well for my location, daytime temps. I don’t cover, whatever falls in falls in.

A couple things to make it more successful… use hopped wort to discourage bacteria. If you have a pH meter, adjust your wort pH to 4.5 or slightly less to stop enteric bacteria (and clostridium botulinum).

The easiest way, as previously mentioned, is to use yeast from fruit skins. But also pinecones, maple bark, and juniper berries. Avoid things that touch the ground. In the springtime, edible flowers are great. There are lots of options this time of year, too. But I’ve had the best luck with just letting airborne yeast fall in the wort. Doesn’t have to be anywhere special, the middle of my driveway works fine. If you have a fruit orchard, that’s a great place to try.

Good luck, it’s lots of fun!

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Sounds cool been reading about it last night

No problem with them dang pesky raccoons? We can’t leave anything out, at least until hard freeze… Sneezles61

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Nah, they’re so fat from our compost pile that they haven’t shown an interest in wort. And I’m sure the hops help keep them away. But who knows, maybe raccoons are a vector for wild yeast and bacteria? As long as they don’t dump the kettle.

What kind of characteristics have you ended up with with the wild stuff?

The wild yeast that I have collected attenuated very dry. I haven’t used any in awhile but I used it in dry saison style. You don’t want to capture it more than a day or you can get some nasties

Have you harvested yeast from the first fermentation with the same results in the next fermentations?

Yes. I repitched it a couple times. I also blended it with 3711.

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It tends to fall into two groups. Like @brew_cat said, a lot of it tends to be overattenuating. It tends to really dry out a beer with a phenolic character. The other group usually dies out at around 1.7-2% ABV. Occasionally you end up with something really special, but that’s pretty rare.

With the first type, you can make a really nice saison or Belgian pale ale, but you have to account for the high attenuation.

To be honest, a lot of truly wild beers are pretty boring, you have to plan for the high attenuation. This is pretty much why I like to go the mixed fermentation route - the progression of microbe growth will leave you with something interesting. Sometimes good, sometimes awful. But interesting!

This sounds like something fun to try…I assume winter in the Midwest is not the best time to try this out :slight_smile:

My best spontaneous inoculation was when there was 2’ snow on the ground! Give it a shot…

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I collectedi mine in the spring on my porch railing upwind of my apple blossoms. It was fun experiment. I planted a assortment of berries with the plan of trying the different yeasts from the fruit for a variety of cider blends.

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