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Recycling bottle conditioned yeast?

Has anyone successfully reused yeast from the bottom of the bottles of bottle conditioned ale?

In this case, it’s Wyeast 1028 - London Ale.

I’ve been swirling out the yeast of the last 10 bottles from my 22oz bottles. I’ve been keeping it in a sanitized jar in the fridge.

From my limited knowledge, this should work with a decent starter…

Anything I’m overlooking?

It seems like a lot of work for a easy to get yeast. I could see it being worth the hassle if it were some hard to get yeast or if it were something from a commercial beer that you covet. But seems doable. I assume you are pouring your beer into a glass as opposed to drinking from the bottle as well as it may be worth it to sanitize the bottle before you open it so as to eliminate any contamination.

This does seem like a lot of work for a common yeast. Also some breweries use a different yeast to carbonate there beers with.
Knowing that this it can be a interesting experience. I say go ahead and learn something. Home brewing should be fun.

This does seem like a lot of work for a common yeast. Also some breweries use a different yeast to carbonate there beers with.
Knowing that this it can be a interesting experience. I say go ahead and learn something. Home brewing should be fun.

I experimented with culturing yeast from a bottle of ‘La Fin du Monde’ by Unibroue a couple months ago. Partially successful- I did grow yeast, but got a bacterial contaminant as well. So take a lesson- be very rigorous on your sanitation.
I don’t remember what post I got the growing protocol from- basically you start with a small amount of 1.020 wort and gradually build it up over the next week or a little more.
I’m trying it again now from a bottle I cracked on Thanksgiving. Hoping to use it for a New Years Belgian Triple that I’m calling ‘La Fin de L’Anee’. I have a packet of Belle Saison as a backup.

I’ve only done that once,with yeast harvested from a bottle of Hen’s Tooth Ale.The resulting beer was not bad,but it tasted oddly Belgian to me,so I’d have to say that the desired end was not achieved.It was not a bad beer,though-just not at all what I was expecting.There are video tutorials on YouTube on how to do this.I have to say overall,though,that the process doesn’t strike me as especially worthwhile.I’d really rather just buy a pack of fresh yeast of the required type and use it…hence I’ve not repeated the experiment,and probably never will.

I think harvesting yeast from a bottle is like starting a campfire from steel and flint. You should do it once just to say you’ve done it. Knowing the theory is fine, but “I did it” gets the merit badge. Once you got the badge, it’s all matches and butane lighters.

+1 to that unless its some vary rare yeast or you can not get your hands on any before your next brew day , witch has happened to me more than once .

I think all your advice is probably right on. I’ve been saving the yeast and will likely do an experimental batch with it “flint and steel style” but likely that would be all is need to do. It’s more hassle than it’s worth.

Thanks for weighing in. If I do end up using it, I’ll post back to share results.


Here’s a good video on this topic.

I’ve done this several times. I routinely do this to harvest the dregs of certain sours. Most recently I’ve used this to work up a few pitches of yeast from some beers I brewed with Wyeast’s Canadian/Belgian strain last year when it was available as a seasonal strain. When I found out that it isn’t scheduled for release any time soon I took a bottle from the lowest-gravity beer I brewed with it and stepped it up a few times.

I brewed a Belgian Pale Ale to step up to a strong Belgian Amber. I just bottled the Amber last night. It went from 1.083 down to 1.009 and tastes fantastic. It’s going to be killer after 6-12 months in the cellar. Needless to say, if you pay careful attention to sanitation you can be quite successful and produce a lot of healthy yeast.

You’d be better off harvesting the yeast cake from your fermentation. You can boil some water in a pint or quart mason jar, put the lid on and shake, let cool, then pour the cooled/sterile water in the yeast cake and ladle into the jar or pour it from the bucket/carboy. Store in the fridge, you can use this yeast right from the jar for over a month and it will be viable for a starter for six months or more.

I’ve got a couple of different flint and steel pouches, I whip those out every now and then just for fun. Almost too easy. If you want a challenge, make fire with a bow and drill.

flint and steel.

For the record, I did end up making a starter from this. Why not?

It seems to be turning out nicely – lots of co2 and that like krausening of a typical starter… It’s chilling in the fridge awaiting decantation for brew day tomorrow – has about 3/4" of yeast layer forming in a re-purposed (and yes, sanitized) cider jug.

I’ll let you know how viable it seems is in the next batch – a Pale Ale.

Grew the starter up and pitched it last week. It’s fermenting quite well. Slow and steady fermentation since last Sunday when I brewed it (it’s now Sat). It’s in a Pale Ale at around 56º (my basement’s ambient temp). Going steady.

So, it can work. We’ll see if it’s drinkable and has off flavors, but at the moment, kinda awesome.

cool stuff. I buy a beer called single wide ipa by boulevard and they say that they add yeast at bottling time for some bottle conditioning . well I saved some one night but left it out until morning ,then added some sugar . oops oh well. the thing is I got nothing out of it. I expected at least some action from it. has anyone done this with this beer before? if so maybe I’ll try again.

A few things. I wouldn’t expect to see much visible action from the first step when growing yeast from a bottle-conditioned beer. There are relatively few cells there. It will take some time for them to wake up and start multiplying. And it will be pretty slow going at first. Your second and third steps will start to behave more and more like a normal starter.

Secondly, you said you added sugar. Does this mean you just added regular table sugar? I don’t know if that would be sufficient for the yeast. I would expect that the yeast would be starving for nutrients, and regular sugar isn’t going to provide any. Your best bet is a weak wort (1.020ish) for the first step, with a tiny pinch of nutrients added.

Finally,even if you do end up growing some yeast from this experiment, I don’t know if I’d want to use it in a beer. Because you’re starting with a small amount of yeast that isn’t exactly in the healthiest condition, superior sanitation is absolutely vital to ensure that there is no contamination. A beer left out overnight doesn’t seem like a good choice for culturing.

In case any readers are curious, I cracked open the first of the batch I made on this bottle-harvests yeast. Turned out great!

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