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Yeast from Commercial Beers

I’ve been wondering how many of you harvest yeast from store bought beers. If so, which beers and what have you used them for.

Not a whole lot of commercial beers you can really do it effectively with…most commercial beer is micro filtered, pasteurized, or bottled with a yeast other than the yeast with which it was fermented.

More than 30 years ago, someone brought back a bottle-conditioned Guinness from the UK for me. I managed to grow the yeast, but was ignorant at the time about maintaining it. It made a good brew, though!

Lots of sour beers are harvestable - you drink the beer then pitch the dregs to boost the bug counts.

I’m going to attempt this for the first time. I buddy gave me a 6er of Erdinger Weisbier from Germany to help him move. The notes on the bottle say that they are bottle fermented and there is a noticeable cake of yeast on the bottom. I plan to harvest all 6 bottles and make a 1.010 “starter” to see if I can get the yeast to reproduce.

I also enjoyed a beer this weekend from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas (Kansas City?), their Pale ale that was also “bottle fermented.” There was a less noticeable yeast cake.

Go to your local package store and read the bottles. Some will have “live yeast” on the labels or “living cultures,” stuff like that. Apparently, “bottle fermented” is a common term as well.

It’s a neat experiment for the homebrewer, and if the yeast you’re looking for isn’t available commercially, it’s about the only way to get some yeasts, but if you’re just wanting a particular brewery’s strain, a lot of them are already available. You can find a chart listing them at

ive made a starter with a Chimay a while back as an experiment. only to find out that the strain is already available

i made a starter with a Chimay a while back as an experiment. only to find out that the strain is already available.

It’s gotta be cheaper to culture from a bottle than buying the strain. Well, it may be the same, but atleast you get to drink some beer with the cost.

My wife likes Pyramid Apricot, and I was thinking of cloning it for her. It has a good yeasty sediment. Anyone try that yet?

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