Liquid Yeast Stretcher (Culturing the strain you like, cheaply)

April 19, 2013

Home brewers often wrestle with the question of what strain of yeast to use in their next creation.

Dry yeasts are cheap, stable and easily found at supply shops but aren’t necessarily the best choice given the fact that there is likely a long lag time from pitch to actual fermentation. Some times up to 24 hours. That is plenty of time for nasty airborne vagabonds to swoop in and hijack your brew.

Not desired.

Liquid cultures are a better choice because they jump to it more quickly once they are pitched to the wort. However, they have a much shorter shelf live and need constant refrigeration. To top it off they are pricey not to mention hard to find. So…what to do.

Propagate your liquid culture. Be your own store.

Once you have found a yeast you like its pretty simple to take a portion of that strain and make multiple spare starters for future use.

Just follow these easy steps.

Step 1:

Boil water (250-300ml) and a small amount of malt extract (about 200g) for at least 15-20 minutes to ensure pasteurization.

While this is happening sterilize 4-5 beer bottles.

Step 2:

Once the malt is sterile, let it cool for 10 minutes (covered) and then pour equal amounts to each beer bottle using sterile funnel and then cover mouth of each bottle with a sterile beer cap and continue to let cool.










Step 3:

Once the malt has cooled to room temperature add a small amount of the yeast strain to each bottle.










Cap each bottle immediately.










Step 4:

Label each bottle with yeast strain name and date. Refrigerate. These ‘starters’ should be good for at least 3 months.

When preparing for your next beer, take one bottle from the fridge, uncap the bottle and place a new clean cap on top and let sit (could take up to 24 hours). When signs of fermentation are apparent then it is time to brew your next beer and then pitch the fermenting yeast at the proper wort temperature. You can wait longer before pitching as long as you maintain sterile conditions ie. keep the lid on it. The longer you wait before pitching the more active yeast cells you introduce to your wort ensuring quick and vigorous fermentation on contact.

Brew beer, have fun.