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10/25/08 11:06 PM  
any experience culturing wild apple yeasts
The wife and I picked a bunch of apples a few weeks back and I've been keeping them in the old built in ice box in the kitchen at room temp since picking. Today I thought about sticking some wort in there to try and culture some of the ambient yeast strains (brett + ???) and build it up to a pitchable quantity for a psuedo ambient ale. Does anyone have any experiences from experiments like this?
10/26/08 01:54 AM  
Re: any experience culturing wild apple yeasts
I made a great sourdough starter from apple yeast, it has the ability to be either very sour or not at all depending on environmental factors. I'd say you have a very good chance of cultivating yeast off your apples, but what the final product would taste like can only be determined through experimentation. However I'd recommend lots of hops and pretty cool temperatures to keep bacterial populations down
10/26/08 12:17 PM  
Re: any experience culturing wild apple yeasts
Thanks for input on your experiences Lucus. I was thinking I would use a saison-ish grainbill fermented around 58 for this project if the starter wort looked / tastes like it has potential. Anyone else?
10/27/08 02:31 PM  
Re: any experience culturing wild apple yeasts
I have a lot of experience here, its not exactly how you want to use the apple yeast, but I'll tell you what I know. Use what you can...

I have never brewed beer with apple yeast, but I am a very avid cider maker. Its so good whole that I don't ferment a lot, but I do do a single 5 gallon batch. In my early days I played with beer yeasts to ferment cider, and more recently I tried dried wine yeast - I tip I got from "Cider Day" (an annual thing, coming up this weekend, http://www.ciderday.org)

In between futzing with beer yeast and trying wine yeast I have used natural fermentation. I press the stuff and let it go on its own. No question, all the best ciders I've made have been done like this, in fact I regret trying wine yeast at all. Fermentation is very thourough and clean. Cider is a simple beverage, off flavors have no place to hide. They just don't happen.

But sometimes this is not enough. Last year I worked on making a high gravity cider from reduced juice that I pressed. As this involved simmering cider there would be no yeast to be had. So I poured a couple pints of the fresh juice into an eldermire flask to work it up. In two days (with some help from a heating pad on low) it reached high krausen and I pitched it into the high gravity must. Worked like a charm. I could not have been more pleased by the results, so I did it again this year. In fact I finished preparing all the high grav must just yesterday. The cider, fermenting from natural apple skin yeasts, looks like a healthy fermenting beer except the airlock is less active.

11/08/08 01:08 PM  
Re: any experience culturing wild apple yeasts
Here's my 2 cents...

About a year or so ago I brew a sour beer using only the yeast from 5ish lbs of granny smith apples. I cubed the apples, and put them in the primary with the cooled wort.

Fermentation was a bit slow to start, but finished (if memory serves...notes not here) in about 2 -2.5 weeks. Racked off of the apples to secondary for a few months before bottling.

Note that I did pitch any yeast, and I do not have the facilities to determine exactly what is in there, but from the taste I am assuming lacto and some mild brett. It is moderately sour, very little apple flavor...probably due to the primary ferment and just a bit funky. I have not had one for a few months....maybe it is time to crack another :)

If anyone is interested in more details let me know and I will get my notes and post more later.

11/08/08 01:11 PM  
Re: any experience culturing wild apple yeasts
Well...seems I should proof-read before hitting submit....I really do know the language....I swear...

Should be did NOT pitch any yeast....sorry for the double post, I am usually more careful.

11/08/08 09:12 PM  
Re: any experience culturing wild apple yeasts
starter going and very strong - a very strong horse blanket brett character indeed. I have this one sitting on the back seat until I decide if I want to brew with it or not. If anything I'll use it in secondary.
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