This blog provides information for educational purposes only. Read our complete summary for more info.
Harvesting and washing yeast is one of the best ways to save money while homebrewing. By doing this you can avoid buying yeast before every brew day, you can reuse wild or special strains of yeast, and you can share yeast with friends! In this case, we wanted to reuse wild yeast that came from a log. If you haven’t read about our log beer experiments, we highly recommend you read this article and watch this brew day video.
The log that Dailey Crafton sent us
Since we were borrowing this log from our friend in New York, we had to harvest and wash yeast from a beer that had already been fermented with it in order to enjoy the log after it was mailed back.
Placing the log into our extract brown ale - click on the image for the brew day video
After our extract brown ale was fermented and transferred to a keg, we were left with yeast and dregs at the bottom of a fermenter. This is all you need to start the yeast harvesting process.
After harvesting log yeast from an extract brown ale, we created a farmhouse ale recipe so we could enjoy this special yeast again in a different beer style. However, the process explained in this article can be used for any strain of yeast. If you have a fermenter laying around with yeast in it, why don’t you just go ahead and use it? Don’t just let it sit there!
If you’re looking to use this farmhouse ale recipe, but you don’t know what yeast to use, we recommend the Jovaru Lithuanian Farmhouse yeast from Omega Yeast. We’ll be using our special wild yeast, but you can use any yeast that would be used for a saison or farmhouse ale recipe.
Full Video Tutorial
Here’s a video that illustrates all the steps detailed below
Harvesting and Washing Yeast
We started this entire process by harvesting yeast from the bottom of a fermenter. Read this article to learn that process.
Making a Yeast Starter With Washed Yeast
In order to use harvested washed yeast to ferment a beer, you'll have to make a yeast starter with it. Read this article to learn how to make a yeast starter with washed yeast.
Wild Farmhouse Ale Recipe
After successfully harvesting, washing, and making a yeast starter with our yeast we were ready to make a beer with it. The Farmhouse Ale recipe below can be used with any saison or farmhouse ale yeast, not just our special log yeast.
After all of our hard work, we were left with a healthy yeast starter
To start off the brew day, we filled our kettle with 7 gallons (26.5 liters) of water.
This farmhouse ale recipe only calls for 11 pounds (5 kg) of pilsner malt. We crushed this in our mill while waiting for our kettle to fill up with water.
Pouring pilsner malt into our grinder
11 pounds (5 kg) of crushed pilsner malt
We hooked up our recirculation hoses and mashed in at 155° F (68° C). We did a 60-minute mash before we pulled our grain basket and started a boil.
It's important to stir everything once you mash in to remove dough balls
We're using our 240-volt digital brewing controller to brew this beer. All of our controllers have separate controls for the heat and pump.
Boil & Hops
While letting our grains drain for about 10 minutes we turned our digital brewing controller up to 100% of power to start a boil as soon as possible. This recipe calls for a 60-minute boil.
Our digital brewing controllers can be put into automatic or manual mode allowing you to set an exact temperature or a percentage of power
30 minutes into our boil we added a .5 ounce (14 grams) of Citra hops.
At the end of our 60-minute boil, we killed the heat and did a flameout addition that consisted of another .5 ounce (14 grams) of Citra hops.
Our brewing system comes with a hop silo which makes hop additions super easy
After this flameout addition, we started chilling our wort down to a yeast pitching temperature of around 65° F (18.3° C)
Pictured on the left is a wort plate chiller which recirculates cold water next to hot wort without mixing them. Our digital brewing controller on the right monitors the temperature as we're chilling
Yeast & Fermentation
Once our wort was chilled to around 65° F (18.3° C) we transferred it into a fermentation vessel.
At this time we removed our yeast starter from the stir plate and pitched it into our chilled wort.
Make sure to leave your stir bar behind, but it won't ruin anything if it accidentally fell in
After pitching our yeast starter we put a lid on the fermenter and shook it for 60 seconds in order to aerate it. The final step was putting an airlock on top and then placing it into one of our fermentation vessels set to 68° F (20° C).
Placing an airlock onto the lid of our fermenter
Carrying our bucket of wort to a fermentation chamber
We fermented this for 3 weeks before putting it in a keg to carbonate and serve it.
Emmet said, "It's actually quite nice."
This beer finished with perfect golden color and little to no haze. The flavor was very reminiscent of our original log beer, which makes sense because both of them used the same yeast. The main flavor difference between this beer and the first log beer was a lime flavor that came through. Other than that this farmhouse ale was filled with citrusy fruit flavors that mostly came from the yeast we harvested.
We still have 3 more jars of harvested yeast that we can brew with or share with friends
Leave a comment if you followed this process with a different yeast. How did it turn out?