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Zoot Horn Rollo

Brewing with wild yeast

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     I was wondering if it's possible to brew using local wild yeasts. As a sourdough bread enthusiast, I have been making my own starters for years using nothing but flour mixed with warm water. Allow the goop to sit for a few days under a moist towel and, guess what?  It looks a lot like high krausen. I wonder....could you pitch that starter into the wort and brew with it? I do understand that there would be no guarantee of taste quality. Anyone tried this?

 

Best, Zoot

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I've used wild yeasts, but not that exact method.  Here's my brown ale that I brewed with yeast from TN honeysuckle plants...

 

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My friend Jeff Mello of Bootleg Biology makes a great yeast wrangling kit for just this very purpose...  http://bootlegbiology.com/backyard-yeast-wrangling-tool-kit/

 

He's looking for people to wrangle and submit yeast from every area code in the country.  http://bootlegbiology.com/available-yeast/local-yeast/

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I read an article on getting wild yeast started.  The basic methodology was to start multiple batches in various places that weren't overly hot/windy/wet.  Exposing them to whatever might come their way then select the batch that still smelled like something you would want to drink.  Harvest that batch only and work from there.

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I also make sourdough (from time to time) but I suspect that sourdough involves both yeast and lactic bacteria (if you taste the starter - as professional bakers suggest you do) you can taste the sharp quality of the fermentation and that sharp taste is not, I think,  the taste of yeast at work... so while sour beers are all the rage (are they not?) I think they take about a year or more to develop fully... and (I suspect) acquiring lactic and other souring bacteria (brett?) is relatively easy .. removing them from your fermenter and tubes may be more challenging. In other words, you may want to have one set of equipment dedicated for wild "yeast" fermentation and another set for more every day S. cerevisiae fermentation

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