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Collecting wild yeast (Read 788 times)
vetryan15
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Collecting wild yeast
Jul 3rd, 2021 at 7:52pm
 
This goes with @Ratman's thread about sourdough yeast.  I started making mead last year. Only have 4 gallons under my belt. I just started beekeeping,  so i should start having an endless supply of honey starting next year,  the maine book about mead making i read is 'How to make mead like a viking'. I been lazy and busy about it. So i decided to start today. I took some local honey (not mine) and mixed it in a bucket with water. I started with a small amount, just to see how it goes, but i can add to it as i go. I mixed it together into a 'must', and covered it with cheesecloth.  So bugs dont get into it. Plus once the bees find it, they WILL collect it all.but now its the waiting game. I will check in a week. I have it hanging on a post, about 6ft in the air, so my chickens dont go into it. I will keep this updated. I plan on making some more mead soon. And ither alcoholic drinks,  as the wild apples will be coming into hatvest inna few months.
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #1 - Jul 4th, 2021 at 1:03pm
 
Definitely interested in your experience with this.  I've never done wild fermentation.
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vetryan15
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #2 - Jul 4th, 2021 at 7:50pm
 
I will definitely keep u posted. Its dgonna be an interesting experiment.  Seems easy. But we shall see
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perpetualstudent
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #3 - Jul 5th, 2021 at 11:52am
 
I learned around christmas that traditionally gingerbread leavening comes from a sort of honey sourdough. So something approaching that sort of honey must and they would keep it alive until it was time to make gingerbread.

It was documentary about gingerbread internationally I haven't chased down more information about that yet but I thought that was pretty cool. Honey yeast seem to get along like a house on fire  Grin
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #4 - Jul 6th, 2021 at 12:28am
 
The fact that you can actually get yeast this way is pretty cool. Makes sense though.
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vetryan15
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #5 - Jul 6th, 2021 at 10:55am
 
I actually took a peek this morning, but dropped the bucket, and spilled some. Its because i am impatient.  But there is enough to get started. I will be leaving it alone till the end of the week. I was told,  i would get in trouble if i was caught peeking at it again. Lol. 

Quick story, from last year.

When i worked at the grocery store,  i had a customer come in. One of those eccentric locals, that everyone knows. Lol. I had juat started researching collecting yeast. This customer during covid19, was looking for yeast.  We were out for months of it, among other items. Well i told her to do it like the Vikings,  and collect it, and thats what i am getting ready to do. Same with sourdough, just a slightly different process.  Well this lady said i was lying, to stop bullshitiing.  That i was a liar in thos exact words. Then rather loud, so people can hear. Lol. It was a wtf moment. I defended myself and told her that many cultures around the world did it, that you couldnt go into the store and purchase it 500 years ago. just walked away, i had a broom in my hand, as i was busy sweeping the store.
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #6 - Jul 6th, 2021 at 4:10pm
 
people don't realise that the air we breathe is simply loaded with spores and pollens and micro organisms of all kinds. Just floating around.
And yeasts are one of the most common.

What might be a better idea, would be to have a half dozen starters going.
And pick the best.

You never know what you'll get in a wild culture, so having a few starters to chooses from would give you more choice when using it in your main brew.

They might all taste the same, or might not. But I think I'd definitely go for a bunch on little starters and pick the one that tasted best.

At least with honey you are unlikely to get any moulds - honey is a fantastic preservative and will keep the moulds and bacteria at bay. 

Cool experiment Thumbs Up

Love that you have to keep the bees out as well Smiley
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vetryan15
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #7 - Jul 8th, 2021 at 6:23am
 
I will be checking up on it, in the next couple of days. I believe if this goes well, kn the future.  I can get your idea,. Then have a bunch of starters, i dont have much space inside, so hopefully the one will start soon. So i can get experience
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vetryan15
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #8 - Aug 19th, 2021 at 4:44pm
 
Here is an update on my captured WILD yeast. I took a bucket, put some raw local honey, mixed with water to make a MUST. I covered it with cheesecloth and set it outside. Usually after a couple days. It can get pulled down. But when i went to check it. I dropped the bucket, and lost most of it. So i had to start over. I guess thats what i get for being impatient lol. I left it out for almost 2 weeks. I bought it in, and strained it into a 1 gallong carboy. Then put an airlock on top to let it breathe some more.  Well its almost 2 months old. And what i do it not by the books, but it works for me. I feed it about 2 tsp of honey every 3 to 6 days. Then i sit and mix it, vigorously once a day for 20 minutes.  ( you are supposed to mix it mutiple times a day. Up to 5 or 6 times. But i dont have the time to do that often. ) it has a foam on top which is good. I wont get into technical terms. But the carbonation and froth is from the yeast actively eating the honey. Now in the pics i only added about 3 or 4 cups of water to the must, which in the container it has grown almost double in size, due to feeding it honey.  After mixing you can hear it bubbling( which the Vikings thought it was magic pixies were at work) it also has an amazing alcoholic smell. Technically u could drink this must. Which i might try in the future as a test.  I plan on collecting wild apples and making some hard cider, and ciser( apple mead) this fall.  Wild fermentation SO FAR has been fun. I joke with my gf and tell her i gotta take care of the baby, and feed the baby. Lol. Drives her crazy.
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vetryan15
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #9 - Aug 19th, 2021 at 4:46pm
 
In the tradition of the vikings. I carved a small stick, and am using it as my stir stick,  exclusively.  Thwy would pass it down from generations because the yeast will dry up on the stick and go inactive for year, until its mixed with watwr and honey to start mead.
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #10 - Aug 20th, 2021 at 3:08pm
 
WOOT!  Sounds (and looks) like it's going well so far.  Very cool man! Thumbs Up

I'll just mention one thing.  The dedicated "stirring stick" is a cool tie to the past.  But that's ultimately going to be a great way for bacteria and other things that could spoil the mead to get in there.  It's your batch though, so entirely up to you.  Just wanted to drop a warning on that.

Looking forward to see how this turns out.  Smiley
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vetryan15
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #11 - Aug 20th, 2021 at 5:11pm
 
Its actually doing very well. I appreciate the heads up. I was definitely not gonna save it and pass it down. At my rate i wont have children till iam 95, and i am 35 now, so its a long way off. Lol, i plan to just keep carving a new one every 3 or 4 months. Living on a homestead,  its kind of hard to keep stuff clean. I plan on doing a taste test soon, but i don't like drinking it with it being a million degrees. Hopefully in aweek i can do it. But we shall see. I am about to put in an order for local honey and get 15lbs. Just so i can be prepared for when i start a few different ones this fall.
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #12 - Sep 3rd, 2021 at 2:41pm
 
between the alcohol and honey - the stick is pretty much sterilised each time it's used, I would think.

Yeasts are alcohol tolearant - well some are. So regularly use of the stick would probably kill off anything but the more alcohol tolearant yeasts.

It's not necessarily as daft an idea as it sounds Smiley

And if you stored it in a jar of honey that would keep it sterile.

Might also be interesting to see what happened with just the honey and yeast, no water.
Would you get a thick  alcoholic honey ?
Probably not Smiley

The other thing is that you probably have more than one strain of yeast in your wild mead.
Over the years the lower alcohol tolerant yeasts would die off and the mead would gradually get stronger as the more alcohol tolerant ones survived and flourished and stuck to the stick.

It's a bit like people who say that our ancestors only used salt to cure their meat, so why should we use nitrates.

In reality, over time people would graduate towards salt from a particular mine or area because it did a better job. And that would be the salts naturally rich in nitrates.

So over the years the stirring stick might well end up making stronger mead Smiley
More than enough reason to keep it in the family.

Or not Smiley
But it does make sense.

Our ancestors weren't idiots and many long standing traditions have a practical core to them.  

Did you take the specific gravity of the starting mix ?
be interesting to know how much alcohol you get.
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #13 - Sep 3rd, 2021 at 3:21pm
 
A stirring stick isn't really used once there's alcohol.  When fermentation happens, dead yeast and other solids will sink to the bottom.  And this is desired.  At that point it's a normal practice to move the liquid (usually via siphon) to another container leaving the solids behind.  Stirring the batch would just put everything back in suspension again.  Which would be drinkable, but you'd have a very "yeasty" tasting mead.

As to whether the alcohol will keep things sanitary, that entirely depends on the percentage of alcohol.  Having a higher level of alcohol definitely helps protect from outside infections, but any homebrewer will tell you that even a beer with 10% ABV can get infected and spoiled.

Keeping a stick in honey would keep it safe while it's in the honey.  As soon as it's taken out and diluted in water, it won't be anymore.

Yeast will not ferment honey by itself.  While sugar is their food, and is provided by the honey, yeast need other things to be happy and healthy.  Just like any other living organism they need oxygen, certain minerals, etc.  They will not get this from honey.  Yeast also don't do well in an environment that is too sugar rich.  They can get overwhelmed and a good fermentation won't start.
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Re: Collecting wild yeast
Reply #14 - Sep 3rd, 2021 at 4:23pm
 
it was just a thought Smiley
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