Extracting Yeast from Commercial Beer

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There has been just a little bit of discussion here previously about extracting yeast from certain commercial beers and I wonder if anybody can expand upon the theme.

In particular I've taken a great liking to the MSB Colonial Wheat Beer and have made up a couple of kit attempts at getting a good one (drinkable but nothing to boast about).

Pete Myers has given us a couple of recipes in a an earlier posting and I'm about to put one of them into action.My reading on the subject shows that the yeast is an absolutely key ingredient. Now I understand that MSB use the Hefeweizen yeast and I'd like to try and cultivate some.

As luck would have it I found a place yesterday that still had some cartons of the beer in stock ( it was only made for a short period and seems to have dried up) so I grabbed a couple of slabes to enjoy over the next few months.

So, is there a practical way of me doing this or should I just go back and buy the last two cartons :)


Try this.
Drink half a stuby. Add wheat malt (approx 50 gms) to what is left. Shake up contents in bottle to aerate.
Place Airlock that sits in a rubber stopper into stuby. This i now call your "wheat yeast plant".

Place in a dark cupboard at approx 15 Degrees. Add more wheat malt that you disolved in boiled water, sealed and cooled to approx the same temp as your yeast plant. Add this to the yeast plant every day.
Usually do this for a week.

Once the stuby is full - decant half the liquid off into another stuby, airlock and rubber stopper. Now have two yeast plants. Add more wheat malt to each and now store in the fridge until the day before you want to make wheat beer. Take out then - add more wheat malt - leave for the day and then pitch into fermenter when you make wheat beer the next day.

The plants should keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.
This method can also work after racking - using the liquid left above the yeast trub - plus a little of the yeast trub.
Live yeast sits suspended in the wort and as a thin concentrated layer on top of the dead yeast cells - trub.

Any other comments or ideas.
Or you could try your LHBS for a vial of White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast. Should cost around the $15 mark. It is the same yeast strain they use for the Colonial Wheat.


I have used the WLP300 hefeweizen yeast a few times and will in fact be using it in my next brew as I will be doing a Bavarian Wheat.

On a similar topic of cultivating yeast from commercial beers, check out this link. It is a little old you may find some useful info there.

Just finished putting down a brew and have used the WLP300 White Labs hefeweizen yeast.
Had a great big sniff of the starter before pitching and it smelled fantastic.
Smelled just like an authentic Schneider Weiss or Edelweiss wheat beer.
mmmm, can't wait to taste this one.

I haven't tried the WhiteLabs strain, but I can vouch for the Wyeast 3068 Weinstephan Liquid Yeast. It is a Bavarian strain that has helped me produce two glorious wheat beers. Nice and spicy, with a hint of cloves, nutmeg, vanilla and banana. I really recommend this one. As far as cultivating the yeaat goes, I just do a starter from the original smack pack, then when I pitch into my brew, I pour about 100ml into a sterilised stubby and put a rubber stopper and an airlock into it. I then put it into the fridge and do a starter from from it next time. You can do this 5-10 times. My LHBS guy reckons it will last up to 6 months if you are careful with sanitation.

Cheers - Snow.

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