Thursday, July 14, 2016

Foraged Yeast Brew Day

Earlier this year I decided I wanted to try some yeast capturing again.  Last year I had some pretty bad experiences that resulted in lots of mold and some terrible smelling Mason jars around the house.  My original technique was to make a batch of extract wort and place the jars covered in cheese cloth around my yard in various places.  That seemed to be how a lot of people were doing it.  Well in two attempts, I have been very unsuccessful that way.  I'm sure it had to do with my technique as well as the microbes around my house.

After those failed attempts I decided to try another way recommended by Jeff Mello of Bootleg Biology.  This is also the technique that I spoke with Gerard Olson from Forest and Main Brewing Co. when I visited there earlier this year.  Basically you use foraged objects like flowers and fruits (among other things) to try and capture a wild yeast culture.  I recently wrote a small primer article for Craft Commander on foraging for wild yeast.  You can take a look at that here.  It's not exactly scientific but it covers the basic steps I used in capturing my culture I used in this beer.

For my culture I decided to user clover flowers from my front yard.  The afternoon I picked the flowers there was a ton of activity.  A mild breeze was blowing and bees were visible all over the flowers.  Hopefully I'll get something really nice out of this!

Recipe:  Foraged Yeast Beer
Brewer:  Gus
Batch:  15
Date:  7-9-16

Batch Size:  4.0 gal
Boil Size:  6.04 gal
Post Boil Volume:  4.16 gal  
Estimated OG:  1.042
Actual OG:  1.044
Estimated Color:  3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU:  20.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency:  74.60%
Est Mash Efficiency:  74.60%
Boil Time:  75 Minutes

100% Pilsner Malt (Avangard)

24.6 IBUs of Aramis @ 60 min

Foraged Yeast from Clover Flowers

Mash Schedule:
Temperature mash of 149F for 75 min with a 10 minute mashout at 168F

100% Avangard Pilsner malt

I mashed in for 75 min with the temperature of 149F.  I wanted to get something really fermentable and give the foraged culture something easy to work with.  100% Pilsner should give a good base to let whatever I've capture shine through.

Love seeing clear wort.

I boiled the wort for 75 min and added around 14g of Aramis hops at 60 minutes.  With this batch being so small I wasn't able to use my stainless hop spider so I put the hops in a nylon hop bag.

Nylon hop bag and 14g or so of Aramis hops

After the boil I recirculated the wort for about 15 minutes and then ran it through my heat exchanger to get the wort down to 68F.  I collected just under 4 gallons in the carboy and pitched my culture while keeping back a small bit for further propagation.  If this beer turns out well, I'll send some of the yeast slurry over to Jeff Mello.  I covered the top of the carboy with sanitized aluminum foil as I do with most of my beers.  I'll add a bung and airlock after activity starts to slow.

Now it's time for some fermentation!

Super simple brew day.  The smallest batch I've done on my system so far.  I didn't even have enough in the mash tun to use the thermometer in the side.  This wasn't a problem as I rely on the temperature probe I have in the outlet to regulate my mash temps.  I'm really looking forward to the outcome of this beer!  I'll also be foraging some more cultures very soon!


7-10-16:  6AM krausen has already formed and fermentation is under way!

7-11-16:  Very active.  At least 3 inches of thick krausen on top and a nice yeasty smell coming from the carboy.

7-12-16:  Activity has slowed just a bit.  I swapped the foil for a bung and airlock but steady CO2 off gassing came through the 3 piece airlock when I added the Star-San solution to it.  Looking really promising.  The aroma was very similar to the starters.  Hints of honey, light tartness and a bit of citrus seemed to come through too.

7-24-16:  All signs of fermentation have stopped.  Looks like it has even flocculated really well.  I'll be packaging soon!

9-7-16:  Bottled the batch.

10-7-16:  Tasted one bottle.  Slight bit of THP there so I'm going to give it some more time before I do tasting notes.

Final tasting notes here!

Good things!

Andrew "Gus" Addkison
@aaddkison on Twitter
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  1. I wonder if it's styrene which creates the honey smell.

    1. It could be! I'm not 100% sure. The sweet smell is fading a bit to more lemony but that could be whatever it was being broken down.

  2. Can't wait to hear how the batch turns out!

    1. Still chugging along this morning. I'll be bottling all of this batch to send out if it's decent! I'll send you a bottle!

  3. Awesome my man! I will be brewing with mine next week!

    1. I'm headed out with some vials this weekend to try and capture some more things. I've got my eye on a fig tree and some honeysuckle!

  4. Replies
    1. I'll finally have the tasting notes up this weekend for this one. It took it some time to get over a bit of THP in the bottle.