13 Steps To Make Culturing Yeast Easy

One of the easiest ways to save money with homebrewing is culturing your own yeast.  Before you have a knee jerk reaction thinking that it is hard or complicated just know people have doing this since there were pyramids if they can do it, you can too.

One reason why you might want to culture your own yeast is if you use that yeast in a lot for your beers.  An example is WLP001 California Ale Yeast or 1056 American Ale.  One that I am starting to love is the relatively new White Labs Yeast 090 San Diego Yeast which has a super fast fermentation.  By being able to keep these yeast around on stand by you have just saved yourself about $7 per recipe, not bad.  If you brew once a week it’s about $30 a month, not to shabby at all.

To culture your own yeast all you have to follow are these 13 easy steps and also all of this information can be found in the book, “The Joy Of Homebrewing”.

What you need first:

  1. 12 330ml beer bottles (12 oz bottles)
  2. 12 bottle caps
  3. 3 fermentation locks with #2 stoppers with a hole in them
  4. 6 oz (170g) dried light malt extract
  5. 1/4 oz (7g) bitter whole hops
  6. 2.5 qt. water
  7. House hold bleach
  8. Cheap Vodka
  9. Small, fine strainer
  10. Q-Tips
  11. Glass measuring cup with pouring spout

After you have collected all of your supplies,

  1. Boil the malt extract and hops in water for 30min.
  2. While the wort is boiling, take the bleach (or your preference of sanitizer) and sanitize your bottles.  Use 1/4 tsp (2ml) per bottle.  Fill with water and let them soak for 15min.
  3. You will also want to ether boil the bottle caps and measuring cup for 15min or you can soak them in the cheap but high proof vodka.
  4. After the wort has boiled for 30min, remove hops by pouring wort through a strainer into another pot.
  5. Bring to a boil again and boil for at least 10 more minutes.
  6. Drain all the water from the beer bottles then take the sterile measuring cup, pour about 6 oz of boiling sterile wort into each sanitized bottle.
  7. Cap immediately with sterile caps.
  8. Label the bottles.  Let them cool, once they are cooled down a bit put them in your refrigerator.
  9. Remove the bottle filled with beer wort from storage and shake.
  10.  Prepare a solution of 1 teaspoon of household bleach per qt of water and immerse rubber stoppers and fermentation locks.
  11. Carefully remove cap from bottle.  Open container of yeast and pour into the beer wort.  Make sure that the opening is sanitized before pouring.  If it is glass, you can burn the lips of it with a lighter.  If it is plastic you can take a swab of the vodka and rub it to make it sanitized.
  12.  After the yeast has been added, place the #2 stopper and the airlock on top.  Fill the airlock with the appropriate amount of water or sanitizing solution.
  13. Allow the wort to sit at room temp for about 18 hours (you will want a strong fermentation), then place in refrigerator.  The idea behind the refrigeration is that the decrease in temperature will make the yeast go dormant.  The yeast should remain healthy for another 2 weeks before having to propagate the yeast in another bottle of sterile beer.

After a prolonged period, the yeast will begin to die.  This period will be shortened if the yeast is agitated.  Yeast can be stored for long period by freezing it.  The way to store yeast without killing it if you are freezing the yeast is to add glycerol to it making it 10% of the total volume.  If this is done correctly, the yeast may be frozen for up to one year before recapturing is necessary. 


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5 Lalvin Yeast And How To Use Them

Making beer is one of my biggest passions, but I like to mess around with other brewing projects when I get bored with beer though. The nice thing with brewing is a lot of the equipment is the same from beer to wine so you really don’t have to invest in a whole heck of a lot to switch between the two.

A lot of times about once a month I’ll end up making mini batches of wine or mead.  Over time you get quite a few wine bottles, especially because I use 375ml bottles to bottle in.  When making these smaller batches of wine or mead one of the things that I use is Lalvin yeast, which is a dry wine yeast.  Unlike white labs yeast where they have so many yeast types, Lalvin has 5.

When in doubt though I always figure use a a chart, that’s why I added one below.  It’s a pretty good reference guide.  I elaborated on it though with my own personal experience as well as the ABV that you can get from the yeast.

RC 212

This wine yeast is really great for Red’s.  This strain helps with enhancing fruit flavors. The darker the red, the better this yeast preforms.

Alcohol 12%-14%


Is great for whites.  I’ve used this one with meads as well. This strain of yeast really does need appropriate nitrogen levels in order to turn out well, so make sure to add nutrient as well as energizer to it.

Alcohol 12%-14%


What’s kinda cool about this yeast is that it can metabolize malic acid turning it into ethenol.  Now in engish, it will make acidic wines or meads, melomels (fruit meads) into more well rounded ones with out such a bite if you start off with lots of acid in it.

Alcohol 14%


I typically use this one for ciders and natural fruit that are light. It works really great with stuck fermentations as well.  The reason why I prefer this one with ciders and a lot of light country wines is that it is an extremely competitive yeast strain. It needs a high level of nitrogen though, so act appropreityly.  Another thing about this yeast is that it keeps the fruity flavor longer then other strains.

Alcohol 16%-18%


This is a champagne style of yeast.  It can take a wide range of fermentation temps as well (50 degrees up to 95 degrees).  This is a great yeast to help restart stuck fermentations as well get a high alcohol if that’s what your going for.

Alcohol 18%

So if your interested in making little batches of wine what I recommend you get assuming that you already have everything else because of your beer equiptment is:

A glass jug – 1 gallon

A box of 375ml bottles

A bag of corks – size #8 or #9

A #6 rubber stopper that is drilled (fits into the glass jug)

And a corker – either a handheld which are cheaper or a floor which is easier but of course more expensive. 

Either way that’s what your really need to get going with making your own mini batches of wine or mead.  Pretty soon we’ll be posting up so cool recipes for wine and how to do them as well.

But  I’ll end this by asking you, do you have any have any  country wine recipes or any mead recipes that you would like to share?

Lalvin’s website where the chart can be found: http://www.lalvinyeast.com/strains.asp

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White Labs To Wyeast Chart

There’s a lot of recipes that you find on the internet or in books that either have white labs or wyeast yeast, but rarely does it have what the equivalent one is in the other brand.  At Jay’s Brewing we sell White Labs yeast.  I am partial to white labs because I’ve only had good experiences with it but that just may be me.  When I’ve used wyeast in the past, I end up looking like I am doing an impression of a crazy from a halloween movie just punching the bag not knowing if I have broken the capsule in the middle.  With that said everyone has there preference just my own personal experience with wyeast.

With all that said here is a reference chart though of wyeast to the equivalent white labs.  This usually comes in handy when transcribing recipes.

1007 German Ale Yeast = WLP029 German / Kolsch Ale Yeast
1010 American Wheat = WLP320 American Hefeweizen Ale Yeast
1026 British Cask Ale = N/A
1028 London Ale Yeast = WLP013 London Ale Yeast
1056 American Ale Yeast = WLP001 California Ale Yeast
1084 Irish Ale Yeast = WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast
1087 Wyeast Ale Blend = N/A
1098 British Ale Yeast = WLP005 British Ale Yeast
1099 Whitbread Ale Yeast = WLP006 Bedford British Yeast (PS/Sep-Oct)
1187 Ringwood Ale Yeast = WLP005 British Ale Yeast
1214 Belgian Ale Yeast = WLP550 Belgian Ale Yeast
1272 American Ale Yeast II = WLP051 California V Ale Yeast
1275 Thames Valley Ale Yeast = WLP023 Burton Ale Yeast
1318 London Ale Yeast III = WLP002 English Ale Yeast
1332 Northwest Ale Yeast = WLP005 British Ale Yeast
1335 British Ale Yeast II = WLP025 Southwold Ale Yeast                                      1338 European Ale Yeast = WLP011 European Ale Yeast
1388 Belgian Strong Ale Yeast = WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale Yeast
1728 Scottish Ale Yeast = WLP028 Edinburgh Scottish Ale Yeast
1762 Belgian Abbey Yeast II = WLP530 Abbey Ale Yeast
1968 London ESB Ale Yeast = WLP002 English Ale Yeast
2007 Pilsen Lager Yeast = WLP800 Pilsner Lager Yeast
2035 American Lager Yeast = WLP840 American Pilsner Lager Yeast
2042 Danish Lager Yeast = WLP830 German Lager Yeast
2112 California Lager Yeast = WLP810 San Francisco Lager Yeast
2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast = WLP830 German Lager Yeast
2178 Wyeast Lager Blend = N/A
2206 Bavarian Lager Yeast = WLP820 Oktoberfest Lager Yeast
2247 European Lager Yeast = WLP920 Old Bavarian Lager Yeast (PS/Sep-Oct)
2272 N American Lager Yeast = WLP840 American Pilsner Lager Yeast
2278 Czech Pils Yeast = WLP802 Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast
2308 Munich Lager Yeast = WLP838 Southern German Lager Yeast
2565 Kolsch Yeast = WLP029 German / Kolsch Ale Yeast
3056 Bavarian Wheat Yeast Blend = N/A
3068 Weihenstephan Weizen Yeast = WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale Yeast
3112 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis = N/A
3278 Belgian Lambic Blend = N/A
3333 German Wheat Yeast = WLP380 Hefeweizen IV Ale Yeast
3463 Forbidden Fruit Yeast = WLP720 Sweet Mead / Wine Yeast
3522 Belgian Ardennes Yeast = WLP510 Belgian Bastogne Ale Yeast (PS/Jan-Feb)
3526 Brettanomyces lambicus = N/A
3638 Bavarian Wheat Yeast = WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale Yeast
3787 Trappist High Gravity = WLP500 Trappist Ale Yeast
3942 Belgian Wheat Yeast = WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale Yeast
3944 Belgian Witbier Yeast = WLP410 Belgian Wit II Yeast (PS/Jul-Aug)

N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP003 German Ale II Yeast (PS/May-Jun)
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP008 East Coast Ale Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP022 Essex Ale Yeast (PS/Mar-Apr)
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP026 Premium Bitter Yeast (PS/May-Jun)
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP033 Klassic Ale Yeast (PS/Jan-Feb)
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP099 Super High Gravity Ale Yeast (PS/Nov-Dec)
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP565 Saison Ale Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP715 Champagne Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP718 Avize Wine Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP727 Steinberg – Geisenheim Wine Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP735 French White Wine
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP740 Merlot Red Wine Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP749 Assmanhuasen Wine Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP750 French Red Wine Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP760 Cabernet Red Wine Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP770 Suremain Burgandy Wine Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP775 English Cide Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP833 German Bock Yeast
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP885 Zurich Lager Yeast (PS/Jul-Aug)
N/A ***No Equivalent*** = WLP940 Mexican Lager Yeast (PS/Mar-Apr))




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