What's brewing? 7/10/06
Well, nothing's brewing per se. But on Saturday I started the process of reculturing the Orval yeast I mentioned back here, and today it was finally showing strong signs of life when I came home from work. Reculturing yeast from bottle-conditioned beers can take a few days, but I suspect that this one sprung into action today because New York warmed up again - Belgian yeasts love those over-80 temps!
So how does one reculture yeast from a bottle of beer, anyway? First and foremost, the bottle must contain yeast. Your standard Coors Light won't cut it. Secondly, if you plan on brewing with the yeast, you probably want to make sure the yeast resting at the bottom of the bottle is the same strain used for brewing - some brewers will filter their beer and bottle-condition with another strain to protect their proprietary yeasts from thieving homebrewers and other criminal types.
Confident you've got the correct yeast? Then - aside from drinking 80% of the beer, leaving the yeast and some beer in the bottle - it's just a scaled-down version of the brew process. Boil 8oz of water, add half a cup of wheat DME and two hop pellets, and cool this mixture to below 80F. Sanitize a stopper, airlock, and the mouth of the yeast-containing bottle, and pour in the cooled mixture. Then keep it at room temperature until the yeast awakens from dormancy. Voila! Ready to pitch, or return to fridge for later use.