Can I make my own beer yeast?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Absolutely! Making your own brewer’s yeast for beer brewing is not only possible, but it can also be a fun and rewarding process. While it may seem daunting at first, with a little patience and the right ingredients, you can successfully grow your own yeast and use it to brew delicious beer.

To start, you’ll need to create a wort, which is essentially the liquid mixture of malted and cracked grains, boiled, steeped, strained, and cooled. You can follow your usual beer recipe for this step, but keep in mind that you’ll only need about 1 gallon of wort to grow the yeast.

Once your wort is prepared, it’s time to pitch a small amount of yeast to initiate fermentation. It’s important to use a small amount of yeast initially so as not to stress it out. You can use store-bought brewer’s yeast for this step, or if you prefer, you can harvest yeast from a previous batch of beer. If using store-bought yeast, follow the recommended pitching rate on the package.

After pitching the yeast, cover the fermentation vessel with an airlock or a sanitized piece of aluminum foil to allow carbon dioxide to escape while preventing any contaminants from entering. Place the vessel in a cool and dark location, ideally around 65-75°F (18-24°C), as this is the optimal temperature range for yeast growth.

Over the next few days, you’ll notice signs of fermentation, such as bubbling and the formation of a krausen (foam on top of the wort). This indicates that the yeast is actively multiplying and consuming the sugars in the wort. During this time, it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature and avoid any unnecessary agitation or movement of the vessel.

After a week or so, you should have a healthy yeast culture ready for use. At this point, you can either harvest the yeast directly from the fermentation vessel or transfer the beer to another vessel while leaving behind the yeast sediment (trub) at the bottom. Harvesting yeast can be done by carefully siphoning off the clear beer on top, being cautious not to disturb the sediment, and then collecting the yeast slurry at the bottom.

Once you have the yeast slurry, transfer it to a sterilized container and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it for your next batch of beer. It’s important to note that homemade yeast may not have the same predictable characteristics as commercially available strains, so experimentation and adjustments to your brewing process may be needed.

Making your own brewer’s yeast for beer brewing is a feasible and enjoyable endeavor. By following the steps outlined above, you can grow your own yeast culture and use it to create unique and personalized beers. Happy brewing!