How to Make a Yeast Culture

Written by elisabeth johnson
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How to Make a Yeast Culture
Attention to detail during the creation of a yeast culture ensures a solid start for home brewers. (NA/ Images)

Creating a good yeast culture is essential in the production of homebrewed beer, mead or wine. There are numerous commercially available starter kits, but home culturing will save you money. The time invested in creating proper yeast cultures will reward you with ample starters for home brewing.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 30 flat-bottomed glass vials with a 50ml capacity
  • Shallow heat-resistant dish
  • Kitchen scale
  • Large pot
  • Needle or paper clip
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Gelatin
  • Dried malt extract
  • Ethyl alcohol

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  1. 1

    Boil 1 cup of water. Remove the water from the heat and stir in 15 grams of malt extract. Boil for 10 minutes. The boiled water and malt extract mixture is called "wort."

  2. 2

    Stir one packet of gelatin into the wort and stir until it is dissolved. Fill each vial one-fourth full of the wort/gelatin mixture.

  3. 3

    Place the heat-resistant dish in the large pot and fill the pot with enough water to come halfway up your dish. Stand the vials in the dish, add the caps and bring the water to a boil for 15 minutes. This step ensures the vials and culture mixture are sterilised.

  4. 4

    Turn the heat off and let the vials cool until you can safely handle them.

  5. 5

    Attach the caps. Set the vials at a 45-degree angle and let them cool for 24 hours. The tilted vials are called "slants."

  6. 6

    Prepare the brewer's yeast as directed on the package.

  7. 7

    Open the yeast packet halfway so the opening faces the ceiling. Sterilise the needle or paper clip by wiping it with a paper towel soaked in the alcohol. Open the slants.

  8. 8

    Dip the needle or paper clip into the yeast to coat the tip. Insert the needle or paper clip into the yeast and poke it into the gelatin mixture several times, being careful not to touch the side of the tube. Repeat this process for each vial.

  9. 9

    Recap each vial and store them all at room temperature for a week.

  10. 10

    Store the yeast culture in a refrigerator after the week's sitting period is complete.

Tips and warnings

  • If the caps start too push out during the week's resting period, simply bleed out some of the built-up gas and recap.
  • Do not skip any of the sterilisation steps. A sterile environment is essential for proper yeast culture development.

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