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stagnant waters
02-24-2013, 07:27 PM
I'm a sourdough baker and new to mead making, so take this question with a grain of salt, but one of the things that I haven't come across is culturing yeasts for a particular type of honey; all the blogs that I've encountered use a new commercial strain of yeast for the mead that they like. Is there any reason not to make a starter of lalvin d47, for example, and feed it the particular honey and nutrients you have available over the course of a few weeks so that you have a strain acclimated to what your going to ferment? Has anyone done this or is it a waste of time?

akueck
02-24-2013, 07:43 PM
You can make a starter, which is called the same thing for bread, beer, and mead. Typically this isn't necessary because the cell counts in the dry yeast packets are high enough to inoculate an entire batch without needing to grow the culture first. If you need more yeast (e.g. you have a very large batch), typically you just buy more packets. (Dry yeast is pretty cheap.) Starters are often used when using the "liquid" cultures from Wyeast or Whitelabs, as the cell counts there are much lower (up to about a factor of 4 lower than the dry packs). Again, you can just buy more packs but the liquid ones are 2-3 times as expensive.

YogiBearMead726
02-24-2013, 09:29 PM
Akueck is right on about not really needing to make a starter for a batch.

Reading the OP though, I am wondering if the intent is to culture a commercial strain into something you'd use for a specific recipe, not necessarily to culture the yeast to save money?

Using the hypothetical in the OP, using D-47 to get a starter going, then feed it only orange blossom honey in the hopes of developing a unique mutation of D-47 that would really bring out the qualities of that particular varietal which could then be used for future batches of orange blossom based mead. Was this more what you had in mind, stagnant? If so, it's not inconceivable, but the likelihood of developing a mutation that is worthwhile is slim. Not impossible, but slim. :)

Edit: Oh, and welcome to GotMead! ;D

stagnant waters
02-24-2013, 10:29 PM
You got it Yogi. With sourdough starters you can take a whole wheat starter feed it rye flour etc... once a day and in a couple of weeks you'll have a yeast that's pretty adept at rising rye. Dry strains of wine yeast are so cheap money isn't the issue, it was just more of a curiosity of mine than anything else. Thanks!

Bob1016
02-24-2013, 10:50 PM
I would love to get my own strain! Keep it going with honey and decreasing nutrient levels as to make it suited for low nutrient musts. Then finally, after a few months (and hundreds of generations), plating a few samples to isolated a desirable strain. Growing it to a few million CFU's, freezing it with glycerol, and having it permanently on hand for meads.
But I'm poor, and have a kid on the way (hence the being poor, everything is going to it!), so such things will have to wait.

P.S. welcome to GotMead, before you run out of money completely, I will suggest getting Patron membership. ;D

Chevette Girl
02-25-2013, 08:19 AM
P.S. welcome to GotMead, before you run out of money completely, I will suggest getting Patron membership. ;D

;D Some welcome, Bob!

Stagnant Waters, we sometimes do acclimated starters for a high gravity must or for restarting one that's already got alcohol in it, start by rehydrating in water as per packet directions, then add small amounts of the must you're eventually going to pitch it into to double the volume every couple of hours, that way you slowly acclimatize the yeast to the environment you're going to be chucking them into... although this is more getting the existing culture used to a new environment rather than hoping for a favourable mutation...

fatbloke
02-25-2013, 10:09 AM
All the commercial strains were regional wild strains once. It's just that the yeast producers have isolated them so we can just chuck some money at a home brew shop and (for example) don't have to spend a month in a vineyard in Montpellier during grape harvesting, in the hope of getting a natural sample of K1v1116......

Hence little is to be gained trying to keep a colony running for any length of time and not get a mutation.

Sourdough starters are designed to produce CO2 to raise bread wine yeast will do that too but its selected for producing alcohol with desirable flavour characteristics......

smertz001
02-25-2013, 10:41 AM
This brings back one of my original thoughts of, starting a mead using a sour dough starter. I have no idea how one would go about cleaning up the starter so that it could be used, without the flour parts, etc.

But whilst I was making my first couple batches of mead, my sour dough was sitting beside them and I thought "Hrm, I wonder..."

Marshmallow Blue
02-25-2013, 12:15 PM
Has anyone experimented with capturing local wild yeast and using it for mead. I know its mostly unpredictable about what you'll get. Just wondering if anyone has played around with it.

Ive seen a few threads on other forums about how to capture wild yeast, but nothing really on anyone pitching them into mead.

YogiBearMead726
02-25-2013, 02:08 PM
Has anyone experimented with capturing local wild yeast and using it for mead. I know its mostly unpredictable about what you'll get. Just wondering if anyone has played around with it.

Ive seen a few threads on other forums about how to capture wild yeast, but nothing really on anyone pitching them into mead.

There have been a few brewlogs of people trying to use wild yeast, IIRC. Play around with the search feature, and I'm sure you'll come across at least one.

stagnant waters
02-27-2013, 11:25 AM
@smertz001- Yeah, that's pretty much the thought I was having, too. The problem I see with it is that there's a lot of lactobacillus in sourdough. I've made ginger ale with just sugar and fresh ginger as a starter and that does produce a fair amount of alcohol after a while. Does seem like a dodgy proposition, though.

Loadnabox
02-27-2013, 09:44 PM
Has anyone experimented with capturing local wild yeast and using it for mead. I know its mostly unpredictable about what you'll get. Just wondering if anyone has played around with it.

Ive seen a few threads on other forums about how to capture wild yeast, but nothing really on anyone pitching them into mead.


Typically this is known as a lambic, this search term should help narrow your results.

kudapucat
02-27-2013, 09:59 PM
Typically this is known as a lambic, this search term should help narrow your results.

Also search for pLambic (pseudo-lambic) I think you have to be physically in Belgium to make true Lambic...

Marshmallow Blue
02-27-2013, 10:10 PM
Thanks for the tips folks. Search commence!