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Harvesting very old yeast from a dried wine krausen!

Started by Keg, May 01, 2020, 03:26:22 PM

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Hi all,

I hope you're all well.  A question here for any yeast experts.  Is it possible to collect viable yeast from the inside of carboy used to make country wine (possibly from the remnants of a krausen)?

In Barbara's home village in the Bavarian countryside, someone is after finding 1500L of wine/vinegar in a cellar that was possibly forgotten about for generations.  The theory is that this was country wine from maybe 100 years ago or more and that at the time, it was quite common in this village to make country wine. For whatever reason, the liquid got poured and we found out about someone trying to get rid of the glass carboys (see pictures).

We're wondering about the real history that is still contained in these carboys and if it's possible to still harvest some dried yeast from the empty carboys and recreate the old fruit wine!  We have a few of the carboys secured, emptied but still uncleaned!  The yeast mother appears to be still there in some, it appears some were already vinegar.

Any thoughts welcome.

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By the way, the 3 jars have been scraped from one of the carboys, we think the right is cream of tartar, middle is from dried krausen, and left is remaining liquid from a carboy.

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I would suggest to make a starter form either diluted grape juice or diluted apple juice at an OG of about 1.040

Take about 300 mL of starter in a sterile flask ( or jam jar) add a scrape of the yeast or whatever else you have and leave in warm place for a few days. No need for air lock (as not making enough gas to bubble). Stir/shake gently every day. If you see any activity like bubbles or krausen, keep going for about 4 days.

Then smell and or taste the wort! If its non acidic and sweet (but not in a sugary sense, as in not gone off) then you have resurected it. At this stage check the FG - it should have dropped 20 points or so.

If all is well, make up a 1 litre starter (as above) and re-pitch the yeast slurry (pour off the old starter wort) and grow some more. The 1L pitch shoyuld after a few days be good for 20L or so.

HTH: Will

Stay Safe and keep drinking HB
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Thanks for the advice, I'll pass it on and hopefully we can resurrect some historical yeast!

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