Yeast Wrangling and What’s Next

I don’t know about you but this long weekend has been a godsend. I was able to get a few extra days off from work for my best friend’s wedding; some friends were visiting from Baltimore; I’ve had time to get over my nasty eye  infection; and I still have another full day between me and work. That’s pretty solid.

What I haven’t had time for is brewing. And that’s a real shame, not just because I love to brew but because I got my grubby little mitts on a HUGE chest freezer. 15.1 cu feet. It’s a little beat up but it should more than serve my purposes as a fermentation chamber (and potentially later as a keezer when I start kegging my beers). I bought a Ranco dual-stage temperature controller yesterday, so it should be here for next weekend, which is when I’m planning my next brew session.

I had initially planned to do a pumpkin beer, but I’m starting to rethink that. Here’s why: I think I’ve become a little overly ambitious with the projects I’ve taken on. I jumped into all-grain from batch #2 without any time to dial in my process. So I’m thinking of going back and doing some simpler brews. I had come up with the idea to do a series of SMaSH (single malt, single hop) pale ales using Marris Otter. I’m hoping that simplifying my recipe will give the opportunity to focus on my process and get everything dialed in. Plus, it gives me an excuse to post this logo I drew:

Maris Smash Logo white bg


I’ve been questioning my yeast wrangling (my catch-all term for harvesting and creating starters), as well as my fermentation in general. I’m hoping the new chest freezer will give me the chance to get the fermentation down, and this batch will allow me to practice my yeast wrangling. I have a vial of Yeast Geek 001 Green Mountain Ale – aka “Conan,” the yeast in Heady Topper – that I want to use ASAP and harvest from.

My hope is that if I can get that going, I’ll have an excellent “house yeast” to play around with for future brews. To get myself headed in the right direction (until my temp. controller gets here and I begin brewing again, in earnest) I’ve been rewatching a bunch of YouTube videos. I’ve copied them here, if you’re interested. I definitely think they’re worth the watch for homebrewers.




    1. I’ve heard than Jon has been trying to reduce the amount of yeast remaining in the can so it may become harder and harder to harvest. My vial has been sitting in the fridge for a few months, so I’m going to step it up with a starter.


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