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Subject: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Hmelj
Jul 24th, 2012
5:37 pm
I am thinking about this. When my older relative makes homemade Cider (Tolkovec) he said that he dosen't add any yeast at all. About wine i also heard from some folks that often they don't add yeast. Same is for mead. Since those drinks apparently can successfully ferment without yeast do you think you could do this with beer too?

(Maybe if i would make honey beer by adding little honey and no yeast at all i could make successful fermentation?)
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Hmelj
Jul 24th, 2012
5:42 pm
I just remembered about Lambic aren't they without yeast?
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: DConn
Jul 24th, 2012
6:05 pm
Both apples and grapes have wild yeast on their skins, so although he isn't adding yeast, technically he is using yeast. Beer can be fermented by wild yeasts or bacteria, but in virtually every one of those cases you'll end up with a sour beer. A very tasty, popular thing, but not what a lot of people think of as beer.
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Hopper5000
Jul 24th, 2012
6:16 pm
2nd on dconn
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Hmelj
Jul 24th, 2012
6:24 pm
Yes true they have wild yeast but i just say no yeast in a way as that brewer dosen't add "human made" yeast. I realy wonder how people made yeast lets say in medieval ages, etc. For example i read that Bavarian Purity Law doesn't mention yeast at all. Is there any old record of making yeast?
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: brewboy_BB
Jul 24th, 2012
6:26 pm
You can make beer with wild yeast and it was done that way for many years, but there's a very good reason why new strains were developed. It wasn't very good beer.
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Hmelj
Jul 24th, 2012
6:30 pm
I never tried Lambic myself is it bad?
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: DConn
Jul 24th, 2012
6:45 pm
No, it's not bad, but it can be an acquired taste. Yeast isn't really human made...it occurs naturally but certain strains have been isolated and kept when it was decided that they made good beer. There is no mention of yeast in thr R'gebot because it was written in the 1400s and Pasteur didn't "discover" yeast until the mid 1800s. There is a story that beer in the "olden days" was stirred with a stick that was passed reom one family member to another. Since the yeast was impregnated into the stick that stirred the beer, the yeast was passed on also. No one knows if it's true, but it's certainly possible and makes a great story
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Hmelj
Jul 24th, 2012
6:52 pm
DConn thanks. Yeah anyway about that story of sticks i heard it to. As i understood it isn't story but real thing. According to Michael Jackson they still use them in Norway;

Quote;

"The Norwegian brewers learnt that, if they kept the stick they had stirred their previous brew with, it would help to start the next fermentation. Coated with sticky residue, the "magic sticks" harboured millions of living yeast cells. Later called "yeast logs," some have been kept as family heirlooms."

Source;

http://www.beerhunter.com/documents/19133-000103.html


So let me ask do i get it right. Before Pasteur they made either sour lambic style beers or via those sticks some more "refined" styles.
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: DConn
Jul 24th, 2012
7:06 pm
I don't think the Norwegian reference is current.

I don't know whether or not it was sticks before Pasteur, but they likely reused some yeast sludge from batch to batch, or the yeast was imbedded into fermenters that got reused. I've heard both theories. I do think that since no one really knew about sanitation that sour beers were pretty common.
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Hmelj
Jul 24th, 2012
7:15 pm
I see. So that Norway thing is made up? This is what i found on the net. Maybe it was also additionaly like this;


"It is believed that these early fermentation systems for alcohol production and bread making were formed by natural microbial contaminants of flour, other milled grains and from fruit or other juices containing sugar. Such microbial flora would have included wild yeasts and lactic acid bacteria that are found associated with cultivated grains and fruits. Leaven, referred to in the Bible, was a soft dough-like medium. A small portion of this dough was used to start or leaven each new bread dough.

Over the course of time, the use of these starter cultures helped to select for improved yeasts by saving a “good” batch of wine, beer or dough for inoculating the next batch. For hundreds of years, it was traditional for bakers to obtain the yeast to leaven their bread as by-products of brewing and wine making. As a result, these early bakers have also contributed to the selection of these important industrial microorganisms."
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: brewboy_BB
Jul 24th, 2012
7:27 pm
Denny, did you use sticks before Pasteur?
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Langeneckert
Jul 24th, 2012
9:48 pm
I would caution you if you considering adding just Honey to your beer to get a wild fermentation. Most beer you buy at the store is pasturized so it will be clean and free of wild yeast. You would probably have to get honey from a beekeeper that is very fresh to achieve that goal. Even then, mead yeast is very different than brewers yeast.
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: Hmelj
Jul 25th, 2012
11:21 am
Langeneckert i am beekeeper. Not professional but for hobby but anyway i was more theoretical. I don't think i will try this at least not yet.
Subject: Re: Could beer ferment without yeast?
Author: spargebag
Jul 26th, 2012
12:44 am
The belgian lambics are fermented downwind of cherry orchards which supply wild yeasts. Ive heard of successful spontaneous fermentations in this country. I love lambics like girardin and cantillion but many who love good beer say they taste like vinegar spiked w horse urine. To me they taste like champagne only better. When pasteur beer was first introduced in belgium it was expensive but lambics were considered low brow swill. Now I gotta drive to philly and pay $13 a bottle.

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