Thursday, August 15, 2013

Harvesting Conan yeast

Conan is a BEAST!!! I'm not talking about either of these guys either.

I'm talking about the proprietary yeast strain from The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury, VT.

Heady Topper from The Alchemist
According to owner and brewmaster John Kimmich, “The heart of the beer is my private strain of Conan ale yeast. It produces very distinct apricot and tropical fruit esters, but you have to know how to handle it, how to draw the character out.” (From -read if never heard of Heady Topper)

Harvesting Conan from 2x cans

To harvest the yeast,  Lukas and I started off with two cans of Heady Topper and pour about 3/4 of each into a glass for our consumption. We left the last 1/4 of dregs in the bottom of the can to allow it to raise to room temperature and "wake up" the sleeping monster, Conan! While enjoying our glasses of Heady, Lukas and I proceeded to make a low gravity starter. We ended up with about 300 ml of 1.016 wort. When everything was cleaned, sterilized, and at room temperature, we swirled both cans of Heady to maximize the amount of yeast in suspension, and dumped them into the jar containing the starter. After about 36 hrs, a nice layer of yeast was forming on the bottom.

Four days later we made another starter but we stepped up the gravity a little. The second step up we did was 500 ml of 1.035 wort. After 24 hrs, there was a krausen and nice yeast cake on the bottom or the jar.

We let that sit for 5 days to let Conan work it's magic.  After 5 days, Adam, Lukas, and I made the final jump up to 1.6 L of 1.040 wort on the stir plate. Less than 12 hours later, Conan was in Beast mode.

Conan in Beast mode!

Video update from Lukas:

Keep an eye out for more to come.  We will be brewing up a Heady Topper clone this weekend!  Recipe, brew day pics, maybe some videos.  There will definitely be some drinking of the homebrew and probably keg up a little sumpin' sumpin' that Fluke Brew crew concocted a few weeks ago! 


Fluke Brew Crew