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I am an archivist and historian who specializes in the American Distilling Industry. I am curious if anyone here has tried to cature their local wild yeast to use in distillation.

Mike Veach

Hi Mike, this is developing into an interesting thread, I'm afraid people will miss it so I moved it to the technique section of the forums here ...


and welcome!

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Your method for capturing yeast sounds very similar to a circa 1820 method described in a diary at the Filson. I am copying a transcript I made from the diary here for your enjoyment. I hope it is usefull to you.

Transcript from Taylor Diary circa 1820 - Filson Historical Society

Distillery - 2 stills - one One of 110 gallons the other 70 gallons _____.

The size of the still House Twenty four feet by thirty. Six feet pitch from the floor of the tubs to the loft.

For a distillery of this kind it will require Eighteen Tubbs. One Doubling Cask 20 Gallons and four Singling Cask to contain 15 Gallons each a Cask to hold Singling with an open end to hold 70 Gallons. The Still Tubs for mashing out (aught?) to be low and it is most convenient to mash in another cool somart (somewhat?) in one two gallon piggins - one spouse buckett to hold four gallons one Yeast cann to hold two Gallons a mash stick.

The art of making whiskey in the first Place the Distiller must be an Industrous man a Cleanly Sober watchfull man _____.

To Prepare the Yeast take two Eggs which you are to break up in three pints of Tolerable warm water with a spoon full of salt Then Thicken it with Rye Mealover shorts so as it wont turn set it where it will keep about milk warm it will work in about Twenty four Hours this Yeast will do to make Bread with but for Distillery after your Water in the Stills Boils say you want to mash four tubbs put one pint of yeast to each after your Tubbs are Cooler so as to be able to bear your hand in then the yeast must be put in, it is a fact that the warmer you put in your Yeast the sooner your Beer will be ready for Stilling.

Mash one Bushel and a half in each Tubb if you have Rye to mix put corn in first & twenty Bushel of Corn make use of 24 Gallons of Scalding waterlet it stand covered up an hour then put in the malt after pouring in a small quantity of warm water from the Flakestand on the top of the crust let it stand so for 20 minutes then stir it up and put in the rye meal let it stand then about one hour before you begin to stir then stir as much as possible and when you get it cool enough to bare your hand put in the yeast and in four days the beer will be ready

Mike Veach

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