a consolidation of an email conversation I had with Mr Cone

Information from the Guru

here is a recent email conversation with the vinegar guru, Mr Cone, about how to procreate your own yeast:


Mr Cone


Chances are your current batch has some foreign organisms in it that you would be transferring.  It would be better to start fresh with an inoculum from the slant, using a sterile swab or a sterile wire loop (Heat over a flame then cool to room temperature).

Sterilize a small flask or jar, that has an aluminum foil cover, by filling with boiling water and holt for several minutes.

Start with 100ml. slightly diluted grape concentrate with about 2% malt extract. (2 parts concentrate and 1 part water). Bring to a boil. Cool to room temperature.

Inoculate using sterile swab or wire loop.

Keep aluminum foil cover tightly secured.

Hold at room temperature 65 – 80F.

Shake briefly daily for several days.

Look for bubbling activity.

I have no idea as to how rapid the yeast will grow. You will have to observe.

Allow to settle and note if there is an appreciable amount of yeast settled.

Refrigerate as close to 32F as possible with out freezing.

Hold  3 – 4 months.

Decant most of the liquid. Yeast do not like to live in their waste products.

Add 100 ml of sterile fresh dilute grape juice + 2% malt extract.

Incubate and handle as above.

Preserve the original slant by sealing the cap or cover with wax to prevent drying out. Hold as close to 32F as possible. You now have two sources to start from next year.

I am knowledgeable about  pure micro-organism preservation in a well equipped laboratory, but have little experience outside a laboratory.

Please let me know how each step turns out


From: Doug Parent [mailto:dparent@echocomm.com]
I have had it for about 3 weeks now and it has not been contaminated.  It has been sitting at room temperature (65-70) in my wine making room.  I just happened to look at it this morning and it appears that there has been some yeast growth on the agar since I did the original transfer.  The original transfer was done with a sterile swab provided by the supplier.

—– Original Message —–

From: Cone Clayton

Subject: RE: Question about yeast for you



Do you have the original slant test tube that has not been contaminated? If so, how long have you had it and at what temperature? How did you transfer the yeast to the first build up 400 ml. bottle?



From: Doug Parent
To: Cone Clayton
Subject: Re: Question about yeast for you

I use Zygosaccharomyces Bailli on a slant test tube from Vinquiry.

I actually have a workshop room in a new garage that I just built, very clean with hot/cold running water with laminate and stainless steel countertops to allow for easy sanitation.  I have the basic winemaking equipment and supplies: ph meter, thermometer, saccharometer, potassium metabisulfite, beer keg cleaner (soda ash).  I don’t have any test tubes, agar, or other supplies, but I can easily get them from a supply shop and am willing to do so.  I have two 400 ml bottles that came from vinquiry originally filled with grape juice for the initial inoculation and build up of the zygosac.

I was sorta hoping there was a way I could culture my own yeast by adding 100 ml of my current batch of fermenting must into two bottles and refrigerating them.  Adding some sugar or sterilized grape juice every few months to encourage growth and replace dead yeast and use that as my culture for the following year – repeating every year for a few years then start all over with a new slant from Vinquiry just to make sure I get a completely sterile batch every once in a while.

The internet had some information on culturing your own yeast, mostly from home beermakers.  I pasted some of the better info on my blog at www.dougparent.com/balsamicblog/blog.

I have condensed all of your advice from your emails into one document, which is attached if you would like to review for the protocol you suggested.

I pretty much follow all your suggestions and only deviate if the vinegar doesn’t cooperate.  The first year I added the balsamic to the barrel in increments to avoid a spoilage problem.  It took pretty much the entire year before the 3.5 gallons was fully added to the first barrel.  After another year there is no sign of a mother on top.  Im not sure what this means, unless the mother is drifting around at the bottom instead of on top like I have normally seen in red wine vinegar or if for some reason balsamic doesn’t produce a gelatinous matrix.  It tastes acidic and sweet, so I assume something has happened.

Thanks again.

—– Original Message —–

From: Cone Clayton

To: Doug Parent

Subject: RE: Question about yeast for you



I am glad to hear from you again and that you are having some success with my suggestions. I have lost my files on you, would you please send me the protocol that I suggested  and you probably modified,  to refresh my memory.

What form do you receive the zygosaccharomyces: on a slant test tube or in a liquid?

What kind of laboratory equipment do you have for sterile media preparation?



From: Doug Parent [mailto:dparent@echocomm.com]
To: Cone Clayton
Subject: Question about yeast for you

Hi Clayton,

You may remember me asking you questions a year or so ago about making balsamic vinegar.  I have been doing it for two seasons now and things are actually running along pretty well.  For all the mystery and lack of information, it seems I have figured most of it out.  Thank you very much for helping me along the way – Im not sure I could have gotten to where I am if it weren’t for your advice.

I have another question I was wondering if you could help me with.  I have been buying Zygosaccharomyces yeast slants from Vinquiry.  The results are good, but the yeast is expensive.  Do you know of any information that could help me propogate my own yeast from year to year?  Is it possible to save some yeast from the current year to be used the following year?  Any help is much appreciated.

Doug Parent