Homebrewing Blog and Resource

Mike holding up a glass of Sabro Hops White Ale Fermented With Hoegaarden Yeast

Another Year of Using Hoegaarden Yeast

So last year, as a part of my homebrewing activities while in lockdown, I determined that one can harvest the yeast from bottles of Hoegaarden and brew a pretty great clone with that harvested yeast. So again, for the record:

Question: Can you harvest the yeast from the dregs of Hoegaarden bottles?
Answer: Yes, you can.

Question: Is it the same yeast they ferment the beer with?
Answer: Yes, it is.

Question: Can you capture some of the yeast after you ferment with it, save it in your fridge for a year, and then use it again after resuscitating with a proper starter?
Answer: Yes, I’ve done it.

Check out this video where I brew a new “Belgian” white ale using the Hoegaarden yeast I harvested a year ago and with a mighty late addition charge of Sabro hops.

Wide Open Wheat Recipe

I called this beer my Wide Open Wheat. I have no idea why. It’s what I wrote down in my li’l notebook at the top of the page. Maybe I was thinking about lockdown restrictions being lifted and being able to share this beer with many people. Who knows (and frankly, who cares). Here’s the recipe:

50% German Pilsner Malt (I used 5 pounds/2.3 kg)
50% Flaked Wheat (I used 5 pounds/2.3 kg)
Rice Hulls (1 pound/.45 kg) – just to ensure I didn’t have a stuck sparge
1 ounces (28 grams) of Hallertau hops 4.0% AA – added with 60 minutes left to go in the boil
2 ounces (56 grams) of LupoMax Sabro hops 19.0% AA – added at flameout
2 liter starter of Hoegaarden yeast harvested from last year’s clone beer

Mashed grains for 60 minutes at 150°F or 66°C with tap water treated with Campden tablet. Collected 6.5 gallons of wort for boil. Added Hallertau hops and boiled for 60 minutes. Turned off burner and added Sabro hops. Chilled to 68°F or 20°C. Fermented at that temperature for 10 days. Kegged and carbonated.

Sabro Hops In a Belgian White Ale?

So how did it taste? I thought it came out great. The beer has an extremely light, soft body and a sense of creaminess from the yeast strain. The flavor is everything you expect from Sabro hops – lime, coconut, tropical fruit. It’s like a beach vacation in a beer pint glass. Mike thought the hops played well in this format too.

So give it a try – it’s a great beer for summer!



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  1. Andrew Halliday

    I adore Hoegaarden, it’s my favourite beer by a long shot. So when I read your article debunking many of the myths of probable bottle pasteurisation, I was beyond thrilled!

    I immediately bought some Hoegaarden and saved the dregs to put into a starter on a stir plate in my temperature controlled mini-fridge.

    I was however less enthusiastic when it didn’t work. I had no reaction whatsoever. So now I’m left wondering if:
    – my Hoegaarden wasn’t ‘fresh’ enough
    – there is a difference in the ultimate supplier of our beers
    – there is legitimacy to the idea that the yeast is usually pasteurised, but you may have been lucky to get a failed set or some similar anomaly

    Note I consider those points to be in order of probability – I’m certainly not blaming you for my failure, just looking for an answer!

    Next up I’ll speak to the store and see if I can get the freshest bottles as soon as they come in, but other than that – I’m a little lost! Any hints would be greatly appreciated, but understand you got yours easily so may not have much else to add.

    I’d love a sample if you could mail it! 😛

  2. Hello Andrew – I am bummed out that the results of your ‘dregs revival’ didn’t match mine. I do live in the States so there is a possibility for a difference in packaging based on region. Shipping a bottle of the latest beer fermented with this yeast to AU may be cost prohibitive, so let’s start with some other questions. What temperature did you have your mini-fridge set to? How much volume did you use from the Hoegaarden beer? For my starter, for the last three bottles of the six-pack that I bought, I was sacrificing flavor in my glass to get more yeast in my starter. I was pouring very gently for myself and swirling and pouring hard into the starter. Try again with the fresher bottles and try to get more yeast into your starter.

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