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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: dzlater on November 06, 2009, 11:49:18 AM

Title: reusing yeast question
Post by: dzlater on November 06, 2009, 11:49:18 AM
I have a beer ready to keg and I am brewing a new batch either Sunday or Saturday night.
I know people pitch right on top of the old yeast cake but I just don't like the idea of putting a fresh batch of beer
into a crusty carboy. I read some things about rinsing yeast and am thinking of giving it a try.
My plan was to
Boil a some water, with a jar in the water to sanitize it.
chill the water in the jar
pour water onto yeast cake.
transfer back to jar
and let it settle out.
If I do this do I need to make a starter or will there be enough yeast in suspension?
I also am curious if this would lead to over or under pitching.
I am brewing an average gravity stout.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: gail on November 06, 2009, 12:02:51 PM
Check out the thread about saving your yeast in ZipLock baggies which are sanitized from the factory (Crispy started the thread).  No mason jars, no boiling, really easy.  Plus, your first beer was then your "starter" so likely you'll have plenty of yeast for repitching (unless you're doing an absolute monster beer).  For an average gravity stout, no problem.  I've never rinsed my yeast and have reused it 3-4 times with no detectable off flavors this way.  I've also tried fermenting right on the old yeast (in the crusty carboy) and I wasn't quite as happy with the results.  There are as many ways to brew as there are brewers--isn't this a great hobby?
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: majorvices on November 06, 2009, 02:33:38 PM
I'm not a huge fan of pitching directly on a yeast cake for a number of reasons, one being the number of dead cells that you carry over that could cause head retention problems. Except in the case of extremely high gravity beers it is best to pitch only a part of the slurry. See the pitching cal at www.mrmalty.com to get an idea how much yeast you need.

The ziplock baggie is a great idea - however the mason jar will give you a measurement in millimeters or cups so that you can more accurately measure the slurry.

I used to use your method of boiling water in the jar to sanitize and loosen the yeast. However now I just sanitize the jar with star san and leave enough beer in the bottom of the fermenter to swirl the yeast and dump it into the jar.

You will not need to make a starter if the yeast is fresh.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: budweiser on November 06, 2009, 03:18:40 PM
Just a thought....why not pitch it right on top of that cake?

Isn't there still beer in the fermenter protecting the cake? Isn't the carboy still sanitary inside?

It is an ugly idea to wrap your head around but it works!

I mean if you've got a Pliny Clone in there or something or a 12% BW maybe not...but if we are talking a reasonable ale you might give it a try. Back when I was brewing at a larger facility with walk in fridges we would save the carboy's with a few inches of beer in them and then drain...swirl and re-pitch all the time. Made some good batches that way.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: majorvices on November 06, 2009, 03:23:45 PM
I've had inconsistent results from going directly on a yeast cake. YMMV.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: matthew on November 06, 2009, 03:28:09 PM
You can also, possibly, harvest enough yeast to split it up for more than one batch. I brew small
batches and usealy get enough yeast for 2 or 3 batches without having to make a starter. If you
are making starters then you can spit th yeast harvested into several small containers for a few
batches. It might take some planning and maybe some tinkering but this is something that works
for me. Good luck!
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: dzlater on November 06, 2009, 05:57:05 PM
I'm not a huge fan of pitching directly on a yeast cake for a number of reasons, one being the number of dead cells that you carry over that could cause head retention problems. Except in the case of extremely high gravity beers it is best to pitch only a part of the slurry. See the pitching cal at www.mrmalty.com to get an idea how much yeast you need.

The ziplock baggie is a great idea - however the mason jar will give you a measurement in millimeters or cups so that you can more accurately measure the slurry.

I used to use your method of boiling water in the jar to sanitize and loosen the yeast. However now I just sanitize the jar with star san and leave enough beer in the bottom of the fermenter to swirl the yeast and dump it into the jar.

You will not need to make a starter if the yeast is fresh.
   

So I can rack the beer to the keg.
Swirl up the remaing beer & yeast cake
pour that into a zip lock bag or sanitized jar
but that in the fridge
and then pitch that into the new batch without making a starter?
I wonder about over / underpitching?
How do I know how much yeast is in there?
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: gail on November 06, 2009, 06:10:03 PM
Make sure to sanitize the opening of the carboy before you dump the yeast...vodka works well...
If you can measure (I guesstimate) the volume, check out Jamil's site Mr. Malty.com for a really easy pitching calculator where you can see how much volume of slurry you need for pitching into wort at a particular starting gravity.
I have heard from really fantastic brewers that it's very, very hard for homebrewers to overpitch but I'm definitely going to leave that other folks to prove or disprove.
Good luck,
Gail
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: denny on November 06, 2009, 06:47:19 PM
I have to admit that I don't sanitize the edge of my fermenters (I use buckets, not carboys) before dumping the slurry out of them for storage.  I figure they were sanitized when the wort went in and have been sealed ever since.  No problems doing it that way.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: dzlater on November 06, 2009, 08:56:28 PM
Mr Malty tells me to use
377 ml. of slurry with the default settings
I have ziplocs with a volume of 940 ml
so I could just fill up a bag bween one half and one  third of the way and pitch it?
In the carboy is the trub on the bottom and the yeast on top of that or the other way?
Should I swirl up the top layer and try and avoid the bottom layer?
Maybe I should just buy a vial and make a starter.
This is stressing me out too much.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: gail on November 06, 2009, 10:07:02 PM
Relax, have a homebrew...don't stress...you're making a non-monster beer, right?  Just dump the yeast from the bottom of your carboy into the brand new zip lock (sanitize your carboy mouth if you used a stopper; if you used a bucket or a carboy cap, you probably don't have to sanitize the opening then).  I double bag my yeast and I don't use the baggies with the zip tab plastic thingy.  I use regular new zip lock freezer bags.  When you get ready to pitch it, just dump it into your wort, aerate and watch it go.  I've never had a problem underpitching or overpitching when using this method into a beer that's under 1.080.  I don't separate the trub.  I DO, however, make sure that the original beer I made using the yeast is clean and has no off flavors.  I would be more cautious about trub if I was making a very delicate light lager and would worry more about the yeast counts if I was making a monster beer.
However, using your findings from Mr Malty, I'd say that a third to a half-full baggie would be right on the money.
I know great brewers who use this same technique with excellent results.
Try it and let everyone here know how the brew turns out.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: slimsparty on November 06, 2009, 10:20:56 PM
I have been using quart glas bottles and foil or growlers.  I usually build a starter since it is 4-6 weeks between pitches.

But definately a great way to get savings, strong starts and keep yeast you like.  I know I will try to have WY3864 in my fridge forever, I love that stuff.

Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: dzlater on November 06, 2009, 11:07:02 PM

Thanks for all the help i never would have thought of the zip locs
I'm going to give it a shot ;D
But I am going to get a packet of dry yeast in case I wimp out or some thing goes wrong
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: majorvices on November 06, 2009, 11:13:54 PM
I have to admit that I don't sanitize the edge of my fermenters (I use buckets, not carboys) before dumping the slurry out of them for storage.  I figure they were sanitized when the wort went in and have been sealed ever since.  No problems doing it that way.

Yeah, on a bucket that would be a non-issue. Carboy, different story.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: tom on November 07, 2009, 04:16:40 PM
You could measure the baggy volume by putting the whole bag in a measuring cup.

I would like to keep yeast slurry, then use some to make a starter to get it all well-nourished and oxygenated. Anybody have any idea how to do that? I guess I need the volume of yeast necessary (maybe varying with the age of the yeast) to make a starter from.

TIA, Tom
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: woody on November 07, 2009, 06:47:23 PM
I boil and cool a half gallon of water then dump that onto the yeast cake.  I give it a good swirl, let it settle for a few minutes then slowly fill up a glass container (gallon jug, my starter flask, whatever) then cover that with aluminum foil to store in the fridge.   I don' t make a starter if I'm gonna use it within 2 weeks.   For longer term storage, I fill up mason jars and use those to make starters down the road
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: dzlater on November 08, 2009, 01:45:49 PM
(http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh53/dzlater/IMG_0020.jpg)
I did this last night. It's been sitting in the fridge over night.
There is only a very thin layer of trub on the bottom
There is about 250 ml of yeast.
I still am not sure how much to pitch though.
The Mr malty calculator
leaving the defaults
for yeast conentration and non yeast percentage
and setting the harvest date for yesterday
tells me 74 ml if I change the date to
10/30 which was when the fermentation was done it tells me
84 ml
I figure I'll try and pitch around 80 ml
how much of the beer should I decant off the top
wouldn't the amount of liquid mixed with the yeast change
the amount I should pitcch/
or am I over thinking once again?
I am off to clean the carboy and then get my brew day going.
Thanks for all your help.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: tom on November 08, 2009, 05:02:14 PM
Just use the yeast slurry, not the liquid.

Woody, do you make starters using all of the yeast slurry or a smaller amount?
Tom
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: woody on November 11, 2009, 10:28:22 PM
Usually a smaller amount that I store in mason jars.   If I have a big cake, I'm usually using that within a week or two (hence no starter).   I'll usually split the cake from a 5 gallon batch to use on a 10 gallon batch.   
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: woody on November 11, 2009, 10:30:08 PM
Dzlater-  thats some nice looking slurry!   The slurry I saved from my german pils last night doesn't look as clean-  ended up with a bit of hop trub and crap in the primary.     I"m gonna start racking off the trub before pitching when I plan on saving yeast.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: dzlater on November 11, 2009, 11:35:57 PM
Dzlater-  thats some nice looking slurry!   The slurry I saved from my german pils last night doesn't look as clean-  ended up with a bit of hop trub and crap in the primary.     I"m gonna start racking off the trub before pitching when I plan on saving yeast.

Thanks
I pitched pretty much the whole jar .
I tried to measure it out but it wasn't that easy.
The ferment is chugging away.
It didn't take off like a rocket or anything.
But it has a nice big ole head on it. ;D
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: akr71 on November 12, 2009, 01:31:42 PM
...I don't separate the trub.  I DO, however, make sure that the original beer I made using the yeast is clean and has no off flavors... 

I was going to ask if you were saving yeast from the primary or secondary.  I'm guessing from your comment about trub, that you're saving yeast from the primary.

The few times I've saved yeast, I've just taken a sanitized mason jar and just scooped a jar full from the bottom of primary after racking to the secondary and loosely put on a sanitized lid and stored in the fridge.  Bad idea?
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: a10t2 on November 12, 2009, 02:41:06 PM
The few times I've saved yeast, I've just taken a sanitized mason jar and just scooped a jar full from the bottom of primary after racking to the secondary and loosely put on a sanitized lid and stored in the fridge.  Bad idea?

Seems like a Good Idea™ to me. Like others have said, if you aren't going to use it within a few weeks you'll still need a starter.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: akr71 on November 12, 2009, 03:18:41 PM
I was figuring on a starter.  Next up is a rye ale and I'm going to re-use the yeast from my wheat, which has been in the fridge for 2 - 3 months.  Yep, starter for sure!
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: pinnah on November 12, 2009, 06:38:10 PM
Do you folks reuse straight yeast from say...a 1.070 beer?
Seems I was under the impression that yeast from "bigger" beers (quotes for Fred ;))
was somehow spent and not as viable.

Any thoughts on that?
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: woody on November 12, 2009, 10:26:38 PM
Haven't done it personally but I've heard of people using yeast from high 1.060s beers.  I've heard major say that he'll pitch a Cake from his bock into a dopplebock.  I'm sure he'll chime in
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: bonjour on November 12, 2009, 10:43:17 PM
Do you folks reuse straight yeast from say...a 1.070 beer?
Seems I was under the impression that yeast from "bigger" beers (quotes for Fred ;))
was somehow spent and not as viable.

Any thoughts on that?
I would have no trouble pitching from a 1.080 beer, but that's just me.  I figure I can get away with any "session" beer (see my sig for the definition) BUT I would not recommend that.  On the other hand the yeast in my 15+% beers have had it, they are done,  down the sink for them. 
Point is that you can break all the ROTs in brewing and make great beer, but those rules are there for a reason, at least most of them are. 

The purpose of a starter is to grow yeast, not make beer, and yeast do best with a 1.040 wort.  The further you get away from that the more trouble you will have. 

Fred
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: blatz on November 12, 2009, 10:44:04 PM
Haven't done it personally but I've heard of people using yeast from high 1.060s beers.  I've heard major say that he'll pitch a Cake from his bock into a dopplebock.  I'm sure he'll chime in

not major, but I just reused a cake from a 1.067 vienna-mai-bock on a schwartzbier - not ideal conditions (high previous gravity to lower next gravity) but the fermentation was perfect, dropping the schwartz from 1.054 to 1.014 in ~11 days, which is about as ideal as I've been able to get it.   the hydro sample was divine...

with ales, I go as high as 1.070 without problem, though I usually don't brew anything between ~1.065 and 1.090, so I guess I've never had the opportunity to repitch something off a 1.080 beer.  there is definitely some gray area with regard to this.
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: woody on November 12, 2009, 11:02:00 PM
Vienna Mai bock?  you might as well send me
that recipe too  ;D
Title: Re: reusing yeast question
Post by: blatz on December 05, 2009, 03:44:44 PM
Vienna Mai bock?  you might as well send me
that recipe too  ;D

here you go:

http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/BlatzViennaMaiBock