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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: Crispy275 on October 21, 2009, 01:25:01 PM

Title: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Crispy275 on October 21, 2009, 01:25:01 PM
Over the years I have accumulated a number of handy tips, but this is one I like to shout about from the mountain top. Someone told me about this over ten years ago, and I have used it on dozens of occassions.

I was informed that Zip Lock baggies are sanitized from the factory. Because of this, you can put yeast into a brand new baggie and store it for several weeks. For instance, if you wanted to obtain yeast from a local microbrewery, all you would need to do is to open the baggie for the first time (after the brewer has sprayed his sanitizer around the dump valve), being careful to keep your fingers on the outside of the baggie. Fill it up, zip it and toss it into your cold storage. I always write the strain and date with a Sharpie pen before I fill it up. I prefer one gallon Zip Locks for this operation.

I also do this for yeast strains if I know I am going to want to use it again relatively shortly. If I used a glass carboy for primary, I rack it to secondary and leave a couple of tablesppons of wort/beer behind. I swirl it around to get the yeast cake into a slurry, torch or wipe the opening with a vodka soaked papertowel, and lay the carboy on a low table. I do this because when tilting the carboy uoside it gets a little awkward if i by myself, and I use the table to stabilize the carboy. I just make sure the neck of the carboy does not touch the inside of the baggie at any time.

My friend Jeff Renner always ferments his primaries in a bucket to harvest (skim) the yeast in the krausen. And side-by-side experiements have shown that people prefered the brews made with subsequent batches using the top-croped yeast versus what settles on the bottom. However, if you prefer to use all glass for both primaries and secondaries, this is the way to go.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: denny on October 21, 2009, 04:39:36 PM
Great tip, Crispy!  Have you ever had a problem with a baggie leaking?
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Crispy275 on October 21, 2009, 11:16:17 PM
No, I have not. Since all the baggies (except those that travel to micro's and back) only travel the ten feet from the fermentation area to the beer fridge, they get minimal handling.

Because I am anal (as many in this hobby are), I will soak the corner of the baggie and a pair of scissors in a solution of Iodophor, shake them a little to get the solution off and cut the bottom corner off and dispense the yeast that way, But no baggies have suffered a break otherwise.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: denny on October 22, 2009, 03:32:09 PM
That's a great tip about cutting off the corner of the baggie to get the yeast out!  Thanks.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Janis on November 02, 2009, 08:08:14 PM
Great info, Crispy!

I think I'll use this method when getting yeast for my Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day event this coming weekend.

Cheers,
   Janis
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: james on November 03, 2009, 06:50:06 PM
This is a great idea.  I'm going to stash some ziploc bags in my car for when I end up at a brewery without planning to collect some yeast
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: onthekeg on November 04, 2009, 06:42:07 PM
I like this idea!  No more cleaning out the old mayo jars or what have you for storing yeast!   :D
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: jds on November 04, 2009, 07:38:22 PM
Thanks for this idea. I could see this as being a nice way to capture a yeast cake for subsequent washing, too. Of course, a larger bag would be required, but ziplocs come in lots of sizes.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Kaiser on November 04, 2009, 11:23:09 PM
Any issues with the baggies blowing up from residual fermentation?

Kai
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: gail on November 04, 2009, 11:41:09 PM
ZipLock baggies do work great.  I generally double bag the yeast ever since I had one leak all over my frig.  I haven't had any trouble with the baggies blowing up as long as you keep the yeast pretty cold; regular frig temp has worked well for me.  Lager yeast does require a little monitoring, however, since sometimes mine has still been active at pretty low frig temperatures.  Those times, I just open the baggie a little bit, allow the built-up CO2 to escape, then reseal it.  No problems and no worries.
One word of caution:  don't use the baggies with the "zip tab" plastic thingy.  I've found that it doesn't seal tightly enough and your yeast will get infected or leak badly.
Gail
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Crispy275 on November 05, 2009, 12:35:59 AM
I have had an occassional baggie of really active yeast puff up a bit, but I just "burp" it out. I typically keep the baggies in my beer fridge, in the shelf on the door, propped up a bit between some bottles. I prefer to keep the top of the baggie up and off any surface.

I did have one leak once, not bad after 50-60 times. It was more than likely just me not sealing it correctly and all the way.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: budweiser on November 05, 2009, 03:12:46 PM
Good idea!
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: theDarkSide on November 05, 2009, 03:25:55 PM
I have my left over hop stored in Ziplock bags, but never thought of yeast.  Thanks for the tip.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: bluesman on November 05, 2009, 03:36:17 PM
I never thought of using ziploc bags for yeast. It's a quick and easy way to store yeast. Thanks!
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: hamiltont on November 05, 2009, 04:09:40 PM
Great idea.  Thanks for sharing it with us Crispy!!!
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: mybeerpants on November 05, 2009, 05:02:19 PM
What's the longest you've left yeast in the baggies?

I think I'll try this, I'm a bit tired of working with my mason jars at this point.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: beerocd on November 05, 2009, 05:18:18 PM
So how do you go about convincing a brewer(y) to allow you to fill your baggie?

-OCD
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: gail on November 05, 2009, 05:32:54 PM
I think I've gone about 4-5 weeks max with the yeast left in the baggie.  I try to use it in 2-3 weeks, though.
Gail
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: greg_rosace on November 06, 2009, 05:02:45 AM
  good bye Mason jars..  Thanks
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: slimsparty on November 06, 2009, 10:35:50 PM
Agreed, This is a GREAT tip!  ;D
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on November 07, 2009, 01:20:54 AM
This sounds like one of the easiest methods I've heard of to save and reuse yeast.  I'm definitely going to give it a shot!  Thanks for the tip, Crispy!
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: a10t2 on November 10, 2009, 10:48:58 PM
I have had an occassional baggie of really active yeast puff up a bit, but I just "burp" it out.
Sure beats having a glass jar "puff up" on you. I may have to retire my jars.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 10, 2009, 10:57:05 PM
Great idea.
Also when pitching it would make it very clean.
Thank you
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Crispy275 on November 11, 2009, 01:53:33 AM
I try to use the yeast within a month. I have, on occassion, dumped it into a flask and stired it with some fresh DME and water to get it going, but only rarely.

Just two weeks ago I used a baggie of 1056 that was from July (Late October when used, so 14-15 weeks, and it did fine. Slower than usual signs of activity (a little at 36 hours, good robust krausen at 4 days). However, I have also thrown out baggies as they got older and just said hell with it, I am going to get some fresh.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: roffenburger on November 13, 2009, 03:43:09 PM
Cool! I have thought about doing this, but wasn't sure how clean the bags were. I may just take some sterile bags we have here at work that we no longer use!  ;D
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on November 13, 2009, 05:14:30 PM
I just did the ziplock baggie thing for the first time a few days ago with some Wyeast 1214.  I'm planning on saving some 1272 using this method next week. 
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: roffenburger on November 13, 2009, 05:38:14 PM
I decided to do an experiment:

I swabbed the inside of three one gallon ziplock bags and plated on blood agar. Incubating at 30-35. I let you know what, if anything shows up in a few days.

Not doubting that they are sanitary. I just was curious.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 13, 2009, 05:48:50 PM
I decided to do an experiment:

I swabbed the inside of three one gallon ziplock bags and plated on blood agar. Incubating at 30-35. I let you know what, if anything shows up in a few days.

Not doubting that they are sanitary. I just was curious.
Thank you for doing that
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: blatz on November 13, 2009, 06:45:21 PM
thanks roff

merely posting to get a notification  ::)
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: roffenburger on November 13, 2009, 06:52:28 PM
thanks roff

merely posting to get a notification  ::)
I feel used... :'(
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: rabid_dingo on November 15, 2009, 05:50:55 PM
Wow, another idea that is just too simple for me to figure out. I tend to over think! Thanks..
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: roffenburger on November 16, 2009, 01:54:37 PM
I decided to do an experiment:

I swabbed the inside of three one gallon ziplock bags and plated on blood agar. Incubating at 30-35. I let you know what, if anything shows up in a few days.

Not doubting that they are sanitary. I just was curious.

I looked at the plates today and.......no growth. Three days is usually plenty of time for most organisms. I'll hold on to the plates to see if anything shows up. The bags sampled were "Ziploc" one gallon. I'd say they're pretty clean, and I'll be using this method in the future.

Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: gail on November 16, 2009, 02:02:46 PM
Great info!  Thanks, Travis!
Gail
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: denny on November 16, 2009, 04:52:11 PM
Thanks for the experiment!  Now, at the very least, we know Crispy can tell when a beer isn't infected!  ;)
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on November 16, 2009, 04:55:04 PM
Thank you roffenburger.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: roffenburger on November 16, 2009, 05:46:19 PM
No problem!!
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: brewinbruen on November 21, 2009, 03:25:41 PM
Ironically enough, I just finished sterilizing my new mason jars as part of my next homebrew foray into yeast repitching when I stumbled across this thread.The Ziploc technique sounds pretty flawless. Has anyone used the technique to rinse yeast? Maybe dumping the trub out of the sanitized and cut corner of the bag and then diverting the flow of clean yeast into a new sterile Ziploc? I'm actually planning on harvesting today or tomorrow so all of your experienced input is welcome!
Thanks-
Greg
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: k4df4l on November 21, 2009, 03:34:07 PM
..could see ziplock baggies being handy in a pinch. 

I like to use sanitized 1 liter seltzer bottles for harvesting yeast slurries...I get to drink the contents plus they are easy to sanitize, label and reuse.  It's also nice to know that when I retire them, I can just pitch them in the recycling.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: theDarkSide on November 24, 2009, 09:28:40 PM
When using this method, are you taking out of the refrigerator to let them warm up and if so, how long before?  I have to bottle an Amber Ale this weekend and use then pitch that yeast on a winter warmer, but I was hoping not to do them in the same day.  Bottle on Friday, store yeast in ziplock in fridge, then pitch into new beer on Sunday.  Would I need a min-starter to wake them up?
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: denny on November 25, 2009, 04:37:09 PM
I always prefer to take the yeast right out of the fridge and pitch when it's still cold.  I've seen enough evidence that it's a better way to do it that I'm convinced.....not to mention that I've had great success doing that.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: theDarkSide on November 25, 2009, 04:43:45 PM
Denny...you just made my weekend.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: denny on November 25, 2009, 04:50:19 PM
Always glad to make life easier!
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: bonjour on November 25, 2009, 06:14:11 PM
Denny,

Does this fall into the cheap and easy school?

;)  Fred
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: denny on November 25, 2009, 06:25:42 PM
Lemme think here....

it's easy....

it doesn't cost any money....

YEP, we got a winner!!!  ;)
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: bluesman on November 25, 2009, 06:29:07 PM
I always prefer to take the yeast right out of the fridge and pitch when it's still cold.  I've seen enough evidence that it's a better way to do it that I'm convinced.....not to mention that I've had great success doing that.

What temp is the yeast at when you pitch?
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: Nagel Family Brewing on November 25, 2009, 06:34:37 PM
I always prefer to take the yeast right out of the fridge and pitch when it's still cold.  I've seen enough evidence that it's a better way to do it that I'm convinced.....not to mention that I've had great success doing that.

What is the logic behind pitching cold?
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: blatz on November 25, 2009, 06:50:59 PM
logic: when you wake up, aren't you hungry?
Title: Re: Yeast and Zip Lock baggies
Post by: denny on November 25, 2009, 06:51:17 PM
I always prefer to take the yeast right out of the fridge and pitch when it's still cold.  I've seen enough evidence that it's a better way to do it that I'm convinced.....not to mention that I've had great success doing that.

What temp is the yeast at when you pitch?

A few degrees warmer than fridge temp....maybe 50F?