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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: Boston Brewer on January 30, 2010, 01:48:40 PM

Title: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: Boston Brewer on January 30, 2010, 01:48:40 PM
Hello,

I am planning on harvesting the yeast from my Belgian Ale when I rack to secondary today. I will be brewing a second Belgian within the coming month and I want to reuse the yeast.

My plan is to make a 1qt starter from DME, pitch the yeast and and keep it in a growler with an airlock  at around 64 F until I am ready to brew.

I know that there are all kinds of ways to harvest yeast, but would like to keep it as simple as possible.
Any reason that this won't work ?
What's the longest amount of time that I can store yeast like this without losing viability?

Thanks,

Dave
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: tygo on January 30, 2010, 02:07:02 PM
I think this is what you're saying but just save some of the slurry in a sanitized jar.  Then make a starter using a few tablespoons of the slurry the week before your ready to brew.  That will work fine.  You wouldn't want to make the starter and then let it sit for a month without adding a little fresh wort to wake things up.

Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: a10t2 on January 30, 2010, 08:39:49 PM
tygo's plan is a good one. FWIW I store slurries in jars in the fridge and have built them back up after more than a year. Also, using an airlock on a starter reduces the amount of yeast you can grow.

Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: bruck on January 30, 2010, 09:27:54 PM
Agree....I just put some sanitized aluminum foil on the top of my flask and that works great.
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: Boston Brewer on February 01, 2010, 11:45:52 PM
Thanks for the ideas. For what it's worth, I ended up funneling some slurry into a sanitized beer bottle, capped it and tossed it in the  fridge. A week or so  before I brew, I'll take it out, get it up to room temp and add it to a starter. If I get action by the time I brew, I'll use it, otherwise, I'll just pitch some fresh yeast.

We'll see how that works out.

Dave
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: BrewArk on February 02, 2010, 12:05:32 AM
Thanks for the ideas. For what it's worth, I ended up funneling some slurry into a sanitized beer bottle, capped it and tossed it in the  fridge. A week or so  before I brew, I'll take it out, get it up to room temp and add it to a starter. If I get action by the time I brew, I'll use it, otherwise, I'll just pitch some fresh yeast.

We'll see how that works out.

Dave

Danger Will Robinson!

A glass bottle of slurry could be a time bomb if there's no over pressure release mechanism.  Do you have a Nalgene or something that will bulge to fore-warn you if there's too much pressure there?  I got lucky, mine was in a Grolsch bottle that blew the gasket before it could shatter.

Otherwise use it up soon!
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: Kaiser on February 02, 2010, 05:31:27 AM
Yes, don't cap it. Just cover with aluminum foil.

Kai
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on February 02, 2010, 02:01:57 PM
Yes, don't cap it. Just cover with aluminum foil.

Kai
+1 and next time switch to Sanatize Mason jar.
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: dan1076 on February 03, 2010, 02:40:32 AM
+2 to the sanitized mason jar.  Just put the lid on very loose.
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: dontblake on February 03, 2010, 03:00:31 AM
If I'm going to store yeast for that long, I will at least rinse it.
Boil up about 1/2 gal of water and cool it down.  Get a large jar and sanitize it (the Mountain Sun in Boulder uses 1/2 gallon wide-mouth Mason jars as growlers....talk about perfect!).   After you rack your beer, pour some (2 cups or so) in to the carboy and swirl the gunk around.   Now pour the thinnest part of the slurry into your large, sanitized jar.  Put a cap on it and after a while you should see heavy chunks settle out at the bottom, a creamy middle, and then a really thin liquidy top.   Decant off the lightest liquid, then pour the remaining creamy stuff into another sanitized jar (I like to use pints or 1/2 pints).   Throw em in the fridge and after a day, you should see a compact layer of yeast that should keep for quite a while.   Use a starter to wake the beasties up, though.
See http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yeast-washing-illustrated-41768/ (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yeast-washing-illustrated-41768/) for more thorough detail, including pictures
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: babalu87 on February 03, 2010, 12:34:05 PM
+2 to the sanitized mason jar.  Just put the lid on very loose.

+3

Wife has a nice set of stainless measuring spoons, the tablespoon size can reach all the way to the bottom of a quart mason jar  ;D
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: dan1076 on February 07, 2010, 07:13:03 PM
Instead of washing the yeast I just make more in the starter and save the extra in the mason jar.  Works a lot better and less work involved for me. 
Title: Re: How lolong will harvested yeast keep
Post by: a10t2 on February 07, 2010, 09:39:13 PM
Instead of washing the yeast I just make more in the starter and save the extra in the mason jar.  Works a lot better and less work involved for me.

That's my process too. I don't brew often enough to pitch harvested slurry directly, so my thinking is propagating from the unhopped low-gravity starter will give me the most life out of the yeast.