Author Topic: reusing yeast question  (Read 3557 times)

Offline dzlater

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reusing yeast question
« on: November 06, 2009, 04:49:18 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.
Dan S. from NJ

Offline gail

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2009, 05:02:51 AM »
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?

Offline majorvices

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2009, 07:33:38 AM »
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.
Keith Y.

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Offline budweiser

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2009, 08:18:40 AM »
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.
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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2009, 08:23:45 AM »
I've had inconsistent results from going directly on a yeast cake. YMMV.
Keith Y.

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Offline matthew

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2009, 08:28:09 AM »
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!
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Offline dzlater

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2009, 10:57:05 AM »
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?
Dan S. from NJ

Offline gail

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2009, 11:10:03 AM »
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

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2009, 11:47:19 AM »
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.
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Offline dzlater

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2009, 01:56:28 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.
Dan S. from NJ

Offline gail

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2009, 03:07:02 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.

Offline slimsparty

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2009, 03:20:56 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.


Offline dzlater

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2009, 04:07:02 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
Dan S. from NJ

Offline majorvices

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2009, 04:13:54 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.
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Offline tom

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Re: reusing yeast question
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2009, 09:16:40 AM »
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
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