Author Topic: Can I vacuum seal yeast?  (Read 1649 times)

Offline dzlater

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 376
  • New Jersey
    • View Profile
Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« on: February 17, 2013, 05:40:45 PM »
Just another one of my wacky ideas.
Can I vacuum seal yeast?

Offline mtnrockhopper

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2876
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 07:32:51 PM »
Do you mean a yeast slurry?
Jimmy K

Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup when the old president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP: B0958

Offline dzlater

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 376
  • New Jersey
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 04:20:54 AM »
Do you mean a yeast slurry?

Yea, the yeast I pour off from the bottom of the fermentor, to use on the next batch.

Offline mtnrockhopper

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2876
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 06:30:24 AM »
Well I'm sure you can, but the real question is will it benefit the yeast during storage? I don't know the answer to that. Actually, I don't know what the benefit would be - so - What benefit do you think you'll get?
Jimmy K

Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup when the old president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP: B0958

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11643
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 09:50:18 AM »
Do you mean a yeast slurry?

Yea, the yeast I pour off from the bottom of the fermentor, to use on the next batch.

I don't know about your equipment, but my vacuum sealer doesn't do well with liquids.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline Alewyfe

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 344
  • Fighting for Truth, Justice & Home Brew
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 10:12:08 AM »
I don't think that would be of any benefit. Your yeast slurry, stored properly in the fridge is under a blanket of beer or distilled water, so it's not exposed to any air.

I just recently pulled a sample of yeast in a jar from my fridge. It was decanted and topped with distilled water. It was not a slurry, it had been pulled off a starter. It got forgotten about and it was dated February 2012. I was going to toss it out, but out of curiosity I stained some and checked the viability. It was 99%.
I triple checked it. It was 99%.

I'm sure these kind of results are strain dependent. (this happened to be W1469), but I think I will be storing most of my commonly used strains this way from now on. 
Diane
Roseburg, Oregon
Member: Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild
             Cascade Brewers Society
             AHA

"Growing old is mandatory. Growing up? Definitely optional!"

Offline The Professor

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 769
  • "In the next life, you're on your own"
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 12:01:59 PM »
I think there might be a benefit if your intent is to freeze the slurry for any extended period.  The barrier bags that the vacuum seal units employ would definitely protect against freezer burn...but again, it's probably only of benefit if your intent is to freeze it for a few months or more.

You'd probably need to freeze the slurry first in a ziplock bag, then as soon as it has frozen remove it from the ziplock and seal the now frozen slurry the usual way in a vacuum seal bag.
AL
New Brunswick, NJ
[499.6, 101.2] Apparent Rennerian
Homebrewer since July 1971

Offline Alewyfe

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 344
  • Fighting for Truth, Justice & Home Brew
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 01:00:02 PM »
I think there might be a benefit if your intent is to freeze the slurry for any extended period.  The barrier bags that the vacuum seal units employ would definitely protect against freezer burn...but again, it's probably only of benefit if your intent is to freeze it for a few months or more.

You'd probably need to freeze the slurry first in a ziplock bag, then as soon as it has frozen remove it from the ziplock and seal the now frozen slurry the usual way in a vacuum seal bag.


Sorry, but this is not good advice. You need to add a glycerin solution to yeast before freezing. The purpose of the glycerin is to keep the yeast from getting freezer burn (freezing solid and drying out) So you will not have a solid that can be transfered to another bag. The glycerin will maintain the yeast in a viscous liquid state.
Diane
Roseburg, Oregon
Member: Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild
             Cascade Brewers Society
             AHA

"Growing old is mandatory. Growing up? Definitely optional!"

Offline The Professor

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 769
  • "In the next life, you're on your own"
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 02:24:31 PM »
...
Sorry, but this is not good advice. You need to add a glycerin solution to yeast before freezing. The purpose of the glycerin is to keep the yeast from getting freezer burn (freezing solid and drying out) So you will not have a solid that can be transfered to another bag. The glycerin will maintain the yeast in a viscous liquid state.


That's one way of looking at it, I guess. 
Really, I only offered my suggestion up because it worked perfectly fine for me the one time I did it 25 years ago (I had to go  out of town on a location shoot for a couple of months).  I never had to do the freeze thing again since shortly after that, I learned to preserve my house yeast on slants.

Bottom line is that the freezing/vacuum bag worked perfectly fine, and the yeasties  in fact produced a  very robust fermentation (even without the glycerin treatment). 
I'll concede that others' mileage may vary, but It produced no negative issues for me  (maybe I got lucky??).
AL
New Brunswick, NJ
[499.6, 101.2] Apparent Rennerian
Homebrewer since July 1971

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 10:50:57 PM »
Many cells will survive freezing, many will not.  Good thing there are a ton in a slurry. :)

It is not best practice to allow yeast to freeze without adding some cryoprotectant, glycerol being a common and easy to find one.  Although with today's frost free freezers, the repeated freeze thaw cycles will eventually kill off all of the cells whether cryoprotected or not.  Even using a cooler to minimize temperature swings the viability goes down after a few years.

If you are going to put your yeast in the freezer I recommend adding enough glycerol that it won't freeze solid at 0F, that way you avoid the constant freeze/thaw cycles completely, the solution is just always liquid.  That's ~50% glycerol.  You wouldn't store huge slurries this way, just samples to grow up what you need.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline dzlater

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 376
  • New Jersey
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 03:28:30 AM »
Thanks for the info.
My daughter gave me her FoodSaver because she didn't use it, so I have been on a vacuum sealing kick lately.
I just figured if it helps to preserve a pound of chicken, it might help preserve a half liter of yeast.

Offline Kit B

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 547
  • Kit B - Bottineau Prairie, MN
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2013, 05:15:01 AM »
I'm curious about how the cells would handle the negative pressure.
-    Head Cook & Bottle Washer    -
-      Bottineau Prairie Brewing      -

FBDU: Prairie & Northwoods Mobile Superintendant

Offline anje

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 232
  • Lafayette, IN
    • View Profile
Re: Can I vacuum seal yeast?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2013, 01:28:03 PM »
I'm curious about how the cells would handle the negative pressure.
In a bag, I don't think it matters. A jar might be interesting.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

Hops and toothpaste don't mix.