Author Topic: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?  (Read 1195 times)

Offline rainmaker

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Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« on: August 20, 2013, 07:12:44 AM »
I'm brewing a sour, and it's been in primary for 4 weeks. Plan on racking it into a carboy for long term storage until the bugs are finished.

My question is this. I want to rack a new beer onto the old yeast.  It's white labs belgium sour blend, which I believe contains yeast and bugs. 

Is this a bad idea? Could the saccaromyces be dead but bugs alive, this tainting the new wort I plan to add?

Offline micsager

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 07:34:48 AM »
I'm brewing a sour, and it's been in primary for 4 weeks. Plan on racking it into a carboy for long term storage until the bugs are finished.

My question is this. I want to rack a new beer onto the old yeast.  It's white labs belgium sour blend, which I believe contains yeast and bugs. 

Is this a bad idea? Could the saccaromyces be dead but bugs alive, this tainting the new wort I plan to add?

Interesting question.  I've racked on top of 1056 yeast a few times, works great.  But I have no clue on the sour stuff.

Offline rainmaker

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2013, 07:38:26 AM »
I'm brewing a sour, and it's been in primary for 4 weeks. Plan on racking it into a carboy for long term storage until the bugs are finished.

My question is this. I want to rack a new beer onto the old yeast.  It's white labs belgium sour blend, which I believe contains yeast and bugs. 

Is this a bad idea? Could the saccaromyces be dead but bugs alive, this tainting the new wort I plan to add?

Interesting question.  I've racked on top of 1056 yeast a few times, works great.  But I have no clue on the sour stuff.

I know the bugs will be fine, but I don't want to rack onto dead yeast.  Maybe my window of opportunity is gone because one needs to rack within 2 weeks to avoid autolyzed yeast?  I certainly don't know, but I hope someone does.

Offline svejk

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2013, 07:43:51 AM »
4 weeks isn't nearly long enough for autolysis to start so that shouldn't really be an issue (autolysis is an issue after many months).  I think the main issue you'll have is that the blend of yeast and bugs will be much different in the slurry from the first batch since each strain would not necessarily have multiplied at the same rate.  If it were me, I'd go for it since I'm always interested in answering those "what happens if" questions.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 07:46:46 AM »
I think what you will find is that the yeast will have multiplied much more than the bugs so your next sour will be less sour than the first.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2013, 08:19:23 AM »
I don't know what will happen. I think you should just do it. It's mixed fermentation. if 'regular' brewing is 50% science and 50% art sour brewing is 50% science and 80% art  ;)
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Offline rainmaker

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2013, 08:21:01 AM »
Interesting. Well, here is another thought... Can I add some wood chips and wort starter to a carboy and add this slurry. Let it sit a year or more and allow the bugs to do some serious work and harbor in the wood, then pull that wood out and use it in another beer?

Offline rainmaker

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2013, 08:23:05 AM »
I don't know what will happen. I think you should just do it. It's mixed fermentation. if 'regular' brewing is 50% science and 50% art sour brewing is 50% science and 80% art  ;)

This is true. I think I'll just go for it. I think I'll also boil some wood chips and toss those in for the long haul as well just to see if I can get sow bugs to harbor in that wood.

Offline svejk

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2013, 08:33:17 AM »
Sounds like a good plan.  If you think of it, you could reply to this same thread in a year or so to give an update as to how it worked out.  Oftentimes threads like this will come along and the questions will appear to remain unanswered.  Fortunately this forum allows for new posts to old topics so you can keep the question and your own answer all in the same place and we'll all benefit from your experience.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2013, 08:53:42 AM »
IME the Wyeast blends produce higher levels of acidity and wild beer-type flavors on the 2nd and 3rd pitch (I haven't gone past 3).

If you're going for a lambic-esque beer with puckering acidity and lots of funk, using slurry from a previous blend pitch is the way to go.

I pull a few pints of slurry and wash down the fermentor before dumping in the next batch. Otherwise you'll collect a LOT of trub/dead yeast over the course of a few batches on the same yeast.

Oak is nice in this type of beer. If it will be in there for awhile (and you want to harbor bugs in them) oak cubes are best. Wider breadth of oak flavors to contribute, more internal surface area for bugs to live.
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Offline rainmaker

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2013, 09:09:45 AM »
IME the Wyeast blends produce higher levels of acidity and wild beer-type flavors on the 2nd and 3rd pitch (I haven't gone past 3).

If you're going for a lambic-esque beer with puckering acidity and lots of funk, using slurry from a previous blend pitch is the way to go.

I pull a few pints of slurry and wash down the fermentor before dumping in the next batch. Otherwise you'll collect a LOT of trub/dead yeast over the course of a few batches on the same yeast.

Oak is nice in this type of beer. If it will be in there for awhile (and you want to harbor bugs in them) oak cubes are best. Wider breadth of oak flavors to contribute, more internal surface area for bugs to live.

When you are talking slurry vs trub, how do make the distinction? I was just going to rack the beer off using the spigot and toss the next batch right in. How do you go a out separating the yeast slurry from trub?

Offline kramerog

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2013, 09:49:52 AM »
I think what I was thinking about was the advice not to make starters for mixes.  I'll defer to others on repitching.

IME, you can infect wood with brett and then inoculate a different wort with the infected wood.  You will probably find that it is easier to work with an oak spiral b/c spirals are bigger than chips.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2013, 10:36:44 AM »
IME the Wyeast blends produce higher levels of acidity and wild beer-type flavors on the 2nd and 3rd pitch (I haven't gone past 3).

If you're going for a lambic-esque beer with puckering acidity and lots of funk, using slurry from a previous blend pitch is the way to go.

I pull a few pints of slurry and wash down the fermentor before dumping in the next batch. Otherwise you'll collect a LOT of trub/dead yeast over the course of a few batches on the same yeast.

Oak is nice in this type of beer. If it will be in there for awhile (and you want to harbor bugs in them) oak cubes are best. Wider breadth of oak flavors to contribute, more internal surface area for bugs to live.

When you are talking slurry vs trub, how do make the distinction? I was just going to rack the beer off using the spigot and toss the next batch right in. How do you go a out separating the yeast slurry from trub?

I don't think he was suggesting separating yeast from trub. just scoop out a quart or so into a sanitized mason jar and then wash the fermenter.
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Offline rainmaker

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2013, 10:48:57 AM »
IME the Wyeast blends produce higher levels of acidity and wild beer-type flavors on the 2nd and 3rd pitch (I haven't gone past 3).

If you're going for a lambic-esque beer with puckering acidity and lots of funk, using slurry from a previous blend pitch is the way to go.

I pull a few pints of slurry and wash down the fermentor before dumping in the next batch. Otherwise you'll collect a LOT of trub/dead yeast over the course of a few batches on the same yeast.

Oak is nice in this type of beer. If it will be in there for awhile (and you want to harbor bugs in them) oak cubes are best. Wider breadth of oak flavors to contribute, more internal surface area for bugs to live.

When you are talking slurry vs trub, how do make the distinction? I was just going to rack the beer off using the spigot and toss the next batch right in. How do you go a out separating the yeast slurry from trub?

I don't think he was suggesting separating yeast from trub. just scoop out a quart or so into a sanitized mason jar and then wash the fermenter.

Can you separate them? Or maybe should I toss some oak in now to harbor some bugs, let it sit a few more weeks, then take the oak and a quart or 2 of wort out. From what I understood from reading Vinnie C.'s AHA presentation, you can soak the wood in it water to kill the weak strains and let the strongest ones around.

Perhaps this is an option for propagation of bugs.

Guess this just went from reusing yeast to full blown experimental status.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Question about racking new beer onto old yeast?
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2013, 12:28:54 PM »
Using oak as your only source of yeast/bacteria is another great option, but it provides a really low cell count. Its great for inoculating a primary-fermented beer with brett, but it wont give you the amount of yeast (sacch or brett) needed to ferment a batch of sweet wort.

With mixed ferments, you can wash slurry to remove trub/dead yeast, or you can just pour the next batch right on top of it. I've done both. It really just depends on how much trub you carry over and how many times you'll reuse the yeast.

You ARE kind of throwing caution to the wind with mixed fermentation, leaving your beer in the hands of the brett and bacteria. I think its fun, and if you brew quality wort, odds are good that it will develop into something special.
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