Author Topic: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons  (Read 1271 times)

Offline cfleisher

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Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« on: August 13, 2014, 05:19:33 PM »
Does anyone have any thoughts on the pros and cons of reusing a yeast cake? Best practices? I'm planning to siphon an amber lager out of the primary and throw a Baltic porter onto the yeast cake. Done this with saisons before and it's worked out reasonably well, but I'm just wondering if anyone has experienced problems.
Primary: Grapefruit IPA
Secondary: Berliner Weisse

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 06:49:05 PM »
You might be over pitching some, but for a lager that is ok.

General rules of thumb.
Low OG beer then high OG beer.
Low SRM then High SRM.
Low hopped beer then high hopped beer.

I think you will be ok. Control that fermentation temp!
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2014, 08:06:43 PM »
I do it all the time rather than make starters for big beers. I rack to a keg or bottling bucket, then I dump my new wort right on the cake and oxygenate. I'm sure it's overpitching, but I'm generally doing this for styles that can use as much healthy yeast as possible.
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 08:56:23 PM »
If your sanitation is good, the pros greatly outweigh any cons (which are few and far between anyway).  One of the 'pros' is not spending money for yeast every time you want to brew.  A bigger 'pro' is the fact that repitching the yeast from a batch almost invariably results in a more robust fermentation (at least that's what I've observed).  On top of that, it seems that after  a few generations of healthy fermentations  you end up with  yeast that has entrained itself to your particular environment, and which can be repitched from batch to batch many times with only occasional reculturing new starters.

I actually selected my house strain more than 25 years ago by combining several strains (including one favorite that was passed along to me whose origins was unknown).  I took that through more than 20 repitches, and was getting better results with each successive brew until I finally cultured up the "winner" (since ultimately, one strain will dominate) and wound up with a yeast that since the 1990s has never failed to give really great results across a wide variety of  "styles".  I'll still play around with other strains (I've become a huge fan of ECY's "Old Newark Ale" strain), but always wind up returning to the "winner" of my old 1980s experiment.

Experimentation is, in fact,  one of the most fun and potentially rewarding parts of this hobby.
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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2014, 05:49:33 AM »


Experimentation is, in fact,  one of the most fun and potentially rewarding parts of this hobby.


Big +1
Jon H.

Offline scott

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2014, 06:52:13 AM »
What techniques to you do to keep a house strain going for more than 25 years?  Is it re-pitch after re-pitch, followed by yeast washing every now and then?  Or some other technique.
Scott

Offline denny

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2014, 08:53:08 AM »
Low SRM then High SRM.
Low hopped beer then high hopped beer.

I break those 2 rules all the time.  I'm a rebel!
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline denny

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2014, 08:54:37 AM »
Experimentation is, in fact,  one of the most fun and potentially rewarding parts of this hobby.

Hmmmmm....that reminds me of a book....;)
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline cfleisher

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2014, 05:22:27 PM »
Thanks everybody. Never had any issues reusing a yeast cake, but always done styles that are very forgiving when it comes to off-flavors. Looking for a nice clean lager flavor on this one.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2014, 05:26:01 PM »
Low SRM then High SRM.
Low hopped beer then high hopped beer.

I break those 2 rules all the time.  I'm a rebel!
Full disclosure, I have broken all of those at one time or another.  Just rules of thumb, not requirements.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 05:27:32 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline troybinso

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2014, 09:17:51 PM »
Low SRM to High SRM and low ABV to High ABV are ideal but not necessary. Repitching directly in the carboy you just racked out of isn't ideal either, but I have broken these rules as well with no apparent consequences. And I have felt guilty. Especially the dirty carboy full of too much yeast.

You are better off recovering the yeast from the carboy in a jar, cleaning and sanitizing the fermenter and pitching about half or less of the yeast you collected.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2014, 03:31:52 AM »
Low SRM to High SRM and low ABV to High ABV are ideal but not necessary. Repitching directly in the carboy you just racked out of isn't ideal either, but I have broken these rules as well with no apparent consequences. And I have felt guilty. Especially the dirty carboy full of too much yeast.

You are better off recovering the yeast from the carboy in a jar, cleaning and sanitizing the fermenter and pitching about half or less of the yeast you collected.

+1

You can get some phenolics from overpitching - I am over sensitive to picking up clove and smoke when this happens, so I try not to pitch more than half for my lagers.  But I am typically repitching right on the 30 day mark, racking out the beer, cleaning the vessel and racking the wort right back in.  Speidels, by the way - no oxidation with their spigot!
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2014, 04:59:15 AM »
Thanks everybody. Never had any issues reusing a yeast cake, but always done styles that are very forgiving when it comes to off-flavors. Looking for a nice clean lager flavor on this one.

To be honest, I do this for lagers more than ales. If your sanitation is good, then I don't think there's much to worry about.
Eric B.

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Offline denny

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2014, 08:15:26 AM »
Full disclosure, I have broken all of those at one time or another.  Just rules of thumb, not requirements.

To paraphrase Jack Sparrow "they're more like guidelines than rules".
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Online Stevie

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Re: Reusing yeast cake, pros and cons
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2014, 08:31:44 AM »
Full disclosure, I have broken all of those at one time or another.  Just rules of thumb, not requirements.

To paraphrase Jack Sparrow "they're more like guidelines than rules".


Actually that was Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush)  ;)