Author Topic: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock  (Read 1020 times)

Offline 69franx

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Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« on: November 16, 2014, 04:28:55 PM »
One of my next brews will a BCS Bock. I would like to pitch slurry from my BCS Dunkel. I have a couple questions about this, as I have not harvested yeast before. The Dunkel is already lagering, still on the yeast cake, am I correct in assuming this yeast will still be viable for the next batch, or do I need to get it rolling again via a starter. When I plug my numbers into Mr. Malty calc, 6G of 1.071 lager wort, what viability should I be entering? At the default settings for yeast thickness and non yeast %, it yields 337 mL of slurry at 80% viability, and if viability is only 10%, it calls for almost 3L of slurry, a pretty wide spread. So I guess the main question is, what is the rough viability of my slurry after lagering for 2-3 weeks at 34F? Should I rack off the yeast and then warm the yeast up, create a starter, or buy a new vial/pack of yeast? So much to learn...
Frank L.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2014, 05:31:31 PM »
Harvest after the diacetyl rest, before lagering. Viability at that point should be >90% assuming the fermentation was healthy overall. The yeast isn't active at 34°F anyway, so all waiting is going to do is drop the viability/vitality of the harvested yeast.

Slurry from a fermenter averages around 1.5-2 billion/mL. Always better to over-pitch a little though, especially for a lager.
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Offline 69franx

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Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2014, 07:03:23 PM »
Harvest after the diacetyl rest, before lagering. Viability at that point should be >90% assuming the fermentation was healthy overall. The yeast isn't active at 34°F anyway, so all waiting is going to do is drop the viability/vitality of the harvested yeast.

Slurry from a fermenter averages around 1.5-2 billion/mL. Always better to over-pitch a little though, especially for a lager.
So if I have it lagering on the yeast now, I should just plan on a fresh pack of yeast?
Frank L.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2014, 08:29:23 PM »
So if I have it lagering on the yeast now, I should just plan on a fresh pack of yeast?

I'd just harvest ASAP.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2014, 12:22:54 AM »
Is the yeast you are planning on harvesting in a secondary vessel (carboy) lagering or is it still in the primary along with the yeast cake?  I only ask this as I would not harvest yeast for a repitch from a secondary vessel as the health and vitality are not as vibrant as the primary yeast cake cells would be. 

Offline 69franx

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2014, 12:38:56 AM »
The beer is lagering in primary vessel on the cake. Only way for me to harvest is after racking, so I have not been harvesting, in order to skip a possible oxidation contact point


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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2014, 02:14:00 PM »
In the future, you should avoid lagering in the primary.  Racking to a secondary is not going to oxidize your beer.  That's home brewer folklore that's not supported by science. As long as there is yeast in suspension, any oxygen that is picked up during the transfer will be rapidly consumed by the yeast cells that are still in suspension.   The only time that post-fermentation oxidation is becomes a serious problem is after a long period of storage or after filtering.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2014, 02:25:34 PM »
In the future, you should avoid lagering in the primary.  Racking to a secondary is not going to oxidize your beer.  That's home brewer folklore that's not supported by science. As long as there is yeast in suspension, any oxygen that is picked up during the transfer will be rapidly consumed by the yeast cells that are still in suspension.   The only time that post-fermentation oxidation is becomes a serious problem is after a long period of storage or after filtering.
Thanks, S. Good to know. Will put into practice with the next batch in a couple weeks.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2014, 10:56:54 PM »
It sounds like you would benefit from a real life example :

I just last Saturday pitched a ten gallon batch of lager with the slurry from a five gallon batch made from a twice stepped up 1.5 L starter (1.5L x 2 times) using Omega Y-06 lager yeast (2124 equivalent I believe).  I harvested the slurry just moments before pitching at 45-47F and the five gallon batch had been fermenting 2 weeks and finished at 1.008 (no d-rest).  It started fermenting actively within about 5-6 hours at 49F.  I will likely harvest that yeast on the first Saturday in December, split it in half and repitch it into another ten gallon lager batch.

That is pretty much my SOP.  I am making very similar lagers in order to dial in my water using Brunwater.  After several batches and consistent enough results, I will move on to another yeast (often propagating from some slurry that is stored for over a month by going to a starter from the stored slurry). YMMV, of course.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2014, 12:05:17 AM »
In the future, you should avoid lagering in the primary.  Racking to a secondary is not going to oxidize your beer.  That's home brewer folklore that's not supported by science. As long as there is yeast in suspension, any oxygen that is picked up during the transfer will be rapidly consumed by the yeast cells that are still in suspension.   The only time that post-fermentation oxidation is becomes a serious problem is after a long period of storage or after filtering.

Perhaps...but if he is talking about lagering (which typically takes a minimum of 3-4 wks at 35F-40F) then there most definitely can be some oxidation occurring during this time if improper racking takes place.  I know from experience when I used to rack to secondary carboys to lager in before kegging.  I most definitely observed some oxidation in the finished beers here  and there.  I now only use a secondary when adding fruit or brett/bacteria.  Otherwise I go right from primary to keg. 

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2014, 01:38:22 PM »
In the future, you should avoid lagering in the primary.  Racking to a secondary is not going to oxidize your beer.  That's home brewer folklore that's not supported by science. As long as there is yeast in suspension, any oxygen that is picked up during the transfer will be rapidly consumed by the yeast cells that are still in suspension.   The only time that post-fermentation oxidation is becomes a serious problem is after a long period of storage or after filtering.
What about racking unfiltered beer from primary to keg, primary to bottling bucket, bottling bucket to bottle?

Offline 69franx

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2014, 03:54:43 PM »
It sounds like you would benefit from a real life example :

I just last Saturday pitched a ten gallon batch of lager with the slurry from a five gallon batch made from a twice stepped up 1.5 L starter (1.5L x 2 times) using Omega Y-06 lager yeast (2124 equivalent I believe).  I harvested the slurry just moments before pitching at 45-47F and the five gallon batch had been fermenting 2 weeks and finished at 1.008 (no d-rest).  It started fermenting actively within about 5-6 hours at 49F.  I will likely harvest that yeast on the first Saturday in December, split it in half and repitch it into another ten gallon lager batch.

That is pretty much my SOP.  I am making very similar lagers in order to dial in my water using Brunwater.  After several batches and consistent enough results, I will move on to another yeast (often propagating from some slurry that is stored for over a month by going to a starter from the stored slurry). YMMV, of course.
I understand the benefits of re-pitching. I am just trying to figure out how it fits into my lager brewing, with bottling and bottle conditioning the final goal. In your example, you rack onto a fresh cake, but where did the beer from that cake go? Did it get kegged for lagering, or had it already been lagered? As someone just starting to think about re-pitching, I don't want to cause problems in my beers(oxidation, failure to carbonate, etc) just to save a couple bucks on a fresh pitch. Really just trying to understand the best way to get yeast from a lager, pre-lagering(in a bucket) without causing one of the above mentioned issues. As Jim mentioned, my process would potentially involve racking to secondary to enable harvesting, then lager, rack to bottling bucket, rack to bottles. I'm probably just over thinking again...
Frank L.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2014, 07:23:04 PM »
Yes I rack once and only then - directly to a keg.  If I need to bottle, I bottle from the keg.  My understanding is that when bottling, the carbing process causes most of the O2 to be scavenged by the yeast, but if it has already been oxidized when it gets to that point - then there is no reversing it.

That said, you really just need to be slow and careful with your transfers, since you need to free up the primary/harvest the yeast.  Also note that I don't pitch onto a yeast cake, rather I harvest it and re-pitch a portion (or all if I am doubling the batch).  The excess can be used directly on the next batch, if brewed soon, or used as a starter if a long while between brews.  Finally, if you primary in a bucket or other similar container, you can harvest by top cropping at high krausen (though this is really for ales, it is possible to do with lagers).

I didn't  intend to come off as a know it all - so sorry about that.  I just thought laying out the timing and process I use would help you with your decisions....ultimately as everyone here says - try a few different approaches and see what works best for you.  Don't be afraid to rack, but when your equipment budget allows, consider what additional equipment is within reach.  For example I went the multi-keg route rather than the stainless fermenter with a dump valve - that allows me to rotate to through beers and harvest as I go.  Those with a stainless conical can harvest from the bottom without moving the beer and then (some) rack it under pressure to a second vessel that can be CO2 purged to protect the beer.

Good luck and relax on the process - like I have been reminded many times - it's only beer.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2014, 09:53:08 PM »
It sounds like you would benefit from a real life example :

I just last Saturday pitched a ten gallon batch of lager with the slurry from a five gallon batch made from a twice stepped up 1.5 L starter (1.5L x 2 times) using Omega Y-06 lager yeast (2124 equivalent I believe).  I harvested the slurry just moments before pitching at 45-47F and the five gallon batch had been fermenting 2 weeks and finished at 1.008 (no d-rest).  It started fermenting actively within about 5-6 hours at 49F.  I will likely harvest that yeast on the first Saturday in December, split it in half and repitch it into another ten gallon lager batch.

That is pretty much my SOP.  I am making very similar lagers in order to dial in my water using Brunwater.  After several batches and consistent enough results, I will move on to another yeast (often propagating from some slurry that is stored for over a month by going to a starter from the stored slurry). YMMV, of course.
I understand the benefits of re-pitching. I am just trying to figure out how it fits into my lager brewing, with bottling and bottle conditioning the final goal. In your example, you rack onto a fresh cake, but where did the beer from that cake go? Did it get kegged for lagering, or had it already been lagered? As someone just starting to think about re-pitching, I don't want to cause problems in my beers(oxidation, failure to carbonate, etc) just to save a couple bucks on a fresh pitch. Really just trying to understand the best way to get yeast from a lager, pre-lagering(in a bucket) without causing one of the above mentioned issues. As Jim mentioned, my process would potentially involve racking to secondary to enable harvesting, then lager, rack to bottling bucket, rack to bottles. I'm probably just over thinking again...

Yes, I see what you are getting at.  After you ferment your beer in primary at 50F for 2-3 wks or whenever your lager is done, plan to brew your next lager with the same yeast strain either the day you are racking over the first beer or within 2 days of racking your first beer into its lagering stage. 
If you decide to brew your second batch when your first is fully completely done fermenting, then simply rack to another vessel for lagering (preferably a keg) leaving a small amount of beer on the yeast cake so you can swirl up the yeast cake on the bottom.  Put a piece of sanitized foil over your carboy or put the lid back on your plastic bucket to keep out the nasties.  When your second batch is cool, pitch your appropriate amount of yeast from your first fermenter into the cooled wort from that day's brew.  Aerate and ferment. 

If you are racking earlier (a day or two before your second brew day), then simply sanitize a mason jar (or two) and after racking your beer over to a lagering vessel pour your yeast cake slurry into the jars and seal them up (not too tight in case their is some CO2 release) and put them in the fridge until brew day of your next lager.  You should pitch that slurry within 2 days of harvesting it.  Otherwise make a starter from some of it, or start fresh.  Good luck and hope this wasn't redundant or too obvious. 

Offline 69franx

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Re: Slurry pitch for BCS Bock
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2014, 11:42:52 PM »

Yes I rack once and only then - directly to a keg.  If I need to bottle, I bottle from the keg.  My understanding is that when bottling, the carbing process causes most of the O2 to be scavenged by the yeast, but if it has already been oxidized when it gets to that point - then there is no reversing it.

That said, you really just need to be slow and careful with your transfers, since you need to free up the primary/harvest the yeast.  Also note that I don't pitch onto a yeast cake, rather I harvest it and re-pitch a portion (or all if I am doubling the batch).  The excess can be used directly on the next batch, if brewed soon, or used as a starter if a long while between brews.  Finally, if you primary in a bucket or other similar container, you can harvest by top cropping at high krausen (though this is really for ales, it is possible to do with lagers).

I didn't  intend to come off as a know it all - so sorry about that.  I just thought laying out the timing and process I use would help you with your decisions....ultimately as everyone here says - try a few different approaches and see what works best for you.  Don't be afraid to rack, but when your equipment budget allows, consider what additional equipment is within reach.  For example I went the multi-keg route rather than the stainless fermenter with a dump valve - that allows me to rotate to through beers and harvest as I go.  Those with a stainless conical can harvest from the bottom without moving the beer and then (some) rack it under pressure to a second vessel that can be CO2 purged to protect the beer.

Good luck and relax on the process - like I have been reminded many times - it's only beer.
I never thought you sounded like a know it all. I appreciate the help. Mainly just trying to sort through varying opinions on the topic. This batch will no longer be used for the next now, but I will keep all this in mind as I continue my brewing adventure


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Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg: Märzen
In Bottles:  
In the works: