Author Topic: Harvesting some yeast  (Read 976 times)

Offline jaftak22

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Harvesting some yeast
« on: July 02, 2015, 03:17:56 AM »
So I have had this idea for a while and I wanted to try it out.


So I am brewing a 2.5 gallon batch of a Amber Ale to see if this works. I took the o-ring off of a bottling bucket and put it the top of a mason jar. I am going to boil enough water to fill the mason jar up about half way. So in theory the yeast coming out of the blow-off tube will go into a clean sanitary environment. Thoughts, concerns or advice?

Offline jaftak22

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2015, 03:23:04 AM »
Well photo issues, but the tubing will go from the carboy to the mason jar and through the o ring. I plan on boiling the mason jar and then boiling the water. It should work. Hopefully the fermentation will be crazy enough to push yeast through the tubing. Maybe a little yeast nutrient will help. I am using US-05

Offline Stevie

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2015, 03:52:15 AM »
The idea is similar to a pseudo Burton Union system. Google Homebrew Burton Union. I've wanted to make one for a while, but very low priority for me.

From what Mark has said, water might be a bad idea as the pH will not be low enough to prevent unwanted organisms.

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2015, 04:09:12 AM »
Setting up a union-like recovery tank is not much more difficult, and one can do away with the water.  The wort returns, but most of the yeast stays.  Here's an easy to build union-like recovery tank that someone on the net built:


Offline jaftak22

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2015, 04:28:48 AM »
PH levels make sense. Yeast is just so frickin expensive up here in Alaska. Just thinking of ways to save money. Is it possible to just make a starter 500ml bigger than needed and put that into a mason jar?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2015, 04:51:11 AM »

PH levels make sense. Yeast is just so frickin expensive up here in Alaska. Just thinking of ways to save money. Is it possible to just make a starter 500ml bigger than needed and put that into a mason jar?
Done that many times. Just be certain your process is sanitary.

Offline flars

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2015, 06:19:45 AM »
So I have had this idea for a while and I wanted to try it out.


So I am brewing a 2.5 gallon batch of a Amber Ale to see if this works. I took the o-ring off of a bottling bucket and put it the top of a mason jar. I am going to boil enough water to fill the mason jar up about half way. So in theory the yeast coming out of the blow-off tube will go into a clean sanitary environment. Thoughts, concerns or advice?
I have just harvested WY3787 through the blow off tube.  Large pickle jar with some well water.  Cold crashed the collection jar after I replaced the blow off tube with an air lock on the primary.  Decanted and added 500ml of starter wort to have the yeast stored under beer.  Have 250 ml of compacted yeast in a quart mason jar.  I'll also harvest from the primary in a few weeks. 

May have been risky using well water in the collection jar, but never had an infection before, or maybe not yet, from not boiling well water for brewing.

Offline HydraulicSammich

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2015, 12:44:22 PM »
Check out Tom Schmidlins article in Zymurgy Jan/Feb 2011
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Offline The Fat Jedi

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2015, 01:03:02 PM »
Excellent. I have all the Zymurgy publications, so I'll take a look! Thanks buddy.


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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2015, 01:12:58 PM »
PH levels make sense. Yeast is just so frickin expensive up here in Alaska. Just thinking of ways to save money. Is it possible to just make a starter 500ml bigger than needed and put that into a mason jar?

Have you considered cropping and repitching?  It's brain dead simple.  There's no need to rinse yeast with water.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2015, 01:55:55 PM »
PH levels make sense. Yeast is just so frickin expensive up here in Alaska. Just thinking of ways to save money. Is it possible to just make a starter 500ml bigger than needed and put that into a mason jar?

This is what I do pretty much every batch. It's the healthiest yeast in my brewing process and if spare yeast is going to end up in a mason jar anyway it might as well get there without going through the beer and all the other opportunities to pick up uninvited guests.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2015, 03:08:29 PM »
This is what I do pretty much every batch. It's the healthiest yeast in my brewing process and if spare yeast is going to end up in a mason jar anyway it might as well get there without going through the beer and all the other opportunities to pick up uninvited guests.

I see home brewers make this incorrect assumption all of the time. However, nothing could be further from the truth.  Unless one is performing aseptic transfers into wort that was autoclaved in the vessel in which the yeast is propagated and stored, pitching a starter from a starter provides little to no advantage from a contamination point of view over serial repitching from normal gravity (sub-6% ABV) batches.  Boiled starter wort is not sterile, and neither is a sanitized or boiled starter vessel.

Additionally, let's compare the vitality of yeast cropped from a 1.050 batch of wort that was pitched with the cells from a 1L starter and yeast cropped from pitching a 1.5L starter with the yeast cropped from 500ml taken from a 1.5L starter. The maximum cell density (a.k.a. saturation point) for 1L of wort is approximately 200 billion cells (the value is approximate due to the varying size of yeast cells).  If we crop 500ml from a 1.5L saturated starter, we are starting with roughly 100 billion yeast cells.  When pitched into 1.5L of starter of wort, 100 billion cells has to double log(300 / 100) / log(2) = 1.6 times to reach saturation.  Now, let's compare and contrast that figure with pitching 200 billion cells into 5 gallons of wort.  Five gallons of wort is 19L; hence, maximum cell density is 19 x 200 billion = 3.8 trillion cells.  With a maximum cell density of 3.8 trilllion cells, 200 billion cells has to double log(3,800 / 200) / log(2) = 4.24 times.  Guess what happens if we serially repitch a starter versus serially repitching yeast cropped from a normal gravity beer?  If you guessed that the yeast culture loses vitality more rapidly, then you are correct.

Now, I know that some of you are saying to yourselves, "Mark must be delusional.  We routinely ferment batches with 1L starters that were pitched with 100 billion cells from a White Labs vial, and the batch ferments well." Well, the difference is that the 100 billion cells from the White Labs vial came from a yeast propagator that was inoculated with a small seed culture; hence, the cells in a White Labs vial are mostly young cells. Therein, lies the difference between cropped yeast of any kind of lab grown yeast. 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 05:35:23 PM by S. cerevisiae »

Offline jaftak22

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2015, 03:32:38 PM »
This is what I do pretty much every batch. It's the healthiest yeast in my brewing process and if spare yeast is going to end up in a mason jar anyway it might as well get there without going through the beer and all the other opportunities to pick up uninvited guests.

I see home brewers make this incorrect assumption all of the time. However, nothing could be further from the truth.  Unless one is performing aseptic transfers into wort that was autoclaved in the vessel in which the yeast is propagated and stored, pitching a starter from a starter provides little to no advantage from a contamination point of view over serial repitching from normal gravity (sub-6% ABV) batches.  Boiled starter wort is not sterile, and neither is a sanitized or boiled starter vessel.

Additionally, let's compare the vitality of yeast cropped from a 1.050 batch of wort that was pitched with the cells from a 1L starter and yeast cropped from pitching a 1.5L starter with the yeast cropped from 500ml taken from a 1.5L starter. The maximum cell density (a.k.a. saturation point) for 1L of wort is approximately 200 billion cells (the value is approximate due to the varying size of yeast cells).  If we crop 500ml from a 1.5L saturated starter, we are starting with roughly 100 billion yeast cells.  When pitched into 1.5L of starter of wort, 100 billion cells has to double log(300 / 100) / log(2) = 1.6 times to reach saturation.  Now, let's compare and contrast that figure with pitching 200 billion cells into 5 gallons of wort.  Five gallons of wort is 19L; hence, maximum cell density is 19 x 200 billion = 3.8 trillion cells.  With a maximum cell density of 3.8 trilllion cells, 200 billion cells has to double log(3,800 / 200) / log(2) = 4.24 times.  Guess what happens if we serially repitch a starter versus serially repitching yeast cropped from a normal gravity beer?  If you guessed that the yeast culture loses vitality more rapidly, then you are correct.

Now, I know that some of you are saying to yourselves, "Mark must be delusional.  We routinely ferment batches with 1L starters that were pitched with 100 billion cells from a White Labs vial, and the batch ferments well." Well, the difference is that the 100 billion cells from the White Labs vial came a yeast propagator was inoculated with a small seed culture; hence, the cells in a White Labs vial are mostly young cells. Therein, lies the difference between cropped yeast of any kind and lab grown yeast.

Wow. That's quite an explanation. I had to read it twice just to make sure I got it all. Isn't it almost impossible to create a 100% sterile environment as a homebrewer? I clean and use Starsan like a lot of people on here do to create a sterile environment. If this isn't the best of most effective way shed some light!!

Offline jaftak22

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2015, 03:35:26 PM »
PH levels make sense. Yeast is just so frickin expensive up here in Alaska. Just thinking of ways to save money. Is it possible to just make a starter 500ml bigger than needed and put that into a mason jar?

Have you considered cropping and repitching?  It's brain dead simple.  There's no need to rinse yeast with water.
No I haven't ever tried that before. I ferment in glass as of right now. Just to clarify are you talking a out taking yeast off of the Krausen of a fermenting beer?

Offline narcout

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Re: Harvesting some yeast
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2015, 04:18:33 PM »
Guess what happens if we serially repitch a starter versus serially repitching yeast cropped from a normal gravity beer?  If you guessed that the yeast culture loses vitality more rapidly, then you are correct.

If you are serially repitching, do some of the cells from the original generation stick around for subsequent fermentations?  At what point do the cells from the original generation die off to be replaced completely by newer cells? 
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