Author Topic: Banking Yeast  (Read 1594 times)

Offline crakers540

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Banking Yeast
« on: November 17, 2016, 01:00:57 AM »
Has anyone had experience with propagating and banking yeast cultures for future use?  I would like to have an alternative to always buying a pack of yeast for each brew day.  I generally use the same yeast strains for my beers.
I have read a few articles on doing this.  I have extensive experience in banking bacteria, but do not know if yeast behave differently when grown in culture, aliquoted into several sterile conical tubes, and then stored in a home freezer for several months (frost free). 
I came across this article on HomeBrew Talk.  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/freezing-yeast.html
I was used to using 50% glycerin final concentration, but this article states that 10% works better.

Any suggestions?  Any experience with doing this?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2016, 01:20:05 AM »
I don't do it because it is another hobby on its own and not worth the effort for me. I save slurry and I am very happy with my results. If you are using one strain, slurry will do you fine.

Offline crakers540

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2016, 02:07:29 AM »
ok, how long can I keep slurry before I need to use it?  Do I need to pitch it straight away into another wort?  I have placed slurry into a sanitized jar, kept it for a few weeks in a refrigerator, pitched it, and had no apparent fermentation after 24 hours.

How do you save your slurry?

Offline Stevie

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Banking Yeast
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 02:13:58 AM »
I generally get about half a liter of slurry out of a typical low to mid gravity fermentation. This goes into two pint jars with the left over beer. If I use it in less than two weeks, I pitch a jar. If I use it past two week I decant and pitch about 100ml into a starter.

Offline mainebrewer

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 10:24:14 AM »
I save yeast in mason jars, keep it in the 'fridge and regularly pitch it up to 4 weeks after harvesting it.
I've not experienced any fermentation issues while doing this.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2016, 12:11:51 PM »
I've done it in the past, but I've stopped for the time being...there's a serious mold issue in the unit underneath us I'm just not going to bother till it's resolved.

If you search around for posts from "S. Cerevisiae" on this forum you'll find a lot of good info on yeast banking.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2016, 12:50:04 PM »
I am a slurry saver in Mason jars too. Just put the cover on likely. I generally don't get a chance to Brew with the same yeast in a short time so I just make a starter from a tablespoon of slurry and it works great. I just used some 1450 this way that was last used in March and it was fine.
I use pint jars but I'm thinking of using 8 ounce jars to save room since I only need a little to make a starter.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2016, 02:34:22 PM »
I don't want to discourage you from banking yeast, I just want you to understand that it is a lot of effort and there is easier ways if you brew often and with the same strains.

Offline pete b

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2016, 02:39:54 PM »
I don't want to discourage you from banking yeast, I just want you to understand that it is a lot of effort and there is easier ways if you brew often and with the same strains.
Same here, but the stated reason is not having to buy yeast every time, in which case simply saving slurry is the simplest and cheapest way to go.
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Offline Todd H.

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2016, 03:19:02 PM »
I came across this article on HomeBrew Talk.  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/freezing-yeast.html
I was used to using 50% glycerin final concentration, but this article states that 10% works better.

Any suggestions?  Any experience with doing this?

Back when I was in grad school, we added equal volumes of saturated yeast culture to sterile 30% glycerol, for a final concentration of 15% glycerol.  We kept our glycerol stocks at -80C.  I'm sure -20C works too, but you'd probably want to remake your stock yearly or something.  At -80C it will last a lifetime.
Alternatively, if you have YPD plates, you can grow your cells on the plate, then scrape as many as possible off with a sterile toothpick or something, and inoculate your 15% glycerol that way.

If you can store bacteria, you can store yeast.

That said, repitching slurries is easier.  Even if you let it go months in your fridge, lots of cells will be alive.  Yeast are not as delicate as you may have been led to believe.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 03:27:15 PM by Todd H. »

Offline narcout

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2016, 05:05:19 PM »
If you search around for posts from "S. Cerevisiae" on this forum you'll find a lot of good info on yeast banking.

A lot of the info can be found in this thread: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=24596.0
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2016, 05:07:09 PM »
When I buy a liquid yeast culture I make a starter larger than what I need for the batch. I pitch the necessary amount into the wort and transfer the remaining yeast to a mason jar. Then I can repeat that process with each subsequent beer and keep a clean culture. Sometimes I harvest the slurry from that first beer and do the same thing so I have a working line of the yeast and a clean backup.

Much earlier in my homebrewing I banked some strains. It wasn't too much work but it wasn't worth my time. I have strains in my parents' chest freezer probably six years old now that I never went back and used. I tend to use the same handful of strains for long enough that I can just work from slurry and after a year or so often want to try out a different strain.
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Offline 802Chris

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2016, 05:58:09 PM »
+1 for overbuilding starter or saving/pitching slurry. With the combination of these two, I now only buy new yeast if I want to have a new strain on hand. Check out the Brulosophy blog, they have a great write up for overbuilding starters.

Offline crakers540

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2016, 02:04:44 AM »
Thanks for all the replies.  I will try to bank some yeast this winter and post my techniques and outcomes.  I plan on trying the glycerol/slurry thing using sterile 50ml conical tubes with a final glycerol concentration of around 12%, then freezing in a standard freezer at around -20F.

Offline james.rodriguez6

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Re: Banking Yeast
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2016, 02:37:49 PM »
Thanks for all the replies.  I will try to bank some yeast this winter and post my techniques and outcomes.  I plan on trying the glycerol/slurry thing using sterile 50ml conical tubes with a final glycerol concentration of around 12%, then freezing in a standard freezer at around -20F.


http://bootlegbiology.com/diy/banking-microbes/

Check out the whole site. I start by plating my sour strains to separate out the different bugs. I do this because I have collected dregs from bottle conditioned sours that I really like and I want to combine features of one sour strain with features of another. I have also collected some bugs from my pear tree. Once I have the strains plated and the bugs separated,  I combine the ones I want onto an agar slant for longer keeping. You can figure out what the taste differences are by making a mini beer (500ml).

Since the agar slant is made up of the combo of bugs, I just propagate that via stir plate by stepping it up every 24hrs. Yes, the different bugs have different propagation rates and I will get more bug X than I will of bug Y, but I find that it all balances out when you're fermenting it for 6-9months or sometimes even longer.

For single strain beers (i.e. Wyeast 1056, etc) I just pitch the yeast cake from a previous batch. After I cold crash my beer, I take the yeast cake and toss it on a stir plate with some fresh wort with OG around 1.040. Let that go for about a day and pitch it.



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