Author Topic: Yeast washing  (Read 3280 times)

Offline denny

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2017, 09:03:54 PM »
One warning if you save yeast without washing. Be sure to use a starter to get the yeast going. I used to save yeast and just dump it into the next batch, but I got some very slow starts that way, allowing an infection to take hold.
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My experience is that if I reuse it within say a month I don't need to restart.  Longer than that and I do.
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Offline denny

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2017, 09:08:28 PM »


A while back I thought I had read that the process needs to remain in a cold environment and that the yeast would need to be used very quickly (like within an hour or two) after washing the yeast using this method because the process was so "hard" on them, and they would quickly lose vitality (and life) if too much time passed between washing and use.  Additionally, how well would the chlorine dioxide need to be rinsed from the washed yeast to ensure no carryover that could result in chlorophenol production.  I may be thinking of a different washing chemical, but I really think it was chlorine dioxide.

As for the commercial vs homebrewer, I can understand it to a point as well.  Commercial practices are generally in place to ensure the upmost quality and stability of the finished product, so I ask myself "why wouldn't I want the same for myself?"  The flip side is that I don't want to lose an eye; ruin my lungs; invest a ton of money; take up a portion of my house with a lab; or product subpar beer simply because a commercial brewer is doing it.  At the same rate, if the process is something as simple as "swishing the yeast in a benign solution a few minutes before using" and there's no risk of bodily/beer harm then I'd try it, and if the results were improvement in the beer then I may continue doing it.  Edit: The little bit of reading I did on chlorine dioxide sure makes it sound like it carries a risk level I wouldn't want to take.

But yeah, just because commercial breweries do things and produce good beer doesn't mean that we have to to produce good beer.

I don't mean to imply that there's never any crossover between home and commercial brewing.  But a commercial breweries goals are different than ours...sure, we both want to make great beer, but they have customers, shipping, shelf stability and a host of other concerns that we don't have.  And the simple fact is that skipping a lot of commercial procedures doesn't translate to subpar beer at home.  And at the homebrew level, it's as easy to ruin yeast by washing it as it is to improve it.  Everybody gets to make their own decision, though.  Having tried saving yeast with rinsing and without, I can't find a justification for me to rinse it.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2017, 09:11:34 PM »
One warning if you save yeast without washing. Be sure to use a starter to get the yeast going. I used to save yeast and just dump it into the next batch, but I got some very slow starts that way, allowing an infection to take hold.
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That depends on how quickly you reuse it.  Definitely if it's older than 1 month I will build a starter.  The older it is, the longer it seems to need to get going again.
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Offline stpug

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2017, 09:22:58 PM »


A while back I thought I had read that the process needs to remain in a cold environment and that the yeast would need to be used very quickly (like within an hour or two) after washing the yeast using this method because the process was so "hard" on them, and they would quickly lose vitality (and life) if too much time passed between washing and use.  Additionally, how well would the chlorine dioxide need to be rinsed from the washed yeast to ensure no carryover that could result in chlorophenol production.  I may be thinking of a different washing chemical, but I really think it was chlorine dioxide.

As for the commercial vs homebrewer, I can understand it to a point as well.  Commercial practices are generally in place to ensure the upmost quality and stability of the finished product, so I ask myself "why wouldn't I want the same for myself?"  The flip side is that I don't want to lose an eye; ruin my lungs; invest a ton of money; take up a portion of my house with a lab; or product subpar beer simply because a commercial brewer is doing it.  At the same rate, if the process is something as simple as "swishing the yeast in a benign solution a few minutes before using" and there's no risk of bodily/beer harm then I'd try it, and if the results were improvement in the beer then I may continue doing it.  Edit: The little bit of reading I did on chlorine dioxide sure makes it sound like it carries a risk level I wouldn't want to take.

But yeah, just because commercial breweries do things and produce good beer doesn't mean that we have to to produce good beer.

I don't mean to imply that there's never any crossover between home and commercial brewing.  But a commercial breweries goals are different than ours...sure, we both want to make great beer, but they have customers, shipping, shelf stability and a host of other concerns that we don't have.  And the simple fact is that skipping a lot of commercial procedures doesn't translate to subpar beer at home.  And at the homebrew level, it's as easy to ruin yeast by washing it as it is to improve it.  Everybody gets to make their own decision, though.  Having tried saving yeast with rinsing and without, I can't find a justification for me to rinse it.

My apologies because I didn't mean to insinuate that skipping commercial procedures translates to subpar beer; I don't think that's the case at all.  Quite the opposite in fact.  My experience is that when I head to grab a beer, I usually have 3-4 taps running as well as a host of commercial craft beers available to me.  99% of the time I pour my own because, well, it's better beer.

And, yeah, the less we can handle the yeast the less our chances of contaminating the yeast, and our future beer.

I did the rinsing thing too for a couple years; washing, never.  The only thing I think I gained from it was a smaller jar in which to store the yeast, but that came at the cost of less yeast  :-\

Offline JT

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2017, 04:14:40 PM »
I'm mostly curious about pitch rates with saved slurry.  How much to use, etc.  I know this was a recent podcast topic, but I don't feel like it was explored enough.  I've been brewing for years now and have yet to save and re-use yeast.  I'm probably over thinking.  Do you repitch it all? Repitch a certain volume? 

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« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 04:16:25 PM by JT »

Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2017, 05:31:50 PM »
One of the yeast calculators (I forget which one) gives a number of 1 billion cells per ml of fresh, densely settled slurry. I've always used that figure, and it has worked well for me.
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Offline stpug

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2017, 06:01:39 PM »
I'm mostly curious about pitch rates with saved slurry.  How much to use, etc.  I know this was a recent podcast topic, but I don't feel like it was explored enough.  I've been brewing for years now and have yet to save and re-use yeast.  I'm probably over thinking.  Do you repitch it all? Repitch a certain volume? 

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I brew a 5 gallon, average gravity ale and assume the cake that remains is ideal for 3 same-volume, average-gravity batches of beer.  You could probably get 5 batches if you wanted or just split into two batches. Adjust usage for gravity and volume.  Basically, find what works for you and roll with it.

Lagers: the cake is suitable for 2 same-volume, average-gravity batches. Again, not too sophisticated but it works for me.

Offline SilverZero

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2017, 07:18:14 PM »
One of the yeast calculators (I forget which one) gives a number of 1 billion cells per ml of fresh, densely settled slurry. I've always used that figure, and it has worked well for me.

I think that's about what I'm operating under as well. Without counting there's no way of knowing. So I just made a couple of "standard-ish" numbers to assume with all my slurry and stuck it to my fridge so I'll remember. I guessed pretty low on viable yeast and pretty high on non-yeast material just to be safe. That's where the "nuclear weapon" analogy comes into play.

Dumping slurry from a fermenter, unless it has been cold crashed and siphoned dry, usually ends up with enough beer of its own to split into about half slurry and half beer in the jar, so I don't need to add any to cover the slurry.

I use 8oz jars and assume that I've got about 50 billion cells in each jar if it's harvested slurry (jars not full, and no washing, so there's a good amount of non-cell material in there). If I overbuild a starter and save that, I assume I've got more like 100 billion cells (about 4oz of dense slurry). That's about 1 billion per mL, which fits what I've seen referenced other places.

I just started harvesting yeast, so I don't have a ton of experience, but my goal is to build a starter if it's past 1 month old, or if I am doing a full 10-gallon batch and don't want to use all of my harvested slurry jars up at once. Maybe I'll do a side-by-side of a starter and a straight pitch at 2 months to see how they compare.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 07:28:26 PM by SilverZero »

Offline redzim

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2017, 08:29:04 PM »
One warning if you save yeast without washing. Be sure to use a starter to get the yeast going. I used to save yeast and just dump it into the next batch, but I got some very slow starts that way, allowing an infection to take hold.
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My experience is that if I reuse it within say a month I don't need to restart.  Longer than that and I do.

I do just this - store slurry under some beer, under refrigeration - and as long as it fresher than 1 month since harvest date, it starts off way faster, with better attenuation, than the first generation.  I have had good luck with the Mr Malty pitching rate calculator.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 08:32:22 PM by redzim »

Offline denny

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2017, 08:31:14 PM »
I brew a 5 gallon, average gravity ale and assume the cake that remains is ideal for 3 same-volume, average-gravity batches of beer.  You could probably get 5 batches if you wanted or just split into two batches. Adjust usage for gravity and volume.  Basically, find what works for you and roll with it.

Lagers: the cake is suitable for 2 same-volume, average-gravity batches. Again, not too sophisticated but it works for me.

Pretty much the same thing I do.  A slurry split 3 ways is great for 3 batches of normal (for me, up to maybe 1.070) ale.  Half a slurry is perfect for lagers or higher gravity ales.  I've stopped using yeast calculators.  I just find them unnecessary.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2017, 09:55:11 PM »
Anecdote alert! Due to a move and several other delays, I was forced to repitch nearly 3-month old slurry (1272) last week. I slightly over-pitched to compensate, 0.90 M/mL-°P, and had visible fermentation inside 24 hours, reached FG on day 5, and have no flavor or aroma flaws that I can detect.
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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2017, 10:34:27 AM »
If you are using a house strain, and you are taking a big style step, washing is important.  What I mean is, if you have a smoked ale, and your going to ferment an American pale ale, wash it.  If you have a highly hopped IPA and want to brew a Brown or wheat ale, wash it.  However, APA to IPA to IIPA who cares.  Not the reverse.  And by the time you get to that IIPA, wait to get 1/2 through the keg or bottles to make a decision on that slurry you saved.

To the side of, yeast is cheap just go buy some new.  Why homebrew? Isn't it cheaper to go buy the craft $10 six pack off the shelf?  Then isn't it cheaper to only brew extract vs all grain, and so on and so on.  Denny I get the point seems to be one more thing on a long list of things to worry about in the homebrewing process.  And to what purpose does it serve the homebrewer to wash yeast.  For me it doesn't take that much effort, and I get excited to have a whole new list of things to learn.  That is why, to me, we all share the greatest hobby there is.

To each his own.  If you want to take a stab at washing yeast there are plenty of places to screw it up, but the same can be said about making your own beer... ;)
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Offline SilverZero

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2017, 01:52:45 PM »
Why homebrew? Isn't it cheaper to go buy the craft $10 six pack off the shelf?

I actually don't think this is true, at least not for me. All said, I think it costs me about 50 cents a bottle to brew my own. And don't give me any of that "what's your time worth?" crap. I'm a teacher - everybody knows my time is worthless. ;)

(I know you're just trying to make a point. I'm just avoiding my to-do list so I thought I'd reply. Sorry to go off-topic.)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 01:54:49 PM by SilverZero »

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2017, 02:08:03 PM »
Why homebrew? Isn't it cheaper to go buy the craft $10 six pack off the shelf?

I actually don't think this is true, at least not for me. All said, I think it costs me about 50 cents a bottle to brew my own. And don't give me any of that "what's your time worth?" crap. I'm a teacher - everybody knows my time is worthless. ;)

(I know you're just trying to make a point. I'm just avoiding my to-do list so I thought I'd reply. Sorry to go off-topic.)
How much did you pay for the equipment?

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Offline stpug

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Re: Yeast washing
« Reply #29 on: March 22, 2017, 04:38:21 PM »
Why homebrew? Isn't it cheaper to go buy the craft $10 six pack off the shelf?

I actually don't think this is true, at least not for me. All said, I think it costs me about 50 cents a bottle to brew my own. And don't give me any of that "what's your time worth?" crap. I'm a teacher - everybody knows my time is worthless. ;)

(I know you're just trying to make a point. I'm just avoiding my to-do list so I thought I'd reply. Sorry to go off-topic.)
How much did you pay for the equipment?

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Just to answer your question from my perspective:

My equipment costs were paid up a looooooong time ago with today's craft beer cost.  A minimum difference of $1.50 per 12oz (homebrew vs commercial).

Let's say I spent $1500.00 on brewing equipment (I didn't; much less).
$1500/$1.50 = 1000 beers worth
1000/50 beers per 5 gallons = 20 batches

So the equipment was paid for on batch 20 (during my first year brewing) if I actually spent $1500 on equipment.  If I spent 3x that on equipment ($4500) it was paid for on batch 60 (end of second year brewing).  AND, this doesn't take into account the extra costs associated with high proof beer, specialty releases, sour beers, belgian beers, russian imperial stouts, etc.  There is HUGE savings in brewing your own beer, assuming you drink it and like it :D
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 04:39:59 PM by stpug »