Author Topic: using old yeast  (Read 1566 times)

Offline rbclay

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Northfield, MN
    • View Profile
using old yeast
« on: October 08, 2011, 12:07:16 PM »
so i'm trying to revive a couple packs that are old. both are the West Yorkshire strain. one pack 12 months old, the other 8 months old. best estimate is that they have 10-15% viability maybe. i made a 1.5L 1035sg starter. i was planning to pitch just one pack, but then i figured since they are both old i'll pitch both.
 
i'm using a stir plate. i've only used it a couple times, with slurry or newer yeast. usually have the starter on there 12-20 hours, then cold crash, decant and pitch. always been successful and had a decent amount pitched.
 
should i expect this starter to take longer since there are so few viable yeast? it has been on almost 12 hours and it really doesn't look like other starters had at this point. i did use fermcap because i've had other starters go over. perhaps that is why the appearance isn't the same - i would expect some visible signs by now.
 
i did toss a starter once before when trying to revive a really old and previously frozen pack. but most starters have been great.
 
of course i see now that West Yorkshire is available again as this quarters' VSS release... sounds like a test is in order...
Randy Clay
Milltown Mashers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/404574082932834/
BJCP Certified

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3151
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 12:12:50 PM »
should i expect this starter to take longer since there are so few viable yeast?

Yes. When starting with that small an amount of yeast, I'd use 250 mL or 500 mL as a first stage.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8677
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2011, 12:16:40 PM »
There can be a longer lag time with old yeast. Let it ferment out and then cold crash as you would normally do. Usually with an older yeast, I like to start out with a small starter and build it up to the desired volume to avoid stressing the smaller amount of viable yeast. I think you'll be fine as long as you have some viable yeast.
Ron Price

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11626
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2011, 01:33:17 PM »
Yes. When starting with that small an amount of yeast, I'd use 250 mL or 500 mL as a first stage.

My experience bears this out.  I've successfully started a 3 1/2 year old pack, but I started in less that 500 ml. of 1.030 wort and stepped it up several times before it was ready to use.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline The Professor

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 769
  • "In the next life, you're on your own"
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2011, 06:21:36 PM »
Yes. When starting with that small an amount of yeast, I'd use 250 mL or 500 mL as a first stage.

My experience bears this out.  I've successfully started a 3 1/2 year old pack, but I started in less that 500 ml. of 1.030 wort and stepped it up several times before it was ready to use.

Ditto here.  I think the oldest one I ever restarted was probably 2 years old, but by building it up with a small starter (around 250-300mL)  it was fine.  Getting it going was a tad slow, but once it started and I eventually got up to pitching quantity, it was fine and (to me) no different from using a fresh pack.
AL
New Brunswick, NJ
[499.6, 101.2] Apparent Rennerian
Homebrewer since July 1971

Offline rbclay

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Northfield, MN
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2011, 06:56:54 PM »
thanks everyone. it hadn't occured to me to start small and build up. i will certainly do that in the future, if and when i'm holding year old yeast!
but i'm going to be a trooper and brew tonight anyhow. i'll just do a different beer and use some other yeast i have. i am going to let this starter go a couple days to see if it eventually yields some yeast.
Randy Clay
Milltown Mashers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/404574082932834/
BJCP Certified

Offline davidgzach

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1498
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2011, 07:23:17 AM »
Please report back.  Good to know how this worked out......

Dave
Dave Zach

Offline rbclay

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Northfield, MN
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2011, 02:24:46 PM »



These are 2 pics of the same starter. One with a flash, one without. This is after 54 hours on a stir plate, then another 10 without stirring so I could see what would start to settle. I am going to cold crash it now to settle more out and then decant and pitch after I brew tonight. I think it should be fine. Definitely like the advice to start with a smaller starter and step up when using old yeast.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 02:56:31 PM by rbclay »
Randy Clay
Milltown Mashers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/404574082932834/
BJCP Certified

Offline rbclay

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Northfield, MN
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2011, 02:58:09 PM »


try this again...
Randy Clay
Milltown Mashers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/404574082932834/
BJCP Certified

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3151
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2011, 04:23:39 PM »
try this again...

You'll need to upload them to a service that allows you to share the photos, like imgur or photobucket.

But looking at the picture, I'd give it more time. It doesn't seem to be finished fermenting.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline rbclay

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Northfield, MN
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2011, 04:49:04 PM »
i uploaded them from Shutterfly. not sure why they aren't showing up. how did you get them?!?
Randy Clay
Milltown Mashers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/404574082932834/
BJCP Certified

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3151
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2011, 04:55:54 PM »
i uploaded them from Shutterfly. not sure why they aren't showing up. how did you get them?!?

I followed the URL you posted originally: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AYsW7Rszasmj0w.

That isn't the URL of an image, so you can't drop it into the SMF "img" tags and have it work. After a minute poking around your Shutterfly page, I can't see any way to extract a valid image URL. They may not allow it, or it may be something that only the image uploader can access. Since they're a service that primarily exists to sell photos, my guess is they simply don't allow it.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline rbclay

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Northfield, MN
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2011, 04:59:43 PM »
thanks for your help, sean!
Randy Clay
Milltown Mashers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/404574082932834/
BJCP Certified

Offline rbclay

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
  • Northfield, MN
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2011, 05:09:53 PM »
how can you tell when a starter is done? i was thinking that since it started to drop clear, it was probably done. since i used fermcap, i figured i was giving up the typical sign of seeing any type of krausen, so seeing that rise and fall was out.
it doesn't seem worth taking gravity readings. i've never heard that to be necessary or practical. i don't have a refractometer, just the floating variety, so taking a 5oz sample from a starter isn't going to happen. i've made successful starters before, but the yeast was always much fresher and, based on Mr. Malty, going for 12-18 hours on a stir plate always worked for me.
Randy Clay
Milltown Mashers
https://www.facebook.com/groups/404574082932834/
BJCP Certified

Offline hokerer

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2634
  • Manassas, VA
    • View Profile
Re: using old yeast
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2011, 06:14:50 PM »
It's a funky URL but it looks like it works...

Joe