Yeast washing- yeast starters?

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Deanwttck
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Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by Deanwttck » 5 years ago

I've watched videos where a person collects all the yeast , etc, after brewing, then washes the yeast, divides it up into 2-3-4 containers, then dumps one of these containers of yeast into their next batch to start fermentation. Am I wrong, but wouldn't there be only a 1/4 (if using one of the 4 containers) of the yeast used in the original batch? I've also watched people using a new packet of yeast,using this yeast in a yeast starter,then pouring that in to start ferm. If you used (as mentioned earlier ) one of these 4 containers in a yeast starter , how do you know if there is enough yeast to get things finished properly? I guess what I'm asking,if you use 1/4 of the original yeast in a yeast starter, do the number of yeast increase in a yeast starter? Also, how long would would the washed yeast be good for,if kept in the fridge? I've looked at some beer recipies that call for two packs of yeast for their brew. It never occurred to me that more than one was ever needed. I live in winnipeg,and at a brew shop i asked how much a good quality liquid yeast was, and he said $15.00,i started looking around for one of those defribulators! Until now all the beer i made was from beer kits that throw in a pack of coopers dry yeast, but i want to get into extract/all grain.Can someone help me out with these questions?

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SeanGodd
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by SeanGodd » 5 years ago

As for washing the yeast I can't help ya because I've never done it. For $15 for liquid yeast I would say more like $5-$10 depending on where you order from. My LHBS sell the wyeast one for $10 but I normally order through toronto brwing and they are about $5. With WLP or Wyeast you have 100Bil cells (roughly) in one vile/Pack. normally this will get you through but if you want optimal use from them you want to make a starter to boost you cell count to optimal pitching count. I use this yeast calc ( http://yeastcalculator.com/ ) and there are many others out there you can use. Some people don't want to go through the hassle of a yeast starter so they just pitch 2 viles/packs instead.
hope this was somewhat helpful. And I am sure someon else on here can comment on you washing and pitching questions.
Cheers!!

Sean Goddard
Head Brewer
Whitewater Brewing Co.

ruf1
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by ruf1 » 5 years ago

when i first started brewing i would use 1 cup of slurry from a lager and pitch into new wort batch, it did work to a point but the more cells you start with the better your beer will be, so stepping up a starter a number of times gives you a better pitching rate and better beer in the end, your harvested yst can be kept for a few months to 4 or 5 mths depending how well you sanitize everything, i wash and split the slurry into 4 jars, top up with sterile water at same temp, crash for a week or 2 , then i decant all of the liquid and keep the cake at the bottom,fill the jars with sterile water at same temp as the cake , fill as much as you can so there is no head space, cap tightly and label with date brewed,date washed, next use will be ? generation, type of yst ETC,ETC. sterile everything , washing vessels,water ,anything that touches the yst. hope this helps you as its worked for me alot. you can use each jar for up to 5 generations greatly reducing your yst costs. :cheers:

ruf1
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by ruf1 » 5 years ago

sorry, you should clik on to warthawgs site and check out his blog thing or search online ,there are hundreds of youtube vids on all forms of brewing sites that show how its done.

kombat
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by kombat » 5 years ago

I regularly reuse my yeast. I transfer the yeast cake into 4 Mason jars (I actually just use jars that previously held pasta sauce from the grocery store, obviously cleaned and sanitized). I then pitch each jar into a 5 gallon batch of beer when needed. The yeast will multiply during the first stage of fermentation (the "lag phase"). I don't even actually bother to wash the yeast - I just pour the entire yeast cake into 4 jars, and each jar is more than enough to ferment another 5 gallon batch.

Of course, sanitation is very important. I clean and sanitize everything that touches the yeast slurry. I'll re-use yeast 4-5 times this way. If I'm pitching a jar of yeast I captured from a previous batch, I don't even bother making a starter. After all, the only purposes of a starter are to ensure the yeast is viable and to build up the necessary cell count. If the yeast is only a couple of months old and the batch I took it from turned out fine, then I assume the viability is good. And pitching 1/4 of a yeast cake is more than enough cells (I actually end up with about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of dense yeast pack in the bottom of each jar, which even by conservative estimates, is several hundred billion cells). So far, every batch I've done this on has taken off vigorously. That said, I also discard any yeast that's been in my fridge for more than 3 months.

ruf1
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by ruf1 » 5 years ago

yes, kombat has good results this way, i tried the split and pitch approach and the 1/4 cake didnt ferment very well, must have been a little on the low side for yst count, had other batches that took off really well, i just feel better doing the extra work and stepping up for lagers, in the end i think most of us get pretty good results and keep a few more dollars in our pockets....cheers

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Warthaug
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by Warthaug » 5 years ago

Deanwttck wrote:I've watched videos where a person collects all the yeast , etc, after brewing, then washes the yeast, divides it up into 2-3-4 containers, then dumps one of these containers of yeast into their next batch to start fermentation. Am I wrong, but wouldn't there be only a 1/4 (if using one of the 4 containers) of the yeast used in the original batch?
The yeast divide to some extent in the beer while they ferment. A beer pitched properly should still get a 4-5 fold increase in yeast numbers. So splitting into 4 is about perfect, in terms of having an appropriate amount to pitch later.

I don't often wash yeast, but I would strongly recommend that if you do, you run the washed yeast through a starter (with stirring and all that). E.G. throw the ~1/4 to 1/2 cup of slurry you get in each jar into 1.5L or so of fresh 1.040 wort. Yeast coming out of a beer are a little stressed, and if you don't occasionally run them through a starter will eventually weaken to the point that they do not ferment well. Using a starter every time prevents this, but you'd probably be safe to do one or two batches in a row without using a starter.

Someone plugged by blog already - I don't actually have anything on yeast washing on there, but there is some info on starters you may find useful.

EDIT: I do have a lot of info on freezing yeast. This is something you may want to consider if your yeast prices remain high, but I'd recommend holding off on this until you are more comfortable handeling yeast and working with starters. I'm preparing some new videos to help people farm yeast at home, so stay tuned....
Deanwttck wrote: I've also watched people using a new packet of yeast,using this yeast in a yeast starter,then pouring that in to start ferm.

I assume these were wyeast smack-packs. Dry yeast normally just need to be briefly rehydrated with water. Smackpacks from Wyeast, and tubes from White Labs (collectively known as "liquid yeast") only provide about 100 billion cells, approximately 1/3rd that normally required for an average ale. The starter allows you to get those numbers up to the proper amounts. Dry yeast (danstar, safale, etc) have more than enough yeast in the packet; the water re-hydration helps them survive being dropped in the beer. Without rehydration you may loose upto 50% of the yeast you pitch.
Deanwttck wrote:If you used (as mentioned earlier ) one of these 4 containers in a yeast starter , how do you know if there is enough yeast to get things finished properly?
You can assume its enjough (it usually is), or you can guestimate based off the thickness of the sedimented yeast layer. There are calculators out there for estimating yeast numbers in sedimented yeast.
Deanwttck wrote: I guess what I'm asking,if you use 1/4 of the original yeast in a yeast starter, do the number of yeast increase in a yeast starter? Also, how long would would the washed yeast be good for,if kept in the fridge? I've looked at some beer recipies that call for two packs of yeast for their brew. It never occurred to me that more than one was ever needed. I live in winnipeg,and at a brew shop i asked how much a good quality liquid yeast was, and he said $15.00,i started looking around for one of those defribulators! Until now all the beer i made was from beer kits that throw in a pack of coopers dry yeast, but i want to get into extract/all grain.Can someone help me out with these questions?
$15 is a lot for liquid yeast; ontariobeerkegs can probably mail you a vial for a few dollars less. OBK sells out of shop for $7 or $8 (I think).

Bryan
Visit my blog at suigenerisbrewing.com. Homebrewing, yeast wrangling, wild yeast and more!

ruf1
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by ruf1 » 5 years ago

there you have exellent info from the pro, and i think OBK has a slew of wyeast smackpaks for under 6.00 ale and lager yeast. :D.....and sorry warthawg, i thought your site had yeast washing info, my mistake. :D

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SeanGodd
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by SeanGodd » 5 years ago

I have a question. Is there any strain of yeast that isn't great to wash and re-pitch? And how many generations should I go for?
Cheers!!

Sean Goddard
Head Brewer
Whitewater Brewing Co.

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Warthaug
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Re: Yeast washing- yeast starters?

Post by Warthaug » 5 years ago

There is no particular strain I know of which is bad for washing/re-pitching, but the beer you brew can impact on this. Yeast that spends a lot of time beneath beer (more than 3 weeks) or which is used to ferment a strong beer (8%+) will have lower viability and should not be reused. If you must reuse, these yeasts must be run through a starter.

In terms of generations, the answer is 'it depends'. If you are not running the yeast through a starter every 2-3 generations you shouldn't use it more than 4-5, assuming normal strength beers. Without an oygenated starter the yeast will run out of unsaturated fatty acids and sterols, leading to poor fermentation after the 4th or 5th generation.

If you are using a starter you can, in theory, propagate the yeast indefinitely (barring infection, etc). But as a rule you don't want to go past 10-ish generations, as the accumulation of mutations will alter the yeast flavour profile, leading it to produce a beer that tastes different (and may have other differences in things like inoculation or attenuation) compared to the parental strain. Some people deliberately go past 10 generations in order to get a "house strain" of yeast, in which the unique characteristics that develop in the yeast become their house flavour.

If you want to propagate a yeast indefinitely without flavour drift you need to use frozen stocks - this way you can keep a low-division frozen stock as your 'base', and grow batches of yeast from that. This keeps the generation numbers low - but obviously requires a great deal of yeast-handling experience and some investment into equipment.

Bryan
Visit my blog at suigenerisbrewing.com. Homebrewing, yeast wrangling, wild yeast and more!

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