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Old 02-26-2006, 02:10 AM   #1
digdan
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Default Revitalizing Aging Yeast

I keep all the yeast my beers produce to shave a couple dollars off my brewing costs.

I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas on how to revitalize aging yeast? The simplest way possible would be great. I have a few cultures that I havn't used in awhile and they will by dying soon.

I currently keep them in test tubes with foam plugs.

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Old 02-26-2006, 12:45 PM   #2
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Make a small starter of well aerated 1.030 - 1.040 wort. Add some yeast vitamins or yeast food to it, if you have. But due to the potentially very small amount of viable yeast, you have to be very careful about sanitation. I suggest using a clear glass beer bottle (so you can see what's going on). In a big pot sanitize the bottle by boiling in water. In another pot boil the 5-6 oz of wort for about 10 min. Then pour the hot wort in the hot bottle (there is no temp shock, so the bottle won't break) and cap with a sterile piece of tin foil (sterilizing over is gas flame is easiest for me byt rubbing alcohol works well too). Now let the wort cool.

Once it is cool you can shake it to aerate it and pitch in the yeast. Now you wait. Once you have active fermentation you can step up to a bigger starter or store this yeast once it is done fermenting the small starter.

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Old 02-26-2006, 04:47 PM   #3
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Is it really worth the trouble? If you are saving yeast because of some procedural purity or you love how a certain strain makes your beer taste, I get it. But at least around here, a packet of dry yeast goes for about a buck, or maybe two cents a bottle.

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Old 02-26-2006, 05:08 PM   #4
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I think it is worth the trouble. I'v only saved around $40 so far, and I invested that much into lab equipment to get this rolling. The best part is that I have a nice selection of yeast on hand. Eventually the yeast will mutate into its own distinctive strain giving its own distinctive flavor profile. Or I can mix and match strains... that gives me even more control over my final product.

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Old 02-26-2006, 05:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM
Is it really worth the trouble? If you are saving yeast because of some procedural purity or you love how a certain strain makes your beer taste, I get it. But at least around here, a packet of dry yeast goes for about a buck, or maybe two cents a bottle.


Most people who save yeast, are saving the liquid variety, which is about 7 dollars a vial or smack pack. There is a much larger variety of liquid yeasts, than there are dry. Though the latter seems to be changing some.
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Old 02-27-2006, 07:09 PM   #6
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I see. Thanks. It does go beyond just the dollars, and I've only used dry. I am curious enough to ask my HBS guy about liquid yeasts and their utility. But at seven bucks a vial, I agree that cost is a legitimate issue.

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Old 02-28-2006, 06:45 PM   #7
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Farming yeast for a while would also increase self-reliance if you're into that kind of thing. I like being able to do stuff without having to depend 100% on a HBS, maybe just like 90% Depending on how many batches you make, you can save a good bit of money, considering what a half decent vial of liquid yeast goes for. I pitched a starter last night in a borosilicate Erlenmeyer flask, and it's going quite strongly. I intend to divide it a couple of times and reuse x number of times if I can keep the culture strong. (I haven't reused beer yeast before in this fashion). You just have to be really careful about sanitation...the more that you split up the yeast, the more opportunity that there is to get an infection! If there's any significant doubt, pitch the yeast...in the garbage can.

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