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Old 11-30-2007, 03:49 PM   #1
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Default Pre-harvesting yeast ???

Ok, this may have been discussed before, but I am not sure exactly how I would even search for it, so I am just going to be lazy and throw out a question and see what kind of answers I get.

I know that most people harvest yeast from the primary because there is SO MUCH of that wonderful stuff in there, but that also means more labor involved in the yeast washing, since you have a larger volume, and hops, etc. to deal with. On top of that, don't you have a greater chance of infection or mutation? I was wondering if anyone out there has taken a cue from sourdough bread bakers.

Instead of harvesting the yeast from the primary, why not just make a slightly larger starter, and keep back part of the starter? Sourdough bakers take their "mother" and add some flour and water to it, let it sit over night, and then put part of that back in the fridge, and keep the rest out for baking with. It seems like washing a pint of unhopped starter would be easier than a carboy of hopped beer.

Thoughts?
Ideas?

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Old 11-30-2007, 03:54 PM   #2
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I reuse yeast from the primary after I rack to secondary. I don't wash it, and by that point it is in fermented beer. Very unlikely to become contaminated. I put it in a sanitized jar in the fridge and use it up to 3 months later.

Making a bigger starter would work, but your primary makes a hell of a lot of yeast.

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Old 11-30-2007, 04:01 PM   #3
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This would work just fine. If you have any extra white labs vials or any other container, you can fill one up from the starter to use for your next starter.

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Old 11-30-2007, 04:01 PM   #4
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This is what I do for all of my yeast. I aliquot some of the cells into 20% glycerol and flash-freeze them for storage.

Yuri has a pretty good protocol on yeast harvesting:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost...4&postcount=56

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Old 11-30-2007, 04:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamjonsharp
This would work just fine. If you have any extra white labs vials or any other container, you can fill one up from the starter to use for your next starter.
I have a ton of pint size canning jars... easy to clean, easy to find more, easy to store in the beer fridge.
I will admit, those little vials do take up less space, but:
1) my LHBS carries Wyeast but not White Labs
2) my canning jars stand up on their own
3) if I need more in a hurry, I can pick up more at any number of places in town
4) it is easier to label the canning jar
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:27 PM   #6
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I "bank" my yeast. I like having two dozen strains of yeast on hand at any time. I also do exactly what you're describing. I makde a starter wort, pitch the yeast, put it on my stirplate and let it sit until it does from brownish wort to a murky solution with visable yeast. I then add more wort and repeat.

I then put the starter in the fridge for two days so the yeast go dormant, decant off the wort to keep the yeast in high concentrations and then transfer them into baby food jars with a 1/3 glycerine solution.

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Old 11-30-2007, 04:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
but I am not sure exactly how I would even search for it

All you have to do is type Yeast Harvesting or Yeast washing into the search function on the menu bar, and you will get dozens upon dozens of results.

Not trying to be a smart a$$ just helping you figure out how to use the search.

Cheers
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:33 PM   #8
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I use yeast slants to culture my yeast. I can inoculate a slant from a single, miniscule drop of yeast slurry. Usually when I open a new smack pack or vial of yeast, I'll inoculate three slants from it before pitching it into a starter. It takes a bit more preparation and some less common equipment (vials, etc) than pouring yeast into baby food jars, but the actual inoculating process is trivially easy - sterilize your wire/loop, open slant, dip and get drop of yeast, smear on slant surface, put cap back on, and continue as usual.

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Old 11-30-2007, 04:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WOP31
All you have to do is type Yeast Harvesting or Yeast washing into the search function on the menu bar, and you will get dozens upon dozens of results.

Not trying to be a smart a$$ just helping you figure out how to use the search.

Cheers
And I in turn am not trying to be one when I say that I am fully capable of USING the search features... my point was more that I was too lazy to read through every thread that has ever been written on harvesting or washing to see if anyone else had ever discussed this particular method for keeping yeast around.
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Old 11-30-2007, 04:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funkenjaeger
It takes a bit more preparation and some less common equipment (vials, etc) than pouring yeast into baby food jars, but the actual inoculating process is trivially easy - sterilize your wire/loop, open slant, dip and get drop of yeast, smear on slant surface, put cap back on, and continue as usual.
Perhaps, but it doesn't sound like as much fun. I'm probably in a slim minority here when I say I actually ENJOY yeast culturing. I'd also wonder if that might not distrupt the ratio of strains in certain yeast blends. I've got a few styles that are ale/lager hybrids, and I think that taking a small sample would potentially throw that mix off. Then again, it's possible that there are plenty of cells in each drop that that's a non-issue.

I wouldn't mind dropping some cash on some decent vials though if only because they're "look" more professional.
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