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Old 04-29-2008, 11:07 PM   #1
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Default racking onto a yeast cake

Wow, if anyone has never tired this, it's amazing. Last night was the first time I had done it. Racked a 1.098 quad from the pot onto a yeast cake of wlp530 from a beer I just racked to secondary and it had taken off in about an hour. Blowoff tube needed in my 7.5 gallon bucket. I was very amazed. I always do starters with liquid yeast, but that's nothing compared to the massive amount of yeast that were on the bottom of the bucket.

Just kind of excited, the airlock is going like a machine gun. I wonder how long it will take to get it down to a FG...

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Old 04-29-2008, 11:12 PM   #2
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I am doing this tonight. Instead of using the whole yeast cake, I just filled up a coffee cup with trub. I want to re-use the yeast, but save some headspace. I still will let it sit for three weeks before bottling. I am using the trub from Edwort's Haus Pale Ale recipe and adding it to a Rye Pale Ale.

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Old 04-29-2008, 11:28 PM   #3
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I haven't done this -- but only because the timing hasn't been right for me (right yeast at right time with freshly emptied fermenter).

I was listening to Jamil's Saison episode last night in which one of the guys from White Labs happened to stop in. The group was saying that they didn't recommend pitching on an entire yeast cake because (as I understood it) you can deny your beer the flavor characteristics that are generated by the parts of the yeast cycle that come before "sugar-processing", e.g. growth, multiplication. It sounded like Jamil was saying that he would get some of the yeast out of there and pitch onto a smaller part of the cake.

I heard (and kind of followed) some other advice given during Jamil's IPA episode where someone was saying they liked to grab yeast from the top of a beer in full Krausen to make a starter. I was brewing the next day and had no yeast on hand. However I did have an IPA brewed the week before that had started kind of slow and had a healthy krausen on top. I popped the lid on the ale pail and used a sterlized measuring cup to pull 3 scoops onto the top of my chilled and aerated wort. (No, I didn't make a starter as was suggested on Jamil) That was definitely one of the quickest and most impressive starts to a ferment that I've seen. Fully churning airlock within 1 to 2 hours. Maybe not the "correct" or even the best way -- and could likely be a challenge to repeat consistently -- but I still find it satisfying :P

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:07 AM   #4
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Is there any flavor/bitterness from the reused yeast cake that will work it's way into the next beer? I plan on brewing an IPA and I think I may use that cake for my stout. If I pull 1-2 cups of slurry, will that affect my stout bitterness?

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Old 04-30-2008, 03:15 AM   #5
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If you're worried about that you can try washing the yeast. There's a good primer on yeast washing that bernie brewer posted here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=41768

Haven't done this either but it seemed pretty simple and would separate the yeast from the original beer.

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Old 04-30-2008, 04:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knowltonm
Is there any flavor/bitterness from the reused yeast cake that will work it's way into the next beer? I plan on brewing an IPA and I think I may use that cake for my stout. If I pull 1-2 cups of slurry, will that affect my stout bitterness?
I poured apple juice (modded apfelwein recipe) on to a whole yeast cake and didn't taste any off flavors / bitterness at all.

i could see the argument that doing so deprives your final product of some nuance, but if you're feeling lazy, it's not the end of the world
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:53 AM   #7
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Well I went from a Dubbel to a Quad, so they are somewhat similar to start with. Next, I figured I needed a ton of yeast since the gravity was so high. Washing the yeast just to have to make a massive starter seems very counter productive.

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Old 04-30-2008, 01:13 PM   #8
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When I last pitched onto a cake I did something new. As I was racking the beer off to secondary I put a HEPA air filter on the other stem of the carboy cap. (The one that came with my oxygenation kit). That way all the air that was being drawn into the primary carboy was sanitized. This might be overkill... but it didn't take any extra time, and keeping all the potential bugs out of your brew will help it store long-term (as in the case of the bigger beers you normally want to put on a yeast cake)

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:51 PM   #9
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I've done this several times. I have used the same carboy and yeast for 4 beers in a row. The yeast was WL001.

On one occasion, I racked from Primary to Seconday on Tuesday. I left about an inch of beer over the yeast cake. Then I put the carboy in my chest cooler (38 degrees) and then pulled it out on Saturday when I brewed again.

I let it come up to room temperature. Poured off the beer. And put the wort right on top. Made a great IPA.

Yeast is the most expensive ingrediant per pound. I don't mind saving $8 per batch. That one vial made 4 beers. I finally poured it out and cleaned the carboy. My next beer is going to be an English Mild and I am going to use WL002 yeast.

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Old 04-30-2008, 04:16 PM   #10
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It does seem like a great money saver, and a great way to get a batch going FAST. I did it for the first time a couple weeks back for a hefeweizen. Actually the second batch was for a buddy. Batch 2 was krausening out the airlock of the 6.5 gal brew bucket!

I also attempted the yeast washing thing (per the wiki) with it after that, so hopefully I'll have hefeweizen all summer long on that single yeast purchase (Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan).

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