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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Saving money...washing/reusing yeast
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Old 06-21-2007, 03:47 PM   #1
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Default Saving money...washing/reusing yeast

I have read across the board recently about people wanting to save money. Quite frankly who doesn't? Not only do I want to save some bucks here and there, I think the ways to save will improve my technique, and understanding of things.

I've now already started this saving by (for now) saving my DME containers to get $3 off per extract kit from the LHBS. The guy that works there told me if I brought them back, he'd subtract the cost of the container out of the kit price. That's sweet, how hard is it for me to rinse and sanitize that container to use again....not at all.

So now that brings me to this whole yeast cake, washing yeast, etc technique that I'm very curious about. I've searched a lot, even read the wiki, and still have some questions. I know there are a bunch of you guys who do this, so help me out here with some clarification. Please and thank you!

Here we go:

Washing Yeast - So I have my 'British Pale Ale' in the primary right now. I have to dry hop it tomorrow, and check out its SG. Probably saturday night, or sunday, I'll rack the BPA into its secondary. When I do that, I will have some of that wonderful trub at the bottom of said primary. So what I'll do is add about a half gallon of clean, filtered, and cool water, aggitate the hell out of it, and pour into a clean, sanitized container and let separate. After that, on the BOTTOM of that container, I'll have junk, but what I want is on the TOP? I take that, and transfer the good stuff on top into yet another clean, sanitized container with clean, cool, and filtered water, aggitate the heck out of that and let it seperate. Repeat last step, and let that container sit for a few days to have the yeast fall to the bottom.

Then what? pour off a little water, aggitate, and divide solution of yeast and water equally into seperate sanitized vessels?

Is that only good for putting in the fridge? What if I want to freeze these bad boys? Someone used something as an additive that began with a G before freezing.

Do I need a starter either way, pulling yeast from fridge or freezer?

Starters are another area I have to look into, but if I take yeast strain 123abc, and wash it, the next time I need to use strain 123abc, I can take one of my washed vessels, use a starter a few days before hand, and not have to spend anther $7 on yeast 123abc.....right?


Thanks guys and gals, and if someone wants to interject some humor or sarcasm, feel free, it's one of those days, and I could use a laugh or two with some excellent information!

~G

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Old 06-21-2007, 04:04 PM   #2
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Most of the facts are straight, but...

The water you add to the yeast cake should be boiled and cooled, not tap water. Swirl the heck out of it so the cake is broken up and the yeast is seperated from the trub.

When you swirl and pour it into a sanitized container just let it sit for about 5 mins and you'll see the heavier trub fall out. Pour off the cloudy water (what you want to save) into another container and allow the heavier stuff to fall out some more.

Repeating this process another time should get all of the trub out.

Let it sit overnight and most of the water will/should be clear.

When you want to separate it into smaller batches, I use baby food jars and the vials, pour off 4/5th of the water and re-swirl to get the yeast mixed with the water. Then pour into containers.

Don't forget to label the containers with the strain, date, etc.

For freezing you want glycerine. I'm not sure of the ratio, but someone will chime in.

Make a starter as usual.

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Old 06-21-2007, 04:07 PM   #3
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Sounds like you understand the process pretty well.

The additive you use for freezing the yeast is glycerin.

And yes, you can/should make a starter with your saved yeast, just like with the original.

Lots of good stuff on the Wiki:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind...Freezing_yeast
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind.../Washing_yeast

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Old 06-21-2007, 04:07 PM   #4
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Once you have it separated into the baby food jars how long will it keep in the fridge? I have a beer fridge coming to me this Saturday so I'm going to start washing my yeasts for storage.

EDIT: Nevermind, just read the wiki. Only one month in the fridge, hmmm. I was hoping it'd have a longer shelf life than that.

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Old 06-21-2007, 04:17 PM   #5
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wow, wicked fast responses...thank you all

Ok, so from what I have gathered, I'm on the right track conceptually understanding all of this.

I need to bust out the brew pot and boil some water....ok, mental check!

yeast cake.....stuff at bottom of carboy, or even bottle?

glycerine for freezing....I'll search on that for the ratio

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Old 06-21-2007, 04:18 PM   #6
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Here are a few links on saving yeast for a longer time, but they are a bit more difficult.

http://www.ipass.net/mpdixon/Homebre...ng%20Yeast.htm
http://oz.craftbrewer.org/Library/Me...eastHand.shtml

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Old 06-21-2007, 05:08 PM   #7
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http://www.schwedhelm.net/brew/yeast_harv_freeze.html
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raffie

been skimming there all day today.

starter seems like a must....if there is anything I do this weekend technique wise, it seems like it should be that.

Now, if I want to save my yeast from this weekend.....do I have to wash it ASAP? To clarify, what if I can't find suitable containers by saturday for washed yeast? Can I just save the trub from the primary or what?
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roterdrache
Once you have it separated into the baby food jars how long will it keep in the fridge? I have a beer fridge coming to me this Saturday so I'm going to start washing my yeasts for storage.

EDIT: Nevermind, just read the wiki. Only one month in the fridge, hmmm. I was hoping it'd have a longer shelf life than that.
Hmmm, funny, I just used some yesterday that was dated Sep 06...much longer than 1 month...
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:36 PM   #10
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hmm, I've re-fallen in love with home brewing.

I'm going to the LHBS to get some yeast for EdWorts Apfelwein, some DME and a flask to make starters....so sweet!!!!!

Thanks to all!

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