Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
Just in the fridge. I have sucessfully used yeast that was expired over 1 year old!
I did have to make a starter about 4-5 days sooner than brewing, but I always plan for that. Following my own preaching...NEVER brew a batch without making a starter first to make sure the yeast is alive and good.
As for splitting a larger starter, I've done that, but you really end up with more yeast if you wash it from the primary. I've made a starter and re-filled the vial the yeast came in, but I did not split it into 4.
Dating your yeast samples is key to using the oldest first. Sometimes I'll combine 2-3 baby food jars into 1 batch just to use them because of the date, but I didn't have to...I ended up with new washed yeast after that batch anyway, just another generation.
I was listening to an old Basic Brewing Radio podcast where the interviewed Charlie Papazian. In 1983 he was asked to make a special brew for a brewery. Instead of using dry yeast (only thing that was available to homebrewers) he got a big culture from a brewery (wouldn't say who, it is in his book). After brewing this special beer he saved some of the yeast.
He has been using the same strain of yeast since then...for 23 YEARS
!! (OK, many will argue that it isn't the same
stain but...). Uses this yeast for lagers and ales. This strain is probably older than I am (born late '83).
He said that it got infected with some wild yeast a few years back so he put it in some wort, let it ferment, and left it there for 2-3 years. Decided to try it out, all wild yeast gone, and fermenting cleanly. He said it is the only yeast he really uses now, likes to experiment with malt/hops more now. Also said he sent it out to White Labs for analysis, they said they couldn't believe how clean it was.
Something to works toward.