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Old 06-22-2006, 01:49 PM   #1
cweston
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Default yeast bomb!

I brewed yesterday...

I used some WLP001 slurry harvested from primary about a month ago. I harvested and washed a really large amount of slurry (about 11 oz in a 12 oz beer bottle).

I relieved the pressure on the cap a few times during the couple weeks after harvesting it.

Anyway, I didn't have time to make a starter, and I figured such a large amount of slurry would make for a pretty quick start. Knowing it might foam, I carefully opened the bottle of slurry over my primary bucket.

KABOOM!

Thank God I was in the basement and not in the kitchen, as foamy yeast gunk shot out onto the ceiling. I wasn't sure how much I had lost and how much got into the wort, but the wort was fermenting actively within 10 hours, so I must have gotten a fair amount in there. The yeast smelled like yeast, not like some icky infection. So we'll see.

I put on gloves and safety glasses and took my other yeast slurries outside to open them and check the pressure. One of the others (that I collected more recently) did the exact same thing.

The two things the two bombs had in common was that they were collected from my first two AG batches, and they were a larger amount of slurry than I have previously been able to harvest.

I guess I need to keep them in mason jars or something that will not build up pressure as easily as capped beer bottles.

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Last edited by cweston; 06-22-2006 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:00 PM   #2
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I haven't tried harvesting yeast yet, but can't you put an airlock on the bottles to prevent this exact situation?

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Old 06-22-2006, 02:03 PM   #3
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What you described is what usually happens when you just bottle slurry WITHOUT washing the yeast of it.

When you wash your yeast you need to end up with clear water on top of your yeast. If you have any colored water (actually just thinned out beer) on top of your yeast - it is still fermenting. That's where the pressure comes from.

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Old 06-22-2006, 02:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
I haven't tried harvesting yeast yet, but can't you put an airlock on the bottles to prevent this exact situation?
Yes.

There are some practical problems, though: one might run out of airlocks (not a big deal--they're cheap, just buy more), and a bottle with an airlock on it takes up a lot of room in the fridge.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
What you described is what usually happens when you just bottle slurry WITHOUT washing the yeast of it.

When you wash your yeast you need to end up with clear water on top of your yeast. If you have any colored water (actually just thinned out beer) on top of your yeast it is still fermenting. That's where the pressure comes from.
Yeah--I did wash but apparently I rushed the clarification process.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Yeah--I did wash but apparently I rushed the clarification process.
That's what I thought. It happens.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Yeah--I did wash but apparently I rushed the clarification process.

Is there somewhere I can read up on the "how to" of washing yeast?
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone
Is there somewhere I can read up on the "how to" of washing yeast?
Ask and ye shall receive...

http://www.wyeastlab.com/hbrew/hbyewash.htm
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Old 06-22-2006, 03:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Gracias senor
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:10 PM   #10
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So I may as well ask now, because my searches have not found the exact answer yet:

I was trying to harvest yeast from my first Honey Wheat. I had a good layer of beer left on top of the cake of solids, so I just swirled it all up and poured it into a sanitized plastic 1-gal milk jug, and filled with clean cold water. I covered it with saran wrap and stuck it in the fridge over night.

Today, I find 3 layers:

1) Somewhat cloudy liquid layer, brown-ish and beer smelling.

2) Light layer of solids (very pale tan color)

3) Dark layer of solids.

Where do I go from here? Is the yeast in the liquid part? Is it in the light layer? I'm going out to buy some jars, but which part of this mess am I looking to save?

Help is appreciated, deeply.

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