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Old 07-13-2009, 12:12 PM   #1
lyacovett
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Default Yeast Propagation

I have been trying to figure out how to lower the cost of my brews. I came up with 2 solutions, cut down/out the extract, and propagate yeast. I have harvested yeast from a hefe, and an amber ale. I seem to have a good bit of yeast from those batches. I am about ready to brew up a nut brown and bought some WLP005. I decided to try and propagate this to get some extra yeast.

I mixed 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup dme. All fermented just fine, after 3 days fermenting, I put in the fridge to let the yeast settle, so I can decant off the old beer. My questions are:

Should I really expect this to make a decent amount of yeast, or is this way to small scale?

How much trub should I expect on this? It seems that there is much more trub than yeast ... but maybe I just can't tell the difference.

How long should I expect to wait for all of the yeast to settle out? Its been a little under 2 days, and still seems cloudy ... when shuld I decant the beer?


Thanks for the help.

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Old 07-13-2009, 12:48 PM   #2
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Those are the two ways I am going. I harvest my yeast when I can from primary fermentation. I do the yeast washing as indicated in the yeast washing thread and my slurry is about an inch thick at the bottom of beer bottles. From there I'll make a starter.

You know what's stupid though. For big brews the DME for a starter alone can run close to $5. My house ales I can get away with a 2qt starter with 1/2# DME. That saves like $4.

Two typical APAs
3oz hops - $12
6+lbs DME - $30
Wyeast - $7
Total - $49

Or....
3oz bulk hops - $5
10# grain - $20
Re-used yeast w/ starter - $2.50
Total $27.50

You can even save more if you start buying grain in bulk and milling it yourself.

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Old 07-13-2009, 03:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyacovett View Post
Should I really expect this to make a decent amount of yeast, or is this way to small scale?
With agitation (manual or stirplate) and stepping up you can increase any amount of yeast you have into any amount you want.

Mr Malty's yeast pitch calculator may be helpful in deciding when you have "enough" yeast.
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:19 PM   #4
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If you all-grain it, you can save the final runnings, freeze and use for starter wort later, too. That'll cut costs, even if you don't get ALL your 1.040 from the runnings, it contributes a good part anyway.

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Old 07-13-2009, 09:40 PM   #5
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If you all-grain it, you can save the final runnings, freeze and use for starter wort later, too. That'll cut costs, even if you don't get ALL your 1.040 from the runnings, it contributes a good part anyway.

Or just do a miniature mash on the stove. Take a pound or so of crushed grain, a half gallon or so of water, steep it at mash temps for a half hour, then run it through a kitchen strainer. Another quart for a rudimentary sparge, and you have some wort for a starter.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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The other thing I've done to cut down my per batch costs is bulk order hops and grain.

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Old 07-14-2009, 03:58 AM   #7
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My grain costs $42 per 55# bag. I am lucky to be able to buy locally. So, all grain will save you money if you buy bulk.

I get hops for about $10 per pound online.

I split up a smack pack 10 ways and freeze with glycerine. When I get to the last one, I make 10 more. I have way more yeast than I can ever use. I step up my yeast with a stirplate and bottled wort to ensure proper pitch rates.

You can do this very economically and without sacrifice. Just takes some time and planning. And, you really need to go all grain. Extract is always quite expensive IMO.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:55 PM   #8
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If you were to take the final runnings from a brew and wanted to just keep in the fridge in a sanitized mason jar would you just boil the wort before putting it in the jar or could you just put it straight in to the jar and into the fridge?

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Old 07-24-2009, 05:16 PM   #9
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If you were to take the final runnings from a brew and wanted to just keep in the fridge in a sanitized mason jar would you just boil the wort before putting it in the jar or could you just put it straight in to the jar and into the fridge?
I just collect the runnings (figure in for an extra gallon in sparging - about 1gal) and cool. Throw it in a gallon freezer bag, then into the freezer. Thaw, boil, cool, and there's your starter wort.
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
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If you were to take the final runnings from a brew and wanted to just keep in the fridge in a sanitized mason jar would you just boil the wort before putting it in the jar or could you just put it straight in to the jar and into the fridge?
I wouldnt suggest putting the runnings right into the jar and then into the fridge for 2 reasons:

1. It wont be sanitary and any bugs you picked up during your mash will still be around.
2. I have heard that wort goes stale pretty quickly. You would be better off just freezing it
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