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Old 05-14-2007, 07:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesefood
How do the yeast labs keep a strain alive? They have to keep resuing it over and over, right?

Another q: how long can it stay in the fridge? Is it possible for me to dry it for long term storage?
There are a number of threads and links on this forum for methodology for freezing yeast, which stores it indefinitely.
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Old 05-14-2007, 07:11 PM   #12
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I've heard of breweries, Boddington's and Hacker-Pschorr, which have yeast strains that are several centuries old. My understanding that is they have a lab where they separate out and encourage the healthier yeasties.

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Old 05-14-2007, 07:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bobby_M
I think the biggest concern we have is the chance of introducing other strains and bacteria and has very little to do with the original yeast mutating.
I agree with this. The primary issue with reusing yeast is not genetic mutation, but contamination. As hard as we might try, we are not going to be able to maintain the same level of sanitation in our homebrew environment as a professional brewery. The number of times that a brewpub can reuse yeast has no bearing on how many times we can do the same, and in fact there's probably a huge amount of variance in the number of generations individual brewers here can get since our own individual procedures and sanitazton will vary.

As a side note, I've heard Charlie Papazian mention in interviews that he's been using the same yeast culture since like 1982 (and that he uses it for pretty much everything - ale OR lager). So, it IS possible for a homebrewer - but he's also doing more than just collecting slurry in a sanitized mason jar.
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Old 05-14-2007, 07:20 PM   #14
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I went ahead this weekend and reused the yeast cake from my wheat and from an ale... and had almost explosive fermentation at lightning speed. A number of forum members said that it could be done and considering my newness to the hobby I figured I'd try and experiment. Also saved me a nominal amount of $ in the process...

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Old 05-14-2007, 07:53 PM   #15
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So far I've collected slurry from Nottingham, Saflager23, and WPL001 and I'm scared as hell to pitch any of them because I'm always second guessing my sanitation. You might wonder why the hell I'd risk it on $1 packets of dry yeast strains but I'm thinking of it more from a viable cell count perspective vs. cost. A cup of slurry is what, like 10x the cells of an 11g packet? For the 001, I collected about 14 oz in a PET coors light bottle. I used PET so I could squeeze it and get the headspace out. Hopefully it's clean. I'd swab the mouth with some vodka prior to pouring out.

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Old 05-14-2007, 09:31 PM   #16
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eh, I guess I have it easy working in a laboratory with access to yeast media, *sterile* techniques, and autoclaves...I have every strain I have every used/bought/isolated frozen down at -80*C. Any time I brew with one, I just start up a new culture from my freezedown and grow it up over a few days, spin it to remove most of the growth media, and pitch.

I would bet most larger (i.e. Sam Adams size and larger) have bio labs on site to do this, in fact, I have seen the one at New Belgium (would love to get a job there!)

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Old 05-15-2007, 05:20 AM   #17
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One of the big reasons that a microbrewer can reuse yeast 20 times without off-flavors is because they are using their yeast immediately (usually within 24 hrs). The storage process kills many cells and somehow facilitates off-flavor development.

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