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Old 04-15-2009, 01:28 AM   #1
monkeychef
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Default Yeast washing question

We're done brewing beers for now at work, and the owner let me collect some of the slurry from the bottom of the fermentation tank to bring home and use for myself. It's been used for about 4 batches of beer total at work, with maybe a week in between each batch. Today I sanitized a Grolsch bottle I brought with me with iodophor, transfered the beer to the bright tanks, filled my bottle with 1.5 cups of the slurry, capped it and put it in the fridge until I got off of work. Now it's here on my desk and I don't know how to approach the yeast washing. It looks like it's separating just a tiny bit from its time in the fridge, but not much.

I've found the "Yeast Washing Illustrated" tutorial already but I don't know what step to start at or whether I should modify it at all or whether I should try Yuri's method of making a starter as well (although my LHBS is closed until tomorrow and I don't have any DME... all I have is corn sugar) . My gut tells me to just start from the very beginning and act as if the Grolsch bottle is my caked carboy. Should I keep my bottle in the fridge until I get back from the store with mason jars, or should I leave it out on the counter? Sealed or unsealed?

Also, do you guys think it's even worth trying to save this stuff? I'm not sure what the strain is, the owner said he'd find out for me in the next few days, but we use it for an oktoberfest, helles, and a weizen, all lager style. I want to wait to brew until I know exactly what my yeast is. (I'm hoping a good wheat yeast!)

Thanks for helping me clarify this process a little bit since I've never done it before. I'm not even completely ready to brew another beer, but hey, fermentation buckets are cheap and this opportunity only comes up about 4 times a year so I'd really like to see if I can revive these yeasties

Edit: Since it's late, I'm going to go ahead and boil some mason jars and fill them with water and leave it in the fridge overnight along with the bottle of yeast to cool. My LHBS will be open tomorrow too so I can get some DME for a starter if need be (although I don't have a flask or a stirplate or anything cool like that)


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Old 04-15-2009, 04:58 AM   #2
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That looks like some pretty clean yeast to me. I don't think I would wash it at all. That really white layer is something that I have never seen begoe though.

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Old 04-15-2009, 05:49 AM   #3
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I think my flash washed out the picture a little. It looks more tan. The yeast is always in a really thick foamy slurry afterwards. You should see the jug we keep it in when we refrigerate it. The 3 layers get way bigger, which confused me. Usually with you guys I see a top clear-brown layer and a bottom creamy layer. This yeast has a top foamy-creamy layer, a middle clear-brown layer, and a bottom creamy layer.

We don't wash it at work, but we try not to harvest the darker sediment under the lighter yeast in the tank. This is done by carefully squeegeeing the layers into the tank's drain until the layer light in color comes out the pipe, which we jug and save. Maybe we're mechanically "washing" it.

I'm mostly concerned with it's survivability. I was hoping I could coax it into living a week or two until I get a chance to rack my full primary to a keg. I assumed washing accomplishes this but I admit I don't totally get *why* you wash. At work it seems to last a week in the fridge, but this time it may have to wait longer.

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Old 04-15-2009, 06:05 AM   #4
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Washing is just a way to separate the yeast from the trub. The yeast you harvest are probably more viable and I would think it would be good for a week under good conditions.

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Old 04-15-2009, 06:34 AM   #5
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oh that makes much more sense now

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