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Old 11-30-2010, 02:06 PM   #1
AmandaK
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Default Equipment to start seriously yeast ranching?

Hey guys,

I want to seriously start ranching/banking/saving/reusing my yeast. It's my favorite part of the brewing process.

I've asked for a pressure cooker for Christmas, but what else do I need to pick up? I have an idea, but what is more important than others?

What I have:
-Stir plate
-2L flask
-1L flask
-using old yeast packages for yeast nutrient in the boil
-Pint size mason jars
-lighter
-paper clip 'innoculating loop'
-a few tubes for slants (my LHBS is preparing them for me now)

I think I may need:
-more slant tubes
-petri dishes
-scale
-agar
-pressure cooker

How does that sound? Am I missing something?

Thanks!
Amanda

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Old 11-30-2010, 02:14 PM   #2
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Well, it really depends on the process you will be using. As for a "bare bones" approach, all you really need are containers for the yeast (mason jars or small test tubes), sanitizer and a fridge to decant off any liquid. I freeze mine so I also use a gylcerin mixture.

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Old 11-30-2010, 02:55 PM   #3
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I forgot to mention that. After reading the new yeast book, I've settled on doing yeast slants for banking and petri dishes for streaking/bottle harvesting. I've recently gotten heavily into sour beers, so I think that petris would be good for bottle harvesting the good stuff from lambics/oud bruins/other sours.

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Souring: #32 Lambic 2.0, #49 Lambic 3.0, #60 3763 Flanders Brown, #61 WLP665 Flanders Brown
Conditioning: #38 Golden Sour, #58 Hooch Cider, #79 Dopplebock, #84 Amy Cider
Drinkin': #16 Lambic 1.0 (Drunk Monk BOS), #84 Fall Cider
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Old 11-30-2010, 05:34 PM   #4
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I really think you need a microscope to do this right. You've got all the right equipment to isolate cultures but it seems like the microscope is essential for confirming the purity of your yeast. Also, how will you be creating a sterile work area?

I just finished the yeast book as well and it simultaneously got me excited and discouraged about the purity of my yeast. I want to do something like you're describing but the microscope is such a big hump for me that I think I'll put my money elsewhere in the brewery for now... I can dream, though...

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Old 11-30-2010, 05:55 PM   #5
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I really think you need a microscope to do this right. You've got all the right equipment to isolate cultures but it seems like the microscope is essential for confirming the purity of your yeast. Also, how will you be creating a sterile work area?
The scope will really only help you for 2 things:
1) You can see bacteria vs yeast (you will not be able to see mutated yeast vs desired yeast except for the exceedingly rare mutation that causes a colony growth to be visibly differentiable). If growing up on plates, you should be able to detect the "pure" colonies by plain eyesight. Bacterial or wild infections should be obvious vs the original.

2) If you perform viability testing with methylene blue you can see viable vs dead yeast cells under the scope.


And to the OP, get yourself a real innoculation loop. If you are going to be stepping up from colony scrapings from a petri dish, you may want a 250 or 500 ml flask as well for your first step.

How about an oxygen stone for oxygenating the initial wort? Comes in handy in the brew house too.

Also good to have a clean working space and an alcohol lamp or burner used to create an updraft.

My plan is 5 ml glycerol storage in the chest freezer in a biomed styrofoam container and some freezer gel packs. This should last 5+ yrs according to the SWMBO yeast geneticist.
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Old 11-30-2010, 06:22 PM   #6
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Randar,
Thanks for the suggestions! I don't think I'll be picking up a microscope, but I will probably go ahead and pick up an alcohol lamp, loop and smaller flasks. Do they make smaller stir bars for smaller flasks or do you just do a shake method on that one?

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have a couple aeration stones. But is it really needed if I have a stir plate? I thought oxygen got in that way... hmm.

-Amanda

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Old 11-30-2010, 06:32 PM   #7
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I was looking at scopes on ebay last night. I'm no expert, but useful scopes ought not be that expensive, probably around 70 bucks. If you have kids, the scope can double as an educational tool. Thats what I will tell the SWMBO anyway.

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Old 11-30-2010, 06:48 PM   #8
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I was looking at scopes on ebay last night. I'm no expert, but useful scopes ought not be that expensive, probably around 70 bucks. If you have kids, the scope can double as an educational tool. Thats what I will tell the SWMBO anyway.
Haha, good call.

No kids for me. I'm 23, single and do what I want with my brewery. Hooray!
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On deck: German Pilsner, CAP, Golden Strong
Fermenting: MOVING
Souring: #32 Lambic 2.0, #49 Lambic 3.0, #60 3763 Flanders Brown, #61 WLP665 Flanders Brown
Conditioning: #38 Golden Sour, #58 Hooch Cider, #79 Dopplebock, #84 Amy Cider
Drinkin': #16 Lambic 1.0 (Drunk Monk BOS), #84 Fall Cider
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:09 PM   #9
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Randar,
Thanks for the suggestions! I don't think I'll be picking up a microscope, but I will probably go ahead and pick up an alcohol lamp, loop and smaller flasks. Do they make smaller stir bars for smaller flasks or do you just do a shake method on that one?

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I have a couple aeration stones. But is it really needed if I have a stir plate? I thought oxygen got in that way... hmm.
Microscope is definitely overkill for the homebrewer, but I admit to having looked at them online on multiple occasions.

You can only get ~8 ppm of dissolved oxygen into wort via stirring and exposure to typical atmospheric air/gas mix. It is recommended to get 10-15ppm, so I would venture to say that stir plate does not help achieve anything more than the "shake method". However, it keeps the yeast suspended and in more consistent and non-stratified contact with the fermentables and nutrients, and IMO this is what leads to higher growth rates and the more exponential log phase compared to non-stir-plate methods.

You can get smaller stir bars but you have to be sure they will work with your stir plate. Most of the homemade ones have a sweet-spot range of stirbar sizes that will work for them based on the spacing of the magnets, the distance between the magnets and where the stirbar will be sitting, etc. You will only be able to determine this by testing your stirplate with some various sizes. However, as long as you aren't splashing around, you should still be able to use larger (1.5 or 2") stir bars with the smaller beakers (as long as they fit, obviously)
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:12 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nutty_gnome View Post
I was looking at scopes on ebay last night. I'm no expert, but useful scopes ought not be that expensive, probably around 70 bucks. If you have kids, the scope can double as an educational tool. Thats what I will tell the SWMBO anyway.
Buyer beware with the cheaper ones. The strength/uniformity of the backlighting and quality of the optics is going to be really bad on the very cheap ones. Suitable eBay scopes I have seen run in the 250 range, typically. Still a fun toy. I'd love to get one with the integrated USB camera, but that ups the ante quite a bit.
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