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Old 11-13-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default Harvesting and Storing Yeast

Hi everyone -

Can anyone tell me the best way (and the best time during fermentation or conditioning) to harvest yeast from my currently fermenting batch. My second question is: how long can I keep the yeast alive and healthy, and can I just keep it in the fridge?

The beer in the fermenter is an Imperial Stout, with a SafeAle English Ale yeast.

Thanks for any guidance!
-Jake

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Old 11-13-2012, 06:01 PM   #2
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I think most people rack their beer to secondary (or not) and just rinse the yeast they get from the primary (or secondary if you prefer).

The rinsing is just mixing with some sterile water and pouring or siphoning off the stuff you want from the stuff you don't want.

There is a sticky in the yeast and fermentation section near the top. Called Yeast Washing. Lots of good pictures and information there.

Yeast can last for months with the right conditions in the fridge. Don't freeze without adding glycerin, or the water crystals will kill the yeast cells.

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Old 11-13-2012, 06:03 PM   #3
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There's a sticky in this subforum on Yeast Washing, lots of helpful information. Generally, I harvest from the primary after racking but I've also had good results from the secondary. Frig storage is fine, properly prepared they will last for months.

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:41 PM   #4
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Thank you! I will check out the sticky...still finding my way around this forum, but super impressed by how easy it is to get information from so many homebrew experts and enthusiasts.

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Old 11-14-2012, 01:00 AM   #5
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I've had good results just pouring the slurry into sterilized mason jars and putting them in the fridge. The cell counts were much higher than expected when I counted them last weekend.

Here are the details:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...ing-cells.html

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Old 11-14-2012, 01:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C2H5OHBrewer
Hi everyone -

Can anyone tell me the best way (and the best time during fermentation or conditioning) to harvest yeast from my currently fermenting batch. My second question is: how long can I keep the yeast alive and healthy, and can I just keep it in the fridge?

The beer in the fermenter is an Imperial Stout, with a SafeAle English Ale yeast.

Thanks for any guidance!
-Jake
Here's how I've been doing it. This method is much easier than washing the stuff from the bottom of the fermenter. It's a form of top-cropping, which gets you the healthiest yeast possible since they don't spend weeks in the alcohol and hops. This amount of yeast was collected during the first 2 days of vigorous fermentation. After it slowed a little, i switched back to the airlock. I have no idea how much yeast is actually here, but I assume it's several vials worth or approximately 3 cups of straight yeast.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:56 AM   #7
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I think you'll find some of this info in the yeast washing sticky too, but generally you want to harvest yeast from a relatively low gravity brew...getting yeast from a RIS might give you a collection of somewhat stressed yeast that wouldn't be as healthy as you might want for a new batch.

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Old 11-14-2012, 02:14 AM   #8
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By healthy do you mean a high viability, or are there other factors that should be considered?

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Old 11-14-2012, 02:24 AM   #9
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Like they can be mutated/damaged and possibly produce off flavors...

I recall reading that above 7% ABV the yeast can start to get funky. If you're interested in starting to wash/save some yeast, there was a recent thread about taking part of your starter and just banking that to make your next starter from; ie, harvesting fresh yeast directly from your starter before pitching. Saves the trouble of washing, and you essentially have a new tube of yeast to make another starter from. For the life of me, I can't find the thread to link it, perhaps someone else's google shui is working better than mine tonight...

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Old 11-14-2012, 09:59 AM   #10
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I know that thread, but search doesn't find it..
(Yeast Harvesting: A Novel Approach)

Strange thing is that I can't access it by google search, maybe someone else will have more luck:
https://www.google.hr/#hl=hr&safe=off&sclient=psy-ab&q=harvesting+yeast+new+approach+site:homebrewta lk.com

As for factors, vitality and viability are different terms for measuring quality of yeast:
Vitality- condition of yeast
Viability- percentage of live cells in population

Like biochemedic pointed, generally it is not recommended to use yeast from high gravity beers (>1.070) since cells are mostly stressed.

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