Originally Posted by RedDragon
Has anyone set up a home lab for yeast propagation, checking health, etc? If so, what tools would you need?
A home yeast lab does not need to be expensive or complicated.
My 'yeast lab' an old tv/video cabinet, glass doors keep dust off my sanitized samples, the top is easily cleaned and it's easy and convenient.
99c pressure cooker to use for my 'autoclave'
$1 NiChrome wire for inoculation loop
99c x-acto craft knife for inoculation handle
$2 florists parafilm to seal tubes etc
Refillable butane 'hand' torch (for making Crème brûlée) from a cheapo shop.
Rubbing alcohol to sterilize.
Glass shot-glasses for holding samples and sterilizing alcohol.
Agar-agar from asian-supermarket, few cents per pack.
Starter-wort saved from previous brew, either from last runnings of mash tun or kettle dregs.
Acidified bleach for wiping down everything.
Erlenmeyer Flasks, 250ml, 500ml, 1L and 2L, directly from Lab-supply company, $4-15ea
7ml plastic test tubes ~15c each
30ml plastic vials ~30c each (both purchased in bulk and split with others)
Ziplock bags for fridge/freezer storage.
Cheap plastic tubs also for clean-storage.
I currently have about 30 yeast strains 'banked' both frozen and on slants, and within about a week I can brew with any of them, even if some are not readily/commercially available
Friends, brew-club or forum members are often open to swapping yeast samples. I often have people bring me new strains from packs they have just purchased, because they know that I'll also supply them with a slant of any yeast I have 'banked' when they need it in return.
I test for viability simply by inoculating a new slant that is then used as the first step of making a starter, it does not need to be more complicated than that.
I've made 100's of slants and so far have had to discard 1 due to an obvious infection.
It's not complicated or high-tech, but with adequate procedures and preparation, you can get very good results without having it be overly expensive.
The only thing I feel is missing is being able to freeze the yeast at -80C, the best I can do is my standard (non-frost free) -20C freezer.
Making a starter:
And making some slants:
Loop and flame source for sterilizing:
Yeast is stored in the fridge like this:
and some frozen samples (in the glass on the left) and slants (on the right):