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Old 10-01-2009, 06:07 AM   #1
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Default How long do you store washed yeast?

On Sunday I made a starter for some washed WLP004 that was stored in my fridge. I shook the heck out of it for a day (I need a stir plate) and pitched it on Tuesday. It did a great job in the starter with a nice high krausen line and the batch of beer was going like mad when I checked on it 8 hours after pitching.

The thing that I liked most is that I washed this yeast almost 11 months ago! My fridge probably needs to be replaced and I don't really trust that it regulates the temperature very well, so I don't think these were ideal storage conditions. But it worked!

How long have you guys stored yeast and made good starters?

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Old 10-01-2009, 07:19 AM   #2
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I would have never used it myself. Unless you’re using distilled water and storing it off a slant, that seems like a real loooong time to keep an untreated yeast starter. I like to autoclave my water and my starter mix at 15 psi for 15 min, this will kill off all the spores and mold etc that can live at 212*. I will take distilled water and autoclave that as well to keep my yeast in, it only takes a loop full and you can keep it for years. It is just the only way to keep yeast healthy for long term storage IMHO, @ room temp I might add, unless you have liquid nitrogen on hand... Ya I don’t either.
Just a thought.

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Old 10-01-2009, 12:35 PM   #3
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At one time I used baby food jars, but the lids were not always dependable.

Now I use the vials they came in. I have about 80 of them.

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Old 10-01-2009, 12:58 PM   #4
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Bobby M recently did a test on year old store yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/testing-limits-yeast-viability-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes. I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.

You should have at least made a starter for it, and you DON'T need a satirplate to do it either, plenty starters are made without them. Making a starter first insures that your yeast is still alive and viable before you dump it in your beer.

If you made a starter the viable yeast would have reproduced. Even a few cells, that's why we can make huge starters from the dregs at the bottom of some commercial beers. The living cell multiply.

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Old 10-01-2009, 07:03 PM   #5
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Jaybird- I do actually have Liquid Nitrogen available at work...hmmm...

I did make a starter for it and I was ready with some dry yeast in case the starter smelled funny or didn't kick off at all. I was really expecting it to not do so well, but It went great! I guess the real proof will be how the beer turns out. Too bad I don't really want to wash and harvest from this batch since it's a pumpkin spice red, and I don't really want to pass on pumpkin spices to other batches.

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Old 10-01-2009, 07:15 PM   #6
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I buy liquid yeast only twice a year...most of it at one time and special yeasts when they become available. Dry yeast anytime.

I dispose of my washed yeast after 1 year, but keep expired vials indefinitely. Even expired they become yeast food.

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Old 10-03-2009, 10:04 PM   #7
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Yeast food ?

Is dead yeast a liability for the live yeast ? Just thinking that dead yeast attract things that might like to feed on them ...

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Old 10-03-2009, 10:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kappclark View Post
Yeast food ?

Is dead yeast a liability for the live yeast ? Just thinking that dead yeast attract things that might like to feed on them ...
Yeast are cannibals, they usually consume the dead cells...much like many of us add yeast hulls (which are dead yeast) in the boil to act as yeast energizers......And it doesn't really matter (they won't attract" anything. What you are doing when you make a starter is to reproduce the viable cells. The living ones grow.

That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.
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Old 11-06-2011, 12:07 AM   #9
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Default Dregs of Commercial beers?

Revvy - can you give an example of what you mean when you say you can create a starter from the dregs of some commercial beers?

Are you implying that you get a bottled craft brew and wash out the bottom of the bottle and use it to make a starter / multiply the yeast? I've seen some where there is some yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

Or am I missing something?

If that's what you mean, I think that's a great idea and I never thought of that.

I started washing my yeast a couple of batches ago but today was the first time I pitched washed yeast. I made a starter with a stir plate yesterday (about 18 hours before pitching) so I'm anxious for it to start fermenting. I pitched about 5 hours ago, so I've been checking on it religiously every hour.

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Old 11-06-2011, 12:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrayZJ View Post
Revvy - can you give an example of what you mean when you say you can create a starter from the dregs of some commercial beers?

Are you implying that you get a bottled craft brew and wash out the bottom of the bottle and use it to make a starter / multiply the yeast? I've seen some where there is some yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

Or am I missing something?
Yes. There's a bazillion threads on this topic....Including a thread that lists a lot of commercial micros that folks have had success with harvesting.
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