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Old 08-23-2014, 02:02 PM   #1
eadavis80
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Default Nitpicky yeast harvesting questions

I am interested in harvesting yeast. I've read/watched a lot on it on the net, including this forum. 3 Questions:

1. How much boiled and then cooled (room temp?) water do you add to the yeast cake at the bottom of the primary before swirling it up? I've read 1/2 gallon and a gallon. Does it matter?

2. Can you pour that liquid (whether it's a gallon or 1/2 gallon) in a PLASTIC container or does it need to be glass? I know regardless, the container(s) would have to be sanitized.

3. Can the swirled gallon or 1/2 gallon solution be put in two different containers first and not just one if I only have jelly jars, which are not a full 1/2 gallon?

Thanks guys

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Old 08-23-2014, 02:24 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by eadavis80 View Post
I am interested in harvesting yeast. I've read/watched a lot on it on the net, including this forum. 3 Questions:

1. How much boiled and then cooled (room temp?) water do you add to the yeast cake at the bottom of the primary before swirling it up? I've read 1/2 gallon and a gallon. Does it matter?

I leave about 12 ounces of beer in the fermentor to swirl up the yeast with. Beer on top of the yeast will protect it better than water.

2. Can you pour that liquid (whether it's a gallon or 1/2 gallon) in a PLASTIC container or does it need to be glass? I know regardless, the container(s) would have to be sanitized.

You can use plastic. Needs to be food grade. The less air permeability the better. Glass should be used for long term storage.

3. Can the swirled gallon or 1/2 gallon solution be put in two different containers first and not just one if I only have jelly jars, which are not a full 1/2 gallon?

You can use multiple jars.

Thanks guys
After a little time for settling, with the carboy on its side, I fill only one quart jar. Used soon that is enough for two more brews and then filling two more quart jars. I only need a certain amount of yeast in the frig.

A large starter can be made at the time of the next brew, and only half used. The remaining yeast from the starter, if this is carried on, will always be generation one yeast. Meaning this yeast has only been used once to ferment a wort.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:39 PM   #3
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There are a few Utube videos on harvesting yeast..... It's a good place to start. Personally I top crop, but my fermenters are wide mouth. I sterilize a ladle in boiling water and drop it in StarSan to cool. I then lift the lid, and ladle off the yeast on top of the brew into a pint jar which is also sterilized. I typically do this 3 or 4 times during fermentation, and get a LOT of yeast. After chilling it in the fridge, it forms a nice yeast cake in the bottom of the jar, with wort on top. I normally just keep this wort..... or some of it. and pitch the works into a later brew. About 12 hours before brew time, I take the jar out, and warm it. Shaking vigorously to aerate whenever I happen to walk by it... Lid loosened enough to prevent pressure build up. This amounts to a very heavy yeast pitch, and I typically am percolating nicely within a couple of hours, fermentation mostly over in 3 days on a typical beer. You can pour the wort off, and replace it with a small amount of "generic wort" made from DME, which I did with my most recent brew because it had hops (Sorachi Ace) floating in it that I didn't want to transfer to my new brew. You could easily split the top crop and have more than enough to pitch several brews. Is is worth messing with the yeast cake when top cropping is so easy? If you ferment in a carboy, it's your only option.

H.W.

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Old 08-28-2014, 04:39 AM   #4
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I used bottled distilled water and add only enough to the carboy to loosen the yeast cake and dissolve back into suspension. I pour off into a half gallon mason jar and let settle for 10-15 minutes. Pour off suspended yeast into 2-3 one pint mason jars and top up with distilled water. Put in fridge for a couple hours. Repeat if there is a darker layer on top of your yeast. One pint jar with a half of an inch or more if solids should he just fine for a 5 gal batch, with a good starter.

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Old 08-28-2014, 05:12 AM   #5
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As I have mentioned many times, rinsing yeast with water is a completely unnecessary task that is more likely to result in contamination than an increase in viability. One does not have to do anything with a crop. All one has to do is swirl, collect, and store in a refrigerator until needed.

Cropping is not a viable long-term storage strategy. As I have also mentioned many times before, storing yeast under water does not stop a culture's metabolism. The culture continues to consume it's glycogen reserves until they are exhausted. There are other methods that should be used for long-term storage.

With that said, one does not need to make a starter from a crop. Making a starter defeats the purpose of cropping yeast. Cropping is used primarily to harvest a large number of ready-to-pitch cells.

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Old 08-28-2014, 05:18 AM   #6
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Personally I top crop
+1

Top cropping has another advantage in that it naturally purifies a culture, as wild yeast and bacteria do not floc to the top. That's part of the reason why top-cropped yeast can be re-pitched almost indefinitely. The downside of top cropping is that one needs to use a true top-cropping strain to make the most of the technique.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:21 AM   #7
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Any thoughts on the shelf life for harvested yeast stored in the refrigerator? I just pitched an active starter made from a 6 week old washed yeast. Anyone have good experiences with older yeast?

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