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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Noob question on yeast saving/washing
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:47 PM   #1
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Default Noob question on yeast saving/washing

I am setting up for a cycle of 6 different beers, brewing 3 every two weeks, so I'd like to reuse the yeast as much as possible to keep costs down. I transferred two into secondaries this weekend and saved the yeast cakes in quart sized jars since I didn't have the pint sized jars to split them up into. They have been in the fridge for a day now. I now have the pint sized jars to split up into, so how do I go about washing this yeast? If I understand what I've read correct, I should add some boiled/cooled water, shake it all up, let it set 20 minutes, pour off the stuff on top into another jar, leaving the trub on the bottom, shake it up again, and pour into the smaller jars. Is this right?

Or should I just keep them how they are and pitch the whole jar when I brew these beers again in 2 weeks?

This is the first time I've saved/washed yeast, so I just want to make sure I'm following the right procedures.

Here's a pic of what they look like

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Old 03-14-2010, 05:49 PM   #2
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:26 PM   #3
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+1 on this, and be sure to make starters. On you second cycle of beers you can just pour off the cake, clean & re-sanitize your fermentors, then repitch a proper portion of the slurry into the new beer. That's how I would do it anyway.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:35 PM   #4
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I've read the washing instructions. I guess the question I meant to ask is do I need to wash the yeast, or should I just shake it up and split it into smaller jars to use for starters later. I will be brewing the same beers with it 2 weeks after it is harvested from the primary, so is it a problem if I don't wash it?

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Old 03-14-2010, 09:37 PM   #5
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I've read the washing instructions. I guess the question I meant to ask is do I need to wash the yeast, or should I just shake it up and split it into smaller jars to use for starters later. I will be brewing the same beers with it 2 weeks after it is harvested from the primary, so is it a problem if I don't wash it?
It looks like a LOT of trub in there. I'd wash it. I don't see much in the way of nice white creamy yeast on top, but some could be hidden in the trub.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:16 AM   #6
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Yooper, the trub is because I just dumped the whole mess out of the bottom of the fermenter since I didn't have all of the stuff to wash the yeast at the time. I picked up some jars, and did the wash today. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Rather than wait for the jars/water to chill overnight I just boiled the jars then used my counterflow chiller to cool the boiled water and siphon it into the yeast. Here's what I ended up with.

Left is extra pale ale after diluting and first pour off, right is the dry irish stout 20 min. after diluting


You can really see the seperation on the stout here


The extra pale ale after second pour off, the final product.


And one of the days yield from all three brews



I can already tell that it will be a fairly simple process to add on to brew day. I guess now it's time to make a stir plate!

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Old 03-15-2010, 05:40 PM   #7
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Nice! I'm guessing the three on the end are from your stout, or maybe it's just darker in that corner. Throw up some pics when that yeast settles down.

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Old 03-16-2010, 01:22 AM   #8
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Ya, the three dark ones are from the stout. I notice a few of them still have some trub at the bottom now that they have settled. Should I wash them again or just use them as is?

Here's some pics of it a day later

All three, left to right is extra pale ale, cream ale, dry irish stout


Pale ale



Cream ale


Dry irish stout

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Old 03-16-2010, 01:27 AM   #9
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I do see alot of trub in a few of them. I wouldn't bother rewashing now- just use those first. Next time, more carefully wash so you don't get the trub in the jars.

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Old 03-16-2010, 01:30 AM   #10
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One more question. I've got a bottle filled with the unwashed yeast cake from my first batch, a boulevard wheat clone, that is about 6-8 weeks old now. Is it still usable if I wash it? Also, how long are the one's I've just washed good for? Is there a time you should use them within or just make a starter and see if they're good?

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