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Old 11-18-2012, 06:28 PM   #1
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Default Noob yeast washing question

I brew a lot of IPAs and do a lot of dry hopping with pellet hops where I just pour it in to my fermenter bucket. Since I don't use hop bags in any parts of my brew process, i'm usually left with a decent amount of hops sludge in my fermenter after I rack.

So my question is can I still wash this yeast? I'm concerned that I won't be able to properly separate the hops from the yeast. Since I primarily brew IPAs, is this even a real concern?

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Old 11-18-2012, 06:30 PM   #2
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You can still wash the yeast. You'll need to be sure to not cut any corners when doing it though. I would go through the entire process, fully, so that you don't muddy the flavors of one batch with what's left from a previous batch.

An alternative to washing yeast is to make starters, and reserve some of the slurry from a starter to step up and reserve it.

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:15 PM   #3
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Thanks Golddiggle. Kegged a batch last night and washed my yeast. It took two passes but I think I got rid of the hop sludge/trub. The attached picture is about 10 minutes into the first wash.

Right now i have 3 pint mason jars in the fridge that are separating out now and I'll post a picture tonight/tomorrow with the result.

Depending on when brew day is going to be, I'm going to make a starter out of it and give it a go. It's going to be my first all grain batch so I may just start off with a smackpack/starter instead of this yeast so I don't introduce too many variables at once.

2012-11-18-23.03.52.jpg  
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:08 PM   #4
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I advise always making a starter, even with washed yeast. That will make sure you've captured viable yeast, and wakes them up before being pitched.

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Old 11-19-2012, 02:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
I advise always making a starter, even with washed yeast. That will make sure you've captured viable yeast, and wakes them up before being pitched.
Thanks again. A starter is definitely going to be part of the process. As i was saying earlier, I brew mainly high OG beers so all the calculators say to make some decent size starters. I'm in the process of trying to figure out how many yeast cells I have now so I can figure out how to properly step up my starter.

I need at least 257 billion yeast cells which I believe is roughly 100 ml of yeast. Once I see how last nights washing has settled out, I believe that I can get a baseline of how many cells I have and figure out the steps accordingly.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:10 PM   #6
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When pitching from a slury the calculators can be pretty far off in my experience. I'm working on trying to correlate days in the primary, days in the fridge, and washing, but have yet to see anything conclusive. The only thing I have figured out so far is that the viability for slurries can vary by a factor of ten pretty easily from what the calculators may say.

Here's some more information:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...ing-cells.html

The starter calculators seem to be within a factor of two assuming you know how many cells you are starting with.

For me it seems the only way to know is to count the cells.

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikeguns View Post
Thanks again. A starter is definitely going to be part of the process. As i was saying earlier, I brew mainly high OG beers so all the calculators say to make some decent size starters. I'm in the process of trying to figure out how many yeast cells I have now so I can figure out how to properly step up my starter.

I need at least 257 billion yeast cells which I believe is roughly 100 ml of yeast. Once I see how last nights washing has settled out, I believe that I can get a baseline of how many cells I have and figure out the steps accordingly.
If you have a decent idea of the yeast slurry concentration, I would use yeastcalc.com to figure out how to do the starter. IME, going with even a two step starter will produce far more yeast cells than if you did a single (significantly larger) starter. Especially if you also have a stirplate to use with this.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:49 PM   #8
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I gave up using yeast calc some time ago. For a 5 gallon batch I do a 1L starter from a harvested yeast sample. For a 10 gallon batch I'll do a 1L starter, cold crash, decant, step with another 1L starter and pitch at high krausen. The problem is that its nearly impossible to accurately determine your starting cell count without a microscope and a hemocytometer. FYI, I don't do lagers.

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Old 11-19-2012, 03:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by william_shakes_beer View Post
the problem is that its nearly impossible to accurately determine your starting cell count without a microscope and a hemocytometer.
+1
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by william_shakes_beer View Post
I gave up using yeast calc some time ago. For a 5 gallon batch I do a 1L starter from a harvested yeast sample. For a 10 gallon batch I'll do a 1L starter, cold crash, decant, step with another 1L starter and pitch at high krausen. The problem is that its nearly impossible to accurately determine your starting cell count without a microscope and a hemocytometer. FYI, I don't do lagers.
I haven't washed yeast in some time. I'm getting ready to freeze some that I reserved (need to do another starter step to get more yeast to use). The ONLY reason I'm doing this is because the yeast is [currently] not available. It's the Wyeast 1882-PC (Private Collection) strain. I do hope they offer it again early in the year, so that I can buy some and make a better/bigger yeast bank from it.
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