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Old 04-14-2011, 12:52 AM   #1
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Default Reused Yeast on over 150 batches

Hey Guys,

I spent a great deal of time with a microbrewery in the last few weeks and learned quite a few interesting tidbits. The most interesting fact I came across was that they ALWAYS re-use their yeast and never get anything new. The owner/brewer mentioned that they've been reusing the same yeast for the last 10 years without any noticeable change in characteristics or signs of mutation.

This seems to go against EVERYONE's recommended max of how many times to reuse yeast. The owner believes that the yeast distributors, of course, want to sell more yeast and to scare you into throwing away the previously used yeast.

By the way, this brewery had some of the best beer I've had in a long while. It completely inspired me to change up a few of my current house brews. I just wanted to point out that this wasn't crappy beer.

Any thoughts on this?

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Old 04-14-2011, 01:00 AM   #2
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A lot of breweries have their own yeast strain and don't need a yeast bank to help them. I'd bet that its easier to avoid contamination on a larger scale, too. I think as long as your yeast are healthy and not getting contaminated, you should be able to re-use the yeast for a very long time.

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haputanlas
The owner/brewer mentioned that they've been reusing the same yeast for the last 10 years without any noticeable change in characteristics or signs of mutation.

This seems to go against EVERYONE's recommended max of how many times to reuse yeast. The owner believes that the yeast distributors, of course, want to sell more yeast and to scare you into throwing away the previously used yeast.
Mutation isn't really a risk, but genetic drift and contamination certainly are. Under proper harvesting conditions and great sanitation, one can harvest indefinitely. Chris White has said so much many times. That said, with poor handling, yeast can change characteristics in as few as five to ten generations. Good on this brewery for having what sounds to be a very clean system. I'm not surprised that they get great results, but I'm not sure it's fair to say that the yeast distributors are trying to scare people.
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:25 AM   #4
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What's the difference between mutation and genetic drift? Sounds the same to me

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:39 AM   #5
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What's the difference between mutation and genetic drift? Sounds the same to me
Well. Kinda the same and kinda not the same. Generally, a mutation is a big step at once while genetic drift would be smaller steps over time.

I think the OP brings up a very interesting point. Reusing the same yeast over and over again would sort of create a house strain. The yeast would change from what you originally start with. Over time I think it would adapt to your techniques and would settle down to a final version. Of course, it could change again. There is no guarantee that you will like what your yeast changes to either.
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:45 AM   #6
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there are a few breweries that have been using the same yeast for a century or more

http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curra...over-a-century

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:51 AM   #7
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Which brewery? Local Texas guys? Are they acid washing to eliminate contaminants or just repitching brew after brew? I am just not that confident in my ability to keep wild yeasties and bugs outta my brew/ yeast. I will reuse for 5-8 generations with an ale yeast, but 150...brave souls

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Old 04-14-2011, 02:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TANSTAAFB View Post
I am just not that confident in my ability to keep wild yeasties and bugs outta my brew/ yeast. I will reuse for 5-8 generations with an ale yeast, but 150...brave souls
me either. i use fresh yeast every time, as i don't want to bother with washing/storing/etc the stuff
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:02 AM   #9
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mutation is growing a 3rd arm. genetic drift is monkeys to humans.


(note, i dont wanna be blasted by anthropologists. i was just making generalizations.)

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Old 04-14-2011, 03:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TANSTAAFB
Which brewery? Local Texas guys? Are they acid washing to eliminate contaminants or just repitching brew after brew? I am just not that confident in my ability to keep wild yeasties and bugs outta my brew/ yeast. I will reuse for 5-8 generations with an ale yeast, but 150...brave souls
One brewery that does this is Anchor. They have used the same yeast for countless years.
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