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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Reusing Yeast Cake??
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:21 PM   #1
89OctaneStang
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Default Reusing Yeast Cake??

Ok. I'm a noob and have a few questions about reusing yeast cake.

Today I racked my pale ale for the second time and my honey brown ale into the secondary. I saved the yeast cakes from both. I made one jar of pale ale yeast and two jars of honey brown ale yeast. I have a pic but could not figure out how to attach it. I would gladly post it if someone could give me instructions on how to do this.

I assume the pale ale jar only has three layers and not four because it was taken from the secondary. And the other two jars are from the primary of the honey brown which still has the hops and sediment (bottom layer?) ??? Can someone explain what the different layers are?

I am not so much concerned about the pale ale because I plan to use it as a starter for my next brew which is a pumkin ale. And from my research it seems that this will be ok to use as a starter along with a smack pack. Correct?

But with the honey brown, we plan to brew this one again real soon! It tastes great already and its OG was 1.058 with a FG of 1.006. 6.8% alcohol and tastes great, sounds like trouble! So is there anything else I should do with these before using them again or will they be ok to pitch right into the fermenter? The plan is to use the smaller one as a starter and pitch the larger one right into the fermenter with the starter and wort. Is this a good or bad plan?

Thanks, you all have helped me create some great beers already and I'm only 3 brews into my experience!

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Old 09-23-2009, 12:17 AM   #2
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I wouldn't use the yeast cake as a starter. A starter is more of a 'head start' for the yeast you're about to pitch than it is a bunch of yeast. It's just a small amount of wort that you use to get more yeast before you put it into a full batch of wort to make actual beer.

I've pitched right on top of yeast cakes a few times, as long as the second beer is darker and more flavorful than the first beer, you'll be all set. The same style will work, too.

Just dump the yeast cake you saved right in instead of using a packaged yeast, assuming you know that you didn't get any nastyness in at any point.

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Old 09-23-2009, 12:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by GrizlyGarou View Post
I wouldn't use the yeast cake as a starter. A starter is more of a 'head start' for the yeast you're about to pitch than it is a bunch of yeast. It's just a small amount of wort that you use to get more yeast before you put it into a full batch of wort to make actual beer.

I've pitched right on top of yeast cakes a few times, as long as the second beer is darker and more flavorful than the first beer, you'll be all set. The same style will work, too.

Just dump the yeast cake you saved right in instead of using a packaged yeast, assuming you know that you didn't get any nastyness in at any point.
Ok. So how much of the honey brown yeast cake would I need for another honey brown? It's currently divided in half and put into two jars. Can I use one jar for the next batch or should I use both?
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Old 09-23-2009, 12:45 AM   #4
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Also, would the honey brown yeast cake be better for the pumkin ale or would the pale ale yeast cake that I pulled from its secondary be ok?

Sorry for all the questions but I'm just trying to get my self set for the next brew because we will be brewing in three days.

Thanks!

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Old 09-23-2009, 01:00 AM   #5
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One jar should do it.

Personally, I wouldn't use the nut brown for the pumpkin ale just because it sounds wrong to me. No real basis in any variety of fact for that, though. Probably either would be fine. The flavors will affect the beer you make second, though.

However, you have to be absolutely certain that not only was the batch you got the yeast from not infected by anything, but you also have to be sure that when you got the trub out you didn't infect it. It won't kill you if you did, but it sure won't taste good. How'd you get it out, and what did you put it into?

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Old 09-23-2009, 06:45 AM   #6
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I probably overkill my sanitization process when brewing, racking, etc.. What I mean is I sanitize EVERYTHING. Yes, everything. If I think I might touch something, I sanitize it. I always dip my hands in sanitizer every few minutes or so must just to make sure. And even if the baby boy (my son) walks into the room, I sanitize him as well.. I sanitize everything that may come in contact with my beer or even close to it. So hopefully I never have an issue. All the stories I hear of infected brews are generally from the brewers that have been around the block a time or two and have accidentally forgotten to sanitize something and that affected their beer.

I used three mason jars from my wifes collection of things. I made sure they were clean and I soaked them in sanitizer for several minutes before pouring the trub from the fermenters into them. As of now, I know the beers that I got the yeast from are not infected. IF I screwed up in capturing the yeasts from the trub, then that is the only place that there could be anything wrong with them. But I am almost certain that I used proper sanitation processes. Does something I did not sound right? Remember I am new to this whole process of brewing, let alone reusing yeast. So I have no problem throwing either one of the yeasts out if I screwed up to save my next batch.

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Old 09-23-2009, 08:25 AM   #7
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Just to clarify 89OctaneStang's question - if Ive racked to a bottling bucket can I simply re-use the yeast by racking another batch into the fermenter with the yeast cake still in the bottom - or is there more to it than that ?
How long will the yeast keep for in the fermenter ?

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Old 09-23-2009, 12:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I probably overkill my sanitization process when brewing, racking, etc.. What I mean is I sanitize EVERYTHING.
You should be good then. I'd suggest doing a search on here for 'yeast cake pitch'. There's some good info that'll come up. Also, I don't think you can go overboard with sanitation. As long as you're not picking up each individual piece of yeast and hitting it with a scrub brush or something. Pre-boil and mid-boil you can relax, though. I usually get things boiling, then get my sanitizer rolling to wash out my fermenter. Plenty of time to kill while it cooks...

Bru- You're pretty much right. I'd suggest the same search for you, too.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:33 PM   #9
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Most people reuse the yeast cake without washing the yeast, this is the way I do it: from the primary I rack the yeast cake into large jars, and keep them in the fridge for up to 1-2 months. I use about 1/3 - 1/2 yeast cake for a similar gravity beer, more for a larger gravity beer. If the cake sits in the fridge for a longer period of time, it will separate into cake on the bottom and beer on the top. You can poor some of the beer into a glass to taste it, before re-pitching the cake. Don't worry, it won't kill you, it's just beer. If there was some kind of an infection in the cake, you will taste it in the beer from the jar. It never happened to me yet, but it's better to be careful then sorry.

PS. Of course, if you just racked a beer off a primary, and have the yeast on the bottom of a carboy/bucket, you can simply reuse the whole thing including the carboy/bucket.

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Old 09-23-2009, 01:37 PM   #10
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I like to either reuse the yeast cake right away, or to wash the yeast. Saving the trub (even in a boiled mason jar) just isn't something I would do. The yeast will break down, the trub will start to rot, etc. For saving, you want clean yeast.

Saving the yeast from secondary isn't recommended. It's cleaner, but it's also the least flocculent, laziest yeast since it was the last to fall out. Yeast from the primary is what you want.

If you're using the yeast cake right away, no need to wash it. But if you're saving it, yeast washing is the way to go.

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