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-   -   Splitting Starter into 3 mini-washes? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/splitting-starter-into-3-mini-washes-202930/)

ghpeel 10-27-2010 08:50 PM

Splitting Starter into 3 mini-washes?
So I'd really like to use a consistent strain of yeast for a variety of beers without having to purchase a $9 tube with every batch. I'm thinking WLP029 German/Kolsch.

"Just wash your yeast after racking" you say, but there's a problem. I've got a gigantic trub bed in every beer! We're talking 3-4 inches tall normally.

I've tried the yeast washing technique in the sticky and have had no luck at all. My trub and yeast never separate, no matter what I do, and they sit there, stuck together, looking like a blob of congealed brains. I think this is because I do No Chill and don't separate the cold break before fermentation, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I got too much trub to wash out! :mad:

So here's my plan, and please tell me if you think it sucks:

I'm going to make a 1 quart starter (4oz DME), then step it up twice to 3qts. I'll give it a day or two between steps. Once its fermented out, I'll shake the yeast up into suspension, then split the starter into three 1-quart jars. I figure they'll have approx the same yeast count between the three.

I'll probably decant and pitch the 1st quart starter then (assuming I have a beer ready) and keep the other 2 quart jars in the fridge. I'm assuming I'll need to make a starter to wake them up when I do need them later.

So this way, I'll get 3 uses out of a single tube, but without having to wash out my massive trub bomb. Will it work though?? Input appreciated as always.

Craigvu 10-28-2010 01:04 AM

this is exactly the advice i got when i asked my LHBS (also ballast point brewery) about pitching on a yeast cake. they claimed it was the way to go for a couple of reasons:

1. less risk of infection
2. no off flavors, etc. if pitching from dark to light or hoppy to less hopped beer
3. you'd know the "quality" of your yeast before repitching it cause it would be proofed in a starter before pitching.

i did it once with WLP029, and it worked great. I got 3 batches out of 1 vial, which is good cost savings for sure. I'll probably do this again soon with WLP007. Only headache is having to do a starter for every batch, vs just repitching slurry from just washed yeast.

I'm interested to hear some other experienced yeast washers chime in.

14thstreet 10-28-2010 02:06 PM

You can always get more than 3 uses out of your tube using your method. Just reserve one quart starter and use that for another set of 3 starters, etc etc.

Craigvu 10-28-2010 11:40 PM

does anyone else use this type of method instead of yeast washing after primary? i'm interested to hear success stories, etc.

ghpeel 10-29-2010 06:36 PM


Originally Posted by 14thstreet (Post 2367881)
You can always get more than 3 uses out of your tube using your method. Just reserve one quart starter and use that for another set of 3 starters, etc etc.

Good idea! Spawn one tube into three 1-quart starters, use 1 right away, refrigerate 1, then use the last one to spawn another three, so you get 4 starters in the fridge. Nice!

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