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Old 03-24-2010, 02:35 PM   #1
TheMan
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Default Splitting yeast vial

Long story short, I ferment in kegs and find yeast washing difficult (vs. using a carboy). So I'm looking for an alternative and all my searching hasn't found me the exact answer I am looking for.

Can I make about a 1 gallon starter with a vial/smack pack and split it. Maybe split between 4-8 12 oz. beer bottles to store in my fridge. Seems like I could grow enough yeast to be about equivalent to a white labs vial and store it on my own.

Would this store well? Is it even a good idea? Does anyone do this currently?

I have washed yeast according the the "Yeast washing...Illustrated" instructions. It works fantastic, however it's not very friendly to a brewer that uses kegs to ferment in.

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Old 03-24-2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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I have made starters and split the yeast up. It is really no different than splitting the yeast up after brewing a normal batch other than amount of yeast.

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Old 03-24-2010, 03:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMan View Post
Long story short, I ferment in kegs and find yeast washing difficult (vs. using a carboy). So I'm looking for an alternative and all my searching hasn't found me the exact answer I am looking for.

Can I make about a 1 gallon starter with a vial/smack pack and split it. Maybe split between 4-8 12 oz. beer bottles to store in my fridge. Seems like I could grow enough yeast to be about equivalent to a white labs vial and store it on my own.

Would this store well? Is it even a good idea? Does anyone do this currently?

I have washed yeast according the the "Yeast washing...Illustrated" instructions. It works fantastic, however it's not very friendly to a brewer that uses kegs to ferment in.
I start all my yeast banks this way. Just keep to the 10x rule and you will be all good. (don't step up more than 10x the original volume).
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:21 PM   #4
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I propagate yeast by doing starters in two steps.

1) Use smack pack/vial or saved yeast to make first starter
2) Leave on striplate until fermented out (2 days or so)
3) Let settle for a day and decant all but 300 mL
4) Fill two 4 oz. Jelly Jars with yeast slurry (100 mL each)
5) Use remaining 100 mL of slurry to step up to 1000+ mL starter for pitching.

This works far better for me than trying to wash yeast from the primary. I also think it reduces risk of contamination, mutation, stress from high gravity batches, etc.

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Old 03-24-2010, 03:44 PM   #5
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bknifefight - I completely agree, but didn't know for sure. It is just a smaller scale.

What size starter do you make, EvilGnome, if you end up with 300mL of slurry?

How long do these last for you guys? My washed yeast lasts months. Should this be the same?

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Old 03-24-2010, 05:58 PM   #6
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What size starter do you make, EvilGnome, if you end up with 300mL of slurry?
Actually, it's not all slurry. I just decant until I have 300 mL of yeast and beer left and stir it up again to make it pourable. My initial starters have been between 500mL and 800mL. I'm still experimenting to determine the best size.

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How long do these last for you guys? My washed yeast lasts months. Should this be the same?
It should last about as long as washed yeast. I haven't been doing it long enough to know, yet, though. As long as you're making a starter, a slight difference in viability won't matter much, especially if you're repeating the two step process again.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:20 AM   #7
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So I decided to give this a try. I made a 1000 ml starter (1000 ml clean water, 100 grams DME and some yeast nutrient boiled for 10 minutes, cooled and then pitched White Labs Cali Ale Yeast - WLP001). I used a stir plate for 48 hours and then let it settle for 24 hours. I poured about 600ml off the top from the starter into a sanitized container for reserve. I split the remaining slurry/beer into three sanitized jelly jars and then topped them off with the reserved liquid.

I used one sample for another starter and pitched it into a pale ale that started fermenting pretty quickly and is going quite nicely right now. The other two samples are in my fridge and look to have more yeast than when I have tried yeast washing in the past.

This was much easier for me than yeast washing and appears to produce better results. I wonder if this should be added to the yeast washing discussion or made into a "sticky."

The process led me to a couple of questions:

1. Is it important to fill the jars completely so as to eliminate head space for the yeast samples?

2. Is it necessary to boil all containers and equipment as in the "yeast washing illustrated" example or is it OK to just give a nice soak in StarSan (which is what I did)?

I am glad that I ran across this thread!

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Old 04-27-2010, 05:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilGnome6 View Post
I propagate yeast by doing starters in two steps.

1) Use smack pack/vial or saved yeast to make first starter
2) Leave on striplate until fermented out (2 days or so)
3) Let settle for a day and decant all but 300 mL
4) Fill two 4 oz. Jelly Jars with yeast slurry (100 mL each)
5) Use remaining 100 mL of slurry to step up to 1000+ mL starter for pitching.

This works far better for me than trying to wash yeast from the primary. I also think it reduces risk of contamination, mutation, stress from high gravity batches, etc.
Your's is good method which I hadn't thought of....

My method is simple enough. I brew a beer and fill three 200ml jars with the fresh wort and pour a tiny bit of yeast into each jar and then pitch the bulk of the vial into the main batch. This way I'll have yeasts in a recipe specific starter.

The next three times I brew that recipe I pitch one of the jars.

I just started doing this and so far have 12 jars and 4 yeast strains in the fridge. I figure I'll plate them once a yeast or so and isolate the yeasties from the beasties.

I am entering my 15th year of homebrewing and I only recently started messing with liquid yeast. Part of me misses all of the old dry yeast strains by White Labs and Wyeas that used to be out there. Now they are all sold as liquid yeast. It is fun to decant the starter and verify the quality with a good shot of crystal clear beer each time I pitch.
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