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Old 10-17-2012, 12:52 PM   #1
galacticbrewing12
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Default What are the benefits of yeast harvesting/washing?

I apologize if this sounds incompetent, but after reading some information regarding the benefits of yeast harvesting/washing it seemed like the key benefits were saving money and being able to use the yeast multiple times. After reading about how to do a yeast starter (being that I had always used White Labs or Wyeast that did not require a yeast starter) it seems like the benefit of saving money isn't true. You have to buy a new thing of yeast to activate your dormant yeast that you harvested and some DME to develop your yeast starter. So, it looks like to me you are actually spending more money by having to buy new yeast and DME everytime you need to do a yeast starter. In my opinion it seems just easier to buy new yeast each time I need to brew instead of harvesting my yeast. Please let me know if there is something I am missing or wrong about.

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Old 10-17-2012, 12:58 PM   #2
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No need to buy more yeast. Just put the washed yeast into a starter and it'll take off just fine.

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Old 10-17-2012, 01:36 PM   #3
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Personal preference my friend. Sometimes it is more cost affective to buy new or harvest. You don't have to buy new yeast to activate dormant yeast. That is the purpose of the starter. Fresh yeast is still dormant when using it. By pitching it in or pouring to an appropriate temp for fermenting you can avoid a starter because the yeast will become active as there are fermentable sugars there for yeast digestion. A starter is just a way for a brewer to expand yeast population before before pitching it in to your wort. By expanding your yeast in a starter first it allows for a faster more aggressive fermentation, Because the yeast is more healthy to start off. Yes you can buy dme or lme to put in the starter. Or you can use it out of your wort. Iv even used priming sugar and it has worked well. I dont use priming sugar because i keg. So it is left over when doing a malt extract kit. The faster the fermentation and the healthier the yeast the better quality taste you get out of your beer. But you can make excellent beer by not doing a starter. Oh with harvested yeast you are already starting of with more yeast then if you are to use fresh yeast. The more yeast you start with the less time the yeast takes to expand population, the yeast in turn have less scares and more healthy from division and the faster an active ferment begins. Hope that is some help to your dilemma.

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Old 10-17-2012, 01:49 PM   #4
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Thanks everyone that makes more sense. How long can I leave the harvested yeast in the fridge?

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Old 10-17-2012, 02:08 PM   #5
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I have never harvested yeast myself. Plan to start though. I know there is only a certain period of time you can store in refrigerator, but all you have to do if storing over that period of time is reactivate in a starter, wash and store again.

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Old 10-17-2012, 02:10 PM   #6
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A really good book to look into that has everything you need to know about this is "the complete joy of homebrewing 3rd edition " this book has a lot of information not just on starters but on the whole process of brewing to advance levels

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Old 10-17-2012, 02:16 PM   #7
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I do believe its about 3 months. And then you need to reactivate to get new yeast and then wash and store. You can also freeze yeast to preserve freshness

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Old 10-17-2012, 02:24 PM   #8
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The main reason is price. It knocks off $7 every batch you brew. I know a lot of commercial brewers reuse their yeast as well, but I think that has more to do with convenience for them. I actually just stopped washing and reusing my yeast, because I found it difficult to hit the correct cell count for my beer. I was consistently over pitching my beers, and they were coming out thin. There was a July/August 2012 BYO article on washing yeast talking about scheduling your beers from low intensity flavors to high intensity while repitching, and pretty much spells the whole process. Its a good read:

http://www.byo.com/stories/article/indices/58-yeast/2577-second-generation-techniques

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Old 10-17-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galacticbrewing12 View Post
How long can I leave the harvested yeast in the fridge?
I just brewed a Saison two weeks ago using Wyeast 3711 that I harvested in May. All I did was pitch it into a starter to wake it up. It took my Saison from 1.053 to 1.005 in 7 days. According to my calculations, that's 5 months that the yeast was in the refrigerator.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:58 PM   #10
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Any suggestions on where to locate a good calculator? Or if anyone has any standard numbers for how much yeast and DME are required for a 5 gallon batch I would be open to help being that this would be the first time I have done a yeast starter from harvested yeast.

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