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Old 02-15-2011, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default Yeast cells estimate from volume

How would I estimate how many yeast cells are in X cubic inches of settled yeast (like from yeast washing)? I know how to determine the volume, (pi * r ^2 * H) just not sure what to do from there.

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Old 02-15-2011, 05:41 PM   #2
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Get a microscope, a hemocytometer, and a graduated cylinder and dilute the yeast and count the cells. You don't need a particularly strong microscope, you can probably pick up one used online.

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Old 02-15-2011, 06:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gio View Post
Get a microscope, a hemocytometer, and a graduated cylinder and dilute the yeast and count the cells. You don't need a particularly strong microscope, you can probably pick up one used online.
That seems very cool I must get a hemocytometer - and a lab coat to go with it!

Is there no "average" you could use for a rough guesstimate?
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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http://www.wyeastlab.com/com-yeast-harvest.cfm

"Generally 40-60% yeast solids will correlate to 1.2 billion cells per ml. This will very with the yeast strain. "
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyrmwood View Post
That seems very cool Is there no "average" you could use for a rough guesstimate?
How compacted is your yeast cake?

This is why there's no "average".
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:55 PM   #6
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I was curious about how much yeast I was collecting after a wash also. Just guessing I usually have about a 1/4 cup of yeast solids in each pint jar after washing. This is pretty clean stuff so I would say that it surely meets the 40%-60% that Wyeast talks about here; http://www.wyeastlab.com/com-yeast-harvest.cfm

So 1/4 cup is about 60ml. 1.2 billion cells per ml. 60 x 1.2 billion = 72 billion.**

72 billion cells is a little short of a smack pack but plenty to do a 1 liter starter imho.



Correction
** I went back to Wyeast and looked at the info about harvesting yeast. It seems I'm measuring the yeast solids from the slurry. It's not 40% or 60% yeast solids from slurry, it's more like 100% yeast solids.

So I suppose that if 50% slurry gets you around 1.2 billion cells, then 100% solids should get you around 2.4 billion cells per ml of solids?

1/4 cup of solids is 60ml. 2.4 billion cells per ml. 60 x 2.4 billion = 144 billion cells!


Anyone else figure it like I am?

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Old 02-16-2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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So, for each cubic inch, that's about 16ml and in my pint jars, about 8 cubic inches per inch of sediment. Most of mine are 1/8 to 1/4 inch, so between 1 and 2 cubic inches or between 16 and 32ml, or around 60 billion cells on average in a jar, say 50 to account for the slightly rounded end. So, for my next high gravity beer, brewtarget tells me I need 325 billion cells for 5 gallons at 1.096, or about 6 jars? Or should I just use a three or four jars and make a starter? (I have 8 jars.) I guess I should do the starter in any case, to ensure viability, but then how much do I need (or wait/keep adding until I have 300 billion in the starter?)

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Old 02-16-2011, 04:10 PM   #8
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I respect the quest for knowledge, but I am glad that I do not take yeast counting so seriously.

Think ancient germans had a hemocytometer? Me either.

Methinks my best guess will be as accurate as your extrapolated hemocytometer findings, and will take 1/100000000 of the time and effort.

To each their own though.

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Old 02-16-2011, 04:15 PM   #9
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I respect the quest for knowledge, but I am glad that I do not take yeast counting so seriously.

Think ancient germans had a hemocytometer? Me either.

Methinks my best guess will be as accurate as your extrapolated hemocytometer findings, and will take 1/100000000 of the time and effort.

To each their own though.

Care to give it a wag?
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:35 PM   #10
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Lol, How would we know?

I am just saying, batch for batch, even if you are 12% more accurate, will it make any measureable diff in the beer?

I doubt it. It's probably even less possible to measure that.

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