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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Yeast viable after 5 months
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:41 PM   #1
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Default Yeast viable after 5 months

I wash and store all my yeast and often go 5-6 months before re-using. My standard is I usually get 50 ml of thick yeast in a jar after settling then re-pitch in a 1 liter starter for ale and fermentation is cranking in 24 hrs. Generally, this works well for ale. For lager, I've done the same, but have not been impressed with my 2 lagers so far and my conclusion is not pitching enough yeast.

So this weekend I am doing an Oktoberfest with Wyeast bavarian lager yeast. I have about 50 ml of thick slurry in a 1.5L starter which I plan to add 1.5 more litters after decanting to build up my starter. So I've never seen Mr. Malty, but I run the numbers and I see about 1 liter of thick yeast or 1.7 litter of average. The harvest date for the yeast is 1/31/12 and Mr. Malty says that is 10% viability.

All I can say is I am floored and I know this starter would have to be 10-20 liters to get that much yeast. Is this viability really that low? If so, I am guessing 2 packs of new yeast would be smarter.

I really need a microscope to start learning this better.

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Old 06-13-2012, 09:51 PM   #2
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If you make a starter, then the age of a yeast isn't really an issue. When you make a starter, and grow it, you're replicating more yeast to make up for any loss. You're making new, fresh yeast.

Bobby M did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes.

I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.
The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.

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Old 06-13-2012, 09:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
If you make a starter, then the age of a yeast isn't really an issue. When you make a starter, and grow it, you're replicating more yeast to make up for any loss. You're making new, fresh yeast.

Bobby M did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes.

I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.
The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.
On Mr. Malty the age seems to matter, but I will take your word for it as I've probably done this about 30 times, just not real well with Lager. Also of note, I do use a stir plate.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
If you make a starter, then the age of a yeast isn't really an issue. When you make a starter, and grow it, you're replicating more yeast to make up for any loss. You're making new, fresh yeast.

Bobby M did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes.

I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.
The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.

Also can you confirm that about 3 L of wort should be sufficient for a lager?
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