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Old 11-23-2009, 04:07 PM   #1
ChuckinWA
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Default Yeast washing question

OK gents, I've read the entire Yeast Washing Illustrated thread (why is it not a sticky anymore?), and believe it or not, after 555 posts, I STILL have a question! This is my first attempt at yeast harvesting BTW.

Saturday I racked my beer, swirled up the cake, moved it into a sanitized growler, added some boiled and cooled water, swirled it some more, and put an airlock on (which was REALLY bubbling for an hour or two). Now the cake has settled and I have about 50/50 cake and amber liquid. My question is this: the "directions" say to decant the yeast off of the trub, but.....I have no trub!??! I assume this can't be true, but it really appears that the entire cake is uniform looking - which I assume is yeast. There doesen't appear to be any other "gunk" in there at all. Do I have a yeast/trub mix somehow that I'm just not seeing? I figured there would be an obvious layer of gunk on the bottom, yeast sitting above that, and amber liquid on the top. But I only have 2 layers. What gives? I have a couple pictures, but can't figure out how to attach them.

Thanks for any insight!



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Old 11-23-2009, 04:19 PM   #2
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your viable yeast is in suspension in the liquid. All the cake at the bottom is made up up trub, dead yeast, live yeast, etc....



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Old 11-23-2009, 04:31 PM   #3
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Ok, I have a question. How do you "decant" the liquid? What method do you use?
Turkey Baster? Pour it slowly and don't let the trub go?

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Old 11-23-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
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So Vespa2t, would you suggest I swirl it up again, kind of let it "half settle" (maybe an hour?), then decant the cloudy water off of whatever settles? Sounds like that's my best bet. Thanks.

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Old 11-23-2009, 04:45 PM   #5
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BTW Chuck, the yeast washing thread is still a sticky. It's in the "General Techniques" Subforum, not "Fermentation & Yeast."

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Old 11-23-2009, 05:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckinWA View Post
So Vespa2t, would you suggest I swirl it up again, kind of let it "half settle" (maybe an hour?), then decant the cloudy water off of whatever settles? Sounds like that's my best bet. Thanks.
I am not Vespa (though I did own a Vespa scooter back in the 1970's).
The original instructions say to swirl and let it sit for 20 minutes. This allows some of the trub to fall out, but the good yeast is still in the cloudy liquid you keep. Doing this twice gets most of the trub out of the mix.
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuckinWA View Post
So Vespa2t, would you suggest I swirl it up again, kind of let it "half settle" (maybe an hour?), then decant the cloudy water off of whatever settles? Sounds like that's my best bet. Thanks.
Yeah, I'd do that and let it sit 20-60 minutes. I'd just put it in the fridge for 20 and then continue to rack the liquid.
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:02 PM   #8
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I like to stir up and let settle 60min. the vast majority of the unwanted stuff is gone by then

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Old 11-23-2009, 07:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vespa2t View Post
I like to stir up and let settle 60min. the vast majority of the unwanted stuff is gone by then
Just be careful, the vast majority of the yeast might be gone, too, depending on the strain.
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Old 11-23-2009, 09:07 PM   #10
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OK, I just swirled it up and poured it again after a 20 minute wait. I still only saw 2 real layers - an amber liquid that was clear on the top (only a few tablespoons now of course, since it hadn't had time to settle) and what appears to be the yeast in suspension. No gunk! I "double filtered" when I put it into the fermenter a couple weeks ago (once through the metal screen in the bottom of the kettle, and once through a the large funnel with screen into the fermenting bucket), I must have gotten most of the stuff out then.

Maybe I'm confused on what "trub" actaully looks like? Palmer says it's the "sediment at the bottom of the fermenter consisting of hot and cold break material, hop bits, and dead yeast". Is it possible that when I filtered it throught the funnel going into the fermenter, that the break material was separated out along with the hops (whole)? If so then my trub in the fermenter should only be dead yeast, no? The problem is then....how do you determine dead yeast from "hibernating" yeast by sight?

Funny how it's called "yeast washing", when it's really just pouring the stuff from one jar to another.



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