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Old 07-15-2009, 12:51 AM   #1
Corjyn
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Default Culturing Yeast

Do any of you guys culture and keep your yeast? I've read some info on it, mostly from Palmer's book. It seems interesting and it has peaked my curiosity, what are your techniques and how are the results?

Michiganders!! The summer beerfest is coming up the weekend of July 25th, hoping you all will make it.

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Old 07-15-2009, 01:14 AM   #2
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/yeas...strated-41768/

Or search yeast washing, not sure what you mean by culturing, some people will capture wild yeast and some people will propagate from trub, etc.
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Old 07-15-2009, 01:52 AM   #3
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I have been doing some research about culturing too. If done right you can culture many yeast colonies from just one initial source. Then use those colonies
to make yeast starters for future batches. MoreBeer sells all the stuff you need to culture yeast. I picked up the book First Steps in Yeast Culture from them to learn all about it.

Check out these links for more great info:

http://www.bodensatz.com/staticpages/index.php?page=20030128212525422

or this:

http://www.unm.edu/~draper/beer/slantuse.html

and last:

http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.3/king.html

Hope this helps.

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Old 07-15-2009, 05:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corjyn View Post
Do any of you guys culture and keep your yeast? I've read some info on it, mostly from Palmer's book. It seems interesting and it has peaked my curiosity, what are your techniques and how are the results?
Yeast washing is probably more common than culturing by 10:1, but yes there are "ranchers" here. My sig has links to my own efforts.
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:37 AM   #5
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I recently started culturing primarily to save money and to have the convenience of having a yeast bank. I am using sterile distilled water to store the yeast at room temp which requires supplies such as a pressure cooker, agar, dry malt, petri dishes, vials and various others. Culturing is more time intense but I don't get the chance to brew very often so yeast washing was not a good solution for me.

From my research storing the yeast in distilled water provides the most viability with long term storage and does not require reculturing as often as slants which is the reason I chose it over slants.

One of the great things is that I was able to take an infected batch of cider (acetobacter) after racking, wash the yeast in sterile water and reisolate the wyeast weihenstephan yeast back to a pure culture. I was able to grow up a 1 liter starter from a pin head sized colony of yeast on a wort agar plate and I am now fermenting a new batch of cider with it. Allowed me to save $7 but more importantly was a proof of concept and good practice for sterile technique.

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Old 07-15-2009, 07:21 AM   #6
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I am always tempted to do this, but I also like to keep my LHBS in operation since a buddy bought it. I do wash and store yeast but brewing different styles with different yeast I can go many months before I want to use something stored.
How long do yeast banks last in your standard household freezer?
I am thinking I would also need a stir plate to step up the cultures, etc.

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Old 07-15-2009, 04:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kauai_Kahuna View Post
I am always tempted to do this, but I also like to keep my LHBS in operation since a buddy bought it. I do wash and store yeast but brewing different styles with different yeast I can go many months before I want to use something stored.
How long do yeast banks last in your standard household freezer?
I am thinking I would also need a stir plate to step up the cultures, etc.
Yes you do need a stir plate.

When I store them in distilled water it is at room temperature and from what I read you can store them in this fashion for 1 year or longer. I don't have personal experience with this as I just recently started but this information is coming from multiple sites. If you store them on slants (agar in a test tube) I think you need to reculture every 3-4 months. This means you make more agar slants and innoculate (transfer yeast) onto the new slant. Kind of like transferring the yeast to a new and better home.

I was not interested in reculturing this often and if a year goes by for one of my yeast banks I can always plate it on wort agar, let it sit for 2-3 days and bank it again in more sterile distilled water. This wouldn't be any more work than reculturing a slant except I can do it less often.

The down side to using sterile distilled water storage is that you are dealing with less yeast typically. So when it's time to revive a handful of them to make beer you need to be more careful with sterile technique. But I have not had problems and I don't go crazy with sterile technique. Below is a list of supplies that are necessary for sterile distilled water storage although additional supplies are nice to have.

-Stir plate
-Pyrex flasks or equivalent for making starters (I would suggest, 100ml, 500ml, 1000ml and 2000ml)
-Magnetic stir bars
-Torch, alcohol lamp, bunsen burner (any)
-petri plates or small pyrex plates for wort agar
-Dry Malt extract (to make wort agar for yeast to grow on and starters)
-Agar or gelatin (to turn wort agar solid)
-Yeast nutrient
-Innoculating loop (can be bought off ebay or other sources)
-Rubbing Alcohol (to sanitize your working area)
-Small 8-10ml vials for storage (I have a great source for very cheap if anyone is interested)
-Distilled water (can get from walmart or wherever)
-Pressure cooker (allows you to sterilize including killing spores by going up to 250F.)

Seems like a lot of equipment but some people may already have most of it for making starters already. Also, a lot of this equipment can be obtained rather cheaply or a diy solution can be thought up.
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Old 07-15-2009, 05:13 PM   #8
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I have been simply washing my yeast for some time as I tend to use my primary strain (WLP001) more often than all other yeasts. However, I do have a few other strains that have been washed. I am planning on getting into banking using distilled water that has been autoclaved for long term storage of yeast. This is by far the best way to keep yeast for extended periods of time without requiring refrigeration or freezing the yeast. That's the next project as soon as I get the keezer out of the way.

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Old 08-06-2009, 08:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kauai_Kahuna View Post
I am always tempted to do this, but I also like to keep my LHBS in operation since a buddy bought it. I do wash and store yeast but brewing different styles with different yeast I can go many months before I want to use something stored.
How long do yeast banks last in your standard household freezer?
I am thinking I would also need a stir plate to step up the cultures, etc.
I too like supporting my LHBS, that not withstanding I am ranching some of the Wyeast VSS/Private Collection strains since they are not always available (or may never be available again). For example I have four vials or first generation Fat Tire Ale yeast frozen. I plan to only ranch the strains I can't otherwise get consistently.
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