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-   -   reusing yeast (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/reusing-yeast-1069/)

busmanray 05-10-2005 04:34 PM

reusing yeast
hey guys need some information about yeast from a previous batch?
1-should a yeast from a stout be used for stout only?
2-I need step by step instructions how to prepare yeast
3-unlike pre measured yeast ,how do u know how much to use


homebrewer_99 05-10-2005 05:05 PM

Yes, you should try to maintain same type beer yeast for the next same type beer. If you tried to made a pale ale with a previous batches stout, well, you'd end up with a strange mix.

There are almost as many ways to prepare a yeast starter as it is to skin a cat. There are no real set rules as to using 3 TBS of malt to 1 C water or 1/2 C of malt to 1/2 gal of water. The intent is to add the yeast to the malt to get the yeast active prior to pitching (which lessens your wait time). There are plenty of instruction on the net. Just do a search for "Yeast Starter".

As for the initial amount...many people just pitch the contents of the vial or smack pack. Some of us ALWAYS make starters. This insures your yeast is alive prior to pitching. While the smack packs are handy you can actually use a very small amount to make a starter. It just takes longer. When I capture my yeast from a primary I usually get 2 or 3 - 22 oz bottles. After the yeast/hops settle out there is usually about 4-6 oz of yeast on the bottom of the bottle and the remainder is beer. I usually pour off most of the liquid (to be sampled) and swirl the bottle to mix the remaining beer and yeast and pitch the entire bottle.

Others will agree/disagree with some/most/all of my comments.

Isn't that what makes this fun?

brewhead 05-10-2005 06:07 PM

still if one is reusing the yeast - i am assuming you are taking the sample from the primary fermentation.

additionally how would you go about storing the yeast until the next brew session? you mentioned several 22 oz bottles i am assuming then that you cap em like you would the brew on bottling day.

and how long can one keep this yeast concoction?

i am trying to keep a rotation going so there is usually 2 week lag between brewing.

is there a limit to the amount of times you can reuse the yeast before you toss it entirely or add more yeast?

homebrewer_99 05-10-2005 07:01 PM

I originally cap them with aluminum foil. I fold one piece over several times and twist the ends (like pigtails) to get it a bit tight. After a couple of days in the fridge (after it becomes dormant) I will cap the bottle. I always label what type of yeast is in the bottle, how many times I've used the yeast, and the batch name and number (I number my batches - for instance, 5009 is the 9th batch in 2005). You have to keep the yeast rotated, using the oldest first or dumping if you don't trust it.

I've used yeast up to a year (as most recommendations say is long enough). I've used 1+ year old yeast before without any problems. Sometimes you just have to use a bit more.

I think the number of times you reuse yeast will depend on your sanitation practices. I've read 5-6 times, 34 times, and up to 100 times for some commercial brews. I think there was one Belgian recipe that uses the same yeast over and over since the 1800s.

brewhead 05-10-2005 08:02 PM

beyond cost savings - what advantage does reusing give me?

homebrewer_99 05-10-2005 08:11 PM

The same as homebrewing -- it's fun!! (Like another science experiment.)

brewhead 05-10-2005 08:47 PM

so let me get this straight - i currently have 5 gallons in the primary right now - tomorrow when i get home i plan to rack to the carboy for a week of clarification. the yeast cake at the bottom of the primary i should place in a air tight bottle or such and store until i am ready to pitch again.

should i use the yeast that comes with the recipe in addition to the captured yeast?

or just save that packet for later?

homebrewer_99 05-10-2005 09:23 PM

Sanitize a couple of bottles, say, 4-6 12 oz, or 3 16 oz.

Rack as much beer of of the yeast as you feel you need to (some of us like it cloudy).

Then mix the remains up a bit. Pour as much as you can into the bottles. Be careful when using a (sanitized) funnel as they tend to overfill the bottle if you are not paying attention because the funnel will fill up after the bottle is full which will create a spill-over. I usually fill 2-3 bottles a bit past 1/2 way and then try to fill them equally. Place the foil (see preivous posts) on top and refridgerate. Don't forget to label each bottle.

The next day you will notice all the solids have dropped to the bottom and there is a layer of beer on top of the yeast. Some people will pitch it or pour it into a glass and drink (that's me - I sample a bit at every stage).

After a day or two you can cap them. Take one out a day before brewing to warm up to room temp. Be sure to break the seal on the cap and place another piece of foil over it or an airlock. Sterilize water/malt - boil for 5 minutes. Use a cotton ball or Q-Tip dipped in some vodka and sanitize the lip of the bottle with the yeast. Pour the malt (after it cools to the 70s) and yeast into a larger (sanitized) container (1/2 gal apple juice jug works fine) as a starter.

It'll be ready to use the next day. :D

You should switch to liquid yeast. Dry yeast mutates faster.

You don't need the dry yeast that came with the kit. Unless it is a specific yeast strain for a specific style of beer, save the dry stuff for emergencies.

homebrewer_99 05-10-2005 09:32 PM

Sorry for the double post.......

brewhead 05-10-2005 09:47 PM


Rack as much beer of of the yeast as you feel you need to (some of us like it cloudy).
hmm well just as an aside - i usually rack to the carboy after 3 days - then a week for clarification - i like it clear. i mean - to me if i'm doing a pilsner it's kind of a buzz kill if it looks like a milk shake. just me - shrug

anyhooo - ok bill i'm betting my next ten gallons on your yeast recycling process. it had better work or there'll be hell to pay! :D

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