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Old 07-27-2009, 05:04 AM   #1
BrewOnBoard
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Default Reusing a yeast cake. Anything I need to know?

I quite like the idea of reusing a yeast cake in the primary. Not only can I be lazy but I can be cheap as well!! Seems like a great way to save a few bucks, skip a little cleaning and sanitation, and ensure that you've got healthy yeast for batch #2.

Is it as simple as racking beer #1 off the trub in the primary, then adding beer #2 at the correct temp to the primary? Does the yeast cake have to be used immediately or can it be stored without harm for a time?

Any specific techniques or pitfalls that I should be aware of?

How does it affect the taste of beer #2 (if at all).

Thanks!

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Old 07-27-2009, 05:12 AM   #2
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As long as your second beer's style would benefit from the first batch's yeat, you can simply rack the first batch and then dump the second batch into the primary. There are some things to consider such as heavy hops usage and high ABV%. If either of those were present in your first beer, you may want to shy away from using the cake or washing the yeast. It's best to start with a smaller, more neutral beer and then go to a big boy brew.

I'm a big fan of washing yeast actually. This allows me to get at least 4 batches worth of yeast from every cake. That way I don't necessarily have to use the same yeast in subsequent batches.

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Old 07-27-2009, 06:05 AM   #3
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If you haven't already seen this thread, I would check it out. I'm currently using it as a resource for harvesting yeast from my primary.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/yeast-washing-illustrated-41768/

I PERSONALLY would shy away from just racking on top of a used yeast cake with out washing it. On top of good healthy yeast presiding in the yeast cake, there are also dead yeast cells, protein cells that have fallen out of suspension, old hop particles, and potentially dozens of other "contaminants" that could potentially produce off-flavors in your second/third/fourth/fifth batch. A lot of these things are minimized when you "wash" yeast.

Washing yeast also allows you to store it for future use, in case you are not ready immediately with a second batch.

I say this humbly of course, having never tried this method, where as rsmith has clearly tried it with positive results.

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Old 07-27-2009, 01:12 PM   #4
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USE A BLOWOFF TUBE.

I re-used a yeast cake for the first time during yesterdays brew, racking on top of White Labs California Ale (WLP001). The first brew was a standard American wheat (that will eventually become a Blueberry wheat after I find time to go picking). The second brew is an all-Simcoe IPA.

Fermentation took off after 3 hours of racking into the carboy, and was bubbling like mad after about 5 hours. I used the recommended dosage of Fermcap-S to keep the krausen down as much as I could, but by this morning it was still creeping up towards the top of my 6.5 gallon carboy. I anticipate that i'll be into the blowoff tube by this afternoon, and this is WITH Fermcap-S.
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:07 PM   #5
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I agree with hopvine.

Also, don't reuse it more than once. I've heard that you can do it up to three times, but my experience wasn't good.

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