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Old 12-12-2012, 09:07 PM   #1
nunnlife
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Default Using the yeast cake

I currently have a Russian Imperial Stout in my primary and will be doing a secondary transfer at some point and was interested in trying to use the yeast cake for a new patch. Can someone give some pointers and things to consider? What type of recipe do people recommend with the cake of a Russian Imperial?

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Old 12-12-2012, 09:16 PM   #2
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Same recipe is typically how I roll with yeast cakes. Or something that the flavor characters from the Russian will not impact as greatly. I think I'd personally throw a Pale Ale on it though just to see what happens. That's what brewing is about.

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:09 PM   #3
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You won't get much (if any detectable) flavors going from one beer to another, so that should not be a concern.

Using the whole cake will produce a decent beer, but it is over-pitching, and many believe (myself included) you will have healthier yeast if you only use a portion of the cake. When I re-use a cake, I only use roughly a quarter of it.

Using less yeast permits the yeast to reproduce, creating fresh yeast to fully ferment the beer. If you over-pitch, you get less reproduction, and a lot of he work then has to be done by the 'old' tired yeast.

NOTE: You can also under-pitch, so it is a matter of getting close to the optimum.

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:16 PM   #4
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Russian Imperials are also high in alcohol. This may mutate the yeast making it a poor choice to re-use the cake. upper limits on ABV for re-using yeast are generally about 6%. I am no pro, just passing along info I have learned from others.

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:20 PM   #5
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Typically you don't want to reuse yeast from big beers. Those little buggers work really hard to chew through that much sugar and become stressed once the abv starts to rise. Big beers will leave more trub too with all the extra grist and hops. That's not to say it won't be fine anyway but as a general rule of thumb it's generally better to work from smaller beers up when reusing yeast.

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Old 12-12-2012, 10:23 PM   #6
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Russian Imperials are also high in alcohol. This may mutate the yeast making it a poor choice to re-use the cake. upper limits on ABV for re-using yeast are generally about 6%. I am no pro, just passing along info I have learned from others.
This. Again, just passing along from what I've been told.

When I've repitched, I've always followed this advice. Start with a low ABV session beer (say, a Bitter), then repitch onto a Northern Brown. Then repitch onto an ESB. Then repitch onto an IPA. Then repitch onto a Barleywine. That kind of idea. I've never gone past a second generation myself (timetable of the pipeline just hasn't worked out), but I've always gone something like APA to IPA, and generally with similar hops.

I probably wouldn't try repitching from an Imperial Stout.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Russian Imperials are also high in alcohol. This may mutate the yeast making it a poor choice to re-use the cake. upper limits on ABV for re-using yeast are generally about 6%. I am no pro, just passing along info I have learned from others.
Belgian brewers re-pitch from high gravity beers all the time. I've done it from 9% at times with no issues.

Agreed, yeast get more stressed with a bigger beers, and generally you should try and use yeast from lower gravity beers, but you can still make great beer with yeast from higher gravity beers too.

Certainly for a beginner, I would not stop them from re-using yeast from any beer if it will still make decent beer.
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Old 12-13-2012, 12:55 AM   #8
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I pitched a black ipa onto a safeale 05 cake. Helluva blow off.

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Old 12-13-2012, 12:58 AM   #9
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Planning in doing this at the end of the month (from an APA to a stout). Since that's my plan, I've done a bit of research over the past two weeks. I have heard essentially what others have said above, but it all sounds like opinion and anecdote. I'm an engineer and I like facts and evidence.

The one thing I have real evidence of is a quick (really!) experiment where someone tried it. Because there is so much yeast, the yeast is at its prime, and there is a ton of fermentables, fermentation takes off extremely fast. What I saw was a time-lapsed video showing the blow off tube getting filled in under two hours.

Since the search function on HBT is no google, I suggest you google "pitching onto a yeast cake". Search through the hits that link to HBT. you should be able to find the video I saw.

So in the end, it is your choice what to do. Make your own decisions. But use a blowoff tube and maybe have a swamp cooler ready, because that fast of a fermentation WILL kick off a bit of heat. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

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Old 12-13-2012, 02:33 AM   #10
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/can-...r-means-80015/

This is where I found the video of the brew hitting the blow off tube in under two hours. Look for the post by brewing clamper.
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