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Old 10-05-2009, 02:49 AM   #1
JamesM
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Default Yeast Life Span

Hi, Before I pitched my starter, I spooned a hunk of yeast and some wort back into the test tube I bought it in and put it in the fridge. How long do you think it will stay alive for?

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Old 10-05-2009, 11:32 PM   #2
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the yeast will go dormant and should keep for some time. but you should make a new starter next time. when you go to use it just give it a sniff test. if it smells like yeast it should be ok. if it smells rancid dump it and get new yeast. also check it for mold. moldy yeast is no good.

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Old 10-05-2009, 11:37 PM   #3
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About 45 million years actually.....

45 million year old yeast ferments amber ale




Seriously though, Bobby M recently did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/testing-limits-yeast-viability-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes. I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.

You just need first to apply the "sniff test" if it smell bad, especially if it smells like week old gorilla poop in a diaper left on the side of the road in the heat of summer.

Then make a starter, and if it takes off you are fine.

THe only issue I have is, did you sanitize the tube you put the yeast back into? Most of us store in mason jar that we either boil or sanitize with starsan or iodophor. If your vessel wasn't sanitized, then that may be an issue, and you'll know with a sniff test down the line.

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Old 10-06-2009, 12:30 AM   #4
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Definitely keep us posted. I'd like to know how this turns out. If this is successful I might try it out. I usually brew once a month so If I did this it would only need to be kept around 30 days before using it...

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Old 10-06-2009, 02:21 AM   #5
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I sanitized with about 1C of bleach for a gallon of water for about an hour. That should do the trick. Right?

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Old 10-06-2009, 02:23 AM   #6
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Revvy already posted a great link. I made a starter last weekend from yeast in my fridge that I harvested just short of 11 months earlier. It made a great starter and the beer was fermenting in under eight hours after pitching. I can be a bit lazy, but I'm pretty uptight about being as sanitary as possible. I don't think that long is recommended, but it worked for me. SO, yeast can survive quite a bit.

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