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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Can yeast survive freezing?
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:46 PM   #1
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Default Can yeast survive freezing?

So yesterday I was in a huge hurry when I finished brewing my belgian quad and put it in my temp controlled freezer to ferment.. I went down to check on it today, and found that I had left the temp control outside the freezer, and my beer was frozen!

How likely is it that these yeast will survive? Should I repitch after it thaws?


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Old 08-15-2010, 03:53 PM   #2
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I'd thaw it and bring it up to fermentation temperature....slowly. Wait 2 days and check for activity. If none, I'd repitch.


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Old 08-15-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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It is highly unlikely enough yeast will have survived to ferment your beer. I would bring up to temp and repitch.
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Old 08-15-2010, 04:05 PM   #4
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I bought a Costco sized package of yeast to make bread about 5 years ago and it has been in storage in my freezer ever since. It expired last year. I continue to use it successfully to make bread. So no, its not dead, but one could reasonably assume its viability has been compromised a bit. Your results may vary, of course, this stuff was about $4 for a lb.
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Old 08-15-2010, 04:17 PM   #5
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Your bread yeast was dehydrated. Freezing live or reconstituted yeast cells causes the cell wall to burst, killing the yeast.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:49 AM   #6
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Sounds like I need to try and pitch frozen yeast to see the truth in this. I have some harvested yeast I am going to freeze.
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dunerunner View Post
Your bread yeast was dehydrated. Freezing live or reconstituted yeast cells causes the cell wall to burst, killing the yeast.
+1 This is exactly the problem. Freezing the beer will fracture the majority of your yeast cells. The issue here is that whatever yeast manage to survive will likely not be enough to successfully regrow a large quantity of yeast to ferment your beer without off flavours.

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Sounds like I need to try and pitch frozen yeast to see the truth in this. I have some harvested yeast I am going to freeze.
I guarantee you this is true, I did cell culture in the lab for many years. Unless there is DMSO or glycerol in the freezing medium, your cells are ****ed.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:35 PM   #8
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Well, it's back up to 60* now, and I'm seeing some activity. There's not more than 1/2" krausen, but at this point maybe it's just the temp and the defoamer I used during the brew process (first time using it, so I don't know how much it reduces the foam). I'll give it until tomorrow morning to decide, and pitch again if it doesn't seem to be taking off. I don't want to spend more money on this cursed batch if I can avoid it.. I missed my temps, burned the LME because I forgot to stir, and froze the beer. I think it might be a sign from the beer gods that I should just let this one go.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:47 PM   #9
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I'd thaw it and bring it up to fermentation temperature....slowly. Wait 2 days and check for activity. If none, I'd repitch.
+1 that. I've heard of this happening before with some people not having any issues, others had to repitch. It'll likely change the flavor profile of the end product but you've by no means ruined anything. It just make take an extra step or two to get where you're going in the end. No biggie.
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:53 PM   #10
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I accidentally froze a Wyeast smack pack a couple of months ago. I thawed it, smacked it, and it swelled fine. I'm not recommending freezing yeast, but I also doubt all hope is gone.


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