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Old 03-04-2013, 05:32 PM   #1
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Default Using brown sugar in place of DME for yeast harvesting?

So I'm an experienced brewer who's harvested yeast and also repitched onto yeast cakes, but I'm in a pinch. I have some Wyeast WLP566 Saison II yeast that is currently in secondary. I'm planning to rack to a keg on Tuesday night and have no way of getting to the LHBS before they close the next two nights to grab some DME to reharvest the yeast that's left behind for another Saison on Saturday.

Anyway, this is I guess a two-part question.

1.) Will harvesting from the secondary work? Will I have enough viable cells to get a good enough starter going in time for Saturday brew day?

2.) Is brown sugar a viable enough DME replacement for harvesting? Since I can't get DME in time, I obviously can't get yeast nutrient in time. Any chance a multivitamin will work along with brown sugar to get me going.

I'm just in a bind here in a bad way and need some last minute help.


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Old 03-04-2013, 05:45 PM   #2
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If it were me, good beer is more important than chancing it. I'd wait to brew until you get enough DME to make a proper stater or mash up some grains and make your own 1.040 wort.

Brown sugar is not DME.

Please do not add vitamins to your starters.


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Old 03-04-2013, 05:46 PM   #3
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1. Harvesting from secondary works, however you are genetically selecting yeast that doesn't flocculate well. But you are picking yeast that does attenuate well, so it depends on what you are going after. The vitality of the yeast wont be as great as getting yeast from kreusen for example, since the yeast has been dormant sitting under alcohol. Being only second generation, these scenarios shouldn't affect it too much if you get a good starter going.

2. I wouldnt do it. It's not recommended to use simple sugars for yeast starters.

I would just take your cake from secondary, wash it as you normally do and store in the fridge. Once you can get your hands on some DME get a starter going from that.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #4
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Don't use sugar to propagate yeast. It does not have the necessary nutrients for yeast growth. In particular its lacking nitrogen and trace elements like zinc.

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Old 03-04-2013, 05:49 PM   #5
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As I understand it, yeast from the secondary will be the least flocculant of the bunch and when they reproduce you have a culture that is less flocculant than the original. The brown sugar thing sounds like a bad idea. I say try it anyway but if the yeast get used to the simple sugars they may be less likely to consume anyhting else.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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Here's the piece that's always stuck with me concerning using simple sugars to make a starter.

Quote:
First thing's first, we're going to need some wort to use in our starter. By far, the best food for yeast that is going to be consuming wort in the very near future is, you guessed it, wort. I say this because you may, at some point, have the idea that you can just use table sugar for your starter. This is a bad idea because the yeast will become accustomed to consuming the simple sugars in table sugar and when it's time to eat up all those beer sugars (maltose, etc.) they will not take to the idea very well and may drop out of the fermentation before the job is done. Think of this as having to drink a Bud after having a great, homebrewed beer - you wouldn't want that and, in a way, it's the same with the yeast.
http://www.brew365.com/technique_mak...st_starter.php
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:02 PM   #7
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Ya, believe me I was not super enthused about using brown sugar and I only mentioned adding a multi-vitamin because they're chock full of zinc and simple aminos. I only brought it up to get opinons and see if anyone had any success with this type of scenario. I'm thinking the White Labs Saison yeasts are already finicky attenuators/flocculators (Although I must say 566 is way better than 565), so why risk it. Mehhh, I'll just have to leave work early and risk the wrath of my manager. I swear, Brew & Grow in Chicago is great, but their hours suck all sorts of ass.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:13 PM   #8
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Can you order online and have it shipped?
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FourSeasonAngler View Post
Can you order online and have it shipped?
Not in two days time. I have a couple buddies I brew with. One of us will be able to figure it out.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:00 PM   #10
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Depending on how much yeast is in the secondary, you should be able to just dump everything left at the bottom of your secondary into a sterilized container and pitch that as is into the new beer on Saturday. The yeast in the bottom of the secondary is in no danger of autolysis and should be reasonably healthy as long as (1) it hasn't been sitting there for a really long time (more than a month) and (2) the beer it is sitting in isn't a strong beer (north of, say, 7%). See this post for information on yeast viability based on prolonged exposure to alcohol: http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...-on-yeast.html.

So if you rack on Tuesday, and put whatever yeast is in there into a sterilized container for a few days and throw that in the fridge, you should be fine to pitch on Saturday.


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