First Attempt at Harvesting/Washing Yeast

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Last night, I racked my blonde ale to secondary and had a very nice yeast cake at the bottom of the bucket. I boiled probably close to a gallon of water, chilled it, mixed it in with the yeast and trub, and after an hour, poured the top 3/4 off into a pitcher. I chucked the rest, covered the pitcher, and put it in the fridge overnight.

I awoke to this: http://imgur.com/MZFRS

I've watched several videos on how to do this, so my understanding is that the light, translucent liquid in the top half of the pitcher is a combination of beer and water. However, I feel like the solid stuff at the bottom is supposed to have a line where the trub has sunk below the yeast. I see no such line. Can anyone please tell me which part I'm supposed to save and which part I'm supposed to toss?

Thanks!
 

kcross13

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I am a novice at this as well but if it is a nice white sludge on the bottom, sounds like you got most of the trub out already. i have had issues getting it going in a starter afterwards. But harvesting straight form the bottle has worked fine.
 

Mojzis

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I wash a lot. Looks to me like you have a ton of trub (dark gunk) in with your yeast (light gunk at top). While it's not the end of the world, I would be cautious of saving it the way it is. That trub could lend some nasty flavors (think dead/dying yeast and rotting protein). I would either wash again and pour into smaller jars, or make some starters from what you have.

My guess is that you spilled trub into the pitcher while pouring, try using more water next time. I use about 2 gal, sometimes 3. Pour, mix, wait 20, decant cloudy beer/yeast mixture while leaving dark gunk inside fermenter. I pour into washed/sanitized sauce jars. I fill about 2-4 jars, leaving about a gallon of water left in the fermenter to be sure that i'm not just pouring trub. I label the jars with date and strain, then put them in the fridge for ~3 days. By this time it clears and the yeast drop out, leaving about 1-2" of thick, creamy white/brown yeast at the bottom.

Then I sanitize small jelly mason jars and decant almost all of the water out of the sauce jars with yeast. Stir/shake to get the yeast fluid and pour into sanitized jars. Label again. Now you have perfect samples of yeast, that are labelled and taking up minimum space in the fridge!

When making 2.5 g batched I just pitch one jar which is more than enough (I have done the cell counts with a microscope and hemocytometer), 5 g batches I make a starter.

I hope this helps. :mug:
 

kcross13

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Guess I should have looked at the link. That is trub for sure. The little bits of white is the yeast.
 

Mojzis

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So, if I'm going to wash this again, should I toss the clear-ish liquid on top?
No, I would shake it up again.

Get all that sediment back into solution.
Wait 20, pour the liquid (should be cloudy white/cream) into smaller jars.

Make sure to leave the dark junk in the pitcher. Just pour the light colored liquid, which is the yeast.

The yeast will stay in suspension longer than trub. Therefore trub will be on the bottom, yeast on top/middle.
 
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