Harvesting 'bottom' yeast

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SpanishCastleAle

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I'm just doing the carboy yeast washing method (per the 'Yeast Washing Illustrated' thread). All of the ale yeasts and most of the lager yeasts I have harvested all settled on top of the trub. So when I shook up the carboy...the trub would settle first and I could pour off the yeast in suspension.

But when I tried to do this with the Wyeast Czech Pils 2278 (Pilsner Urquell-D strain) the yeast settles UNDER the trub. So you can't let the trub settle and pour off the yeast. As a result, I never harvested any I just sort of decanted as much trub as I could and repitched it a few times.

What are some nifty ways to harvest this stuff?

I suppose I could shake it all up in the carboy...put a drilled stopper with racking cane into the bunghole and then invert the whole thing and let it settle. Then somehow try to partially remove the bung and get the yeast from the bottom and replug it when it gets to the trub. Sanitation might be compromised.

Other tweeks to that could be using a carboy cap...but this yeast is pretty clumpy..would probably clog...leading to more sanitation compromises.

Or what about this: Put a stopper with two holes drilled into a quart container. Put a short 'dip tube' in one hole and a longer diptube in the other. Somehow connect a vacuum source (like a vacuum cleaner or leaf blower...I would have a bypass just in case) to the short dip tube. Connect the racking cane (no stopper this time) in the carboy to the long dip tube. The racking cane is inserted below the trub into the yeast cake. Turn on the vacuum and if we have enough suckage and it should pull the yeast out from under the trub. Since we are just pulling air out using the vacuum...the lack of sanitation of the vacuum shouldn't be an issue as long as we put it in another room or something...don't want it stirring up dirty/dusty air in the room during this.

Any reasonably KISS methods using ordinary equipment?
 

giligson

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Im thinking something along the lines of:
Take all the effluent and resuspend in fresh wort in a gallon container.
Let settle for a few minutes
If yeast settles first - great, pour off trub and take yeast sediment
If trub settles first - at an opportune time pour off the yeast leaving most of the trub behind and let the yeast resettle in another gallon container.

Gravity of the wort would be determined by weather you were repitching ~1.040 or storing ~1.020
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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I don't think you want to use wort...maybe boiled/chilled water. Wort would just give the yeast something to ferment and if I'm harvesting it for storage then I def don't want that.

Mason jar bombs in the fridge don't sound like fun.:)

If yeast settles first - great, pour off trub and take yeast sediment
The problem is that they don't seem to settle right to do this.

And I'm not 100% convinced it's the yeast. There are things we can do (but I can't specify because I don't know) that make the trub really 'fluffy' for lack of a better word. Maybe I did something that made the trub really fluffy for that batch and it's causing it to settle very slowly.
 

XXguy

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I've got the same yeast that I just washed - with the same problem! I was thinking to stir it up again, lay the mason jar on the side & tilt it - so that it would be easier to decant the trub off the top. Then again, I'm thinking the trub looks pretty clean, and I'd be better to just pitch the whole thing.
 

steelerguy

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What if you just dumped the whole mess out of the carboy and into a bottling bucket (or something specially designed with a hole, and valve) and tilt the buck so the spigot is at the lowest point. Once the yeast has settled slowly open the valve and let the yeast come flowing out (could use a clear hose to see what is coming out) and just drain the yeast until you see crap start to come out.

Could even dump the stuff still in the bucket and do it again with some santized water to clean it twice if you wanted to.
 

steelerguy

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So now I am thinking about this more. You could also just get a plastic jar (jarred fruit container or something) and a couple feet of PE 1/4" water tubing from HD. Drill a 1/4" hole into the bottom or bottom side of the jar and force one end of the tubing into it a 1/4" or so. Dump your stuff in there making sure the tubing come out the bottom/side of the jar is above the jar, let it settle, then lower the tubing to drain.
 
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SpanishCastleAle

SpanishCastleAle

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Those are good ideas steeler guy. I would be a bit concerned with sanitation using my bottling bucket though.
 
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