Harvesting Yeast from primary

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schneemann

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Last night I racked two beers to primary. The difference between these two beers and all of my previous batches is that both of them were run through a filter as they were poured into the primary so as to keep any break material from making it into the fermenter.

Both beers were in primary for 3 weeks and so there was a nice thick layer of what I assume to be yeast on the bottom of the carboys.

Am I right in assuming that this yeast could be harvested in some way for reuse?
 

AndrwHock

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+1 for the yeast washing thread. Its a fairly simple process but will save you a good deal of money if you're using liquid yeasts. With dry yeasts, I just tend to use a new packet every time, they're cheap enough. (You can also harvest yeast from bottle condition craft brews which takes some of the guess work out of cloning them)
 

Teewinot

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The other choice is to pitch your next batch right on the yeast cake, and that works great, too!
I have to apologize for what may seem like a really stupid question, but I don't understand this process. I understand yeast washing (I think-I do have a question there also that I'll put at the bottom here), but I'm confused when you say pitch your next batch right on the yeast cake. I have an image in my head of racking a batch to a secondary or bottling bucket, then pouring a fresh batch of wort right on top of the trub layer in the fermenter I just emptied. Is that correct? No sanitizing will have been done or anything. Is that alright? I'm not relaxing. I'm worrying. And I'm at work, so I can't have a homebrew! :)

The next question is in regard to yeast that has been washed. When I use that yeast in the future, I'm making a starter using only the liquid from the jars right? I'll be leaving the layer of sediment in the jar?

Sorry to hijack but this seemed as logical a place to bring up these questions as any. Thanks for your patience everyone! :mug:
 

mmb

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, but I'm confused when you say pitch your next batch right on the yeast cake. I have an image in my head of racking a batch to a secondary or bottling bucket, then pouring a fresh batch of wort right on top of the trub layer in the fermenter I just emptied. Is that correct? No sanitizing will have been done or anything. Is that alright? I'm not relaxing. I'm worrying. And I'm at work, so I can't have a homebrew! :)
I don't wash yeast, but I can handle this question.

Yup, right on the cake that's there already. Why would you need to sanitize it? Your last "really good beer" was on that yeast cake and it came through just fine.

Of course, if you have infection problems, you don't want to use a yeast cake. If you previous beer was infected, your next one will be too if you use the same cake.

But if your process is clean and your beer isn't funky, go ahead and use that cake. You'll want to use a similar beer on the cake however. Go from light to progressively darker. Don't go from a Dry Stout to a Cream Ale. That would be just nasty. :drunk:
 

DutchK9

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I am assuming you are using liquid yeast. If so, then go ahead and wash it for re-use. If you are using dry yeast, I don't think it is really worth the hassle when you can buy a pack for under $2.
 

Yooper

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I have to apologize for what may seem like a really stupid question, but I don't understand this process. I understand yeast washing (I think-I do have a question there also that I'll put at the bottom here), but I'm confused when you say pitch your next batch right on the yeast cake. I have an image in my head of racking a batch to a secondary or bottling bucket, then pouring a fresh batch of wort right on top of the trub layer in the fermenter I just emptied. Is that correct? No sanitizing will have been done or anything. Is that alright? I'm not relaxing. I'm worrying. And I'm at work, so I can't have a homebrew! :)

The next question is in regard to yeast that has been washed. When I use that yeast in the future, I'm making a starter using only the liquid from the jars right? I'll be leaving the layer of sediment in the jar?

Sorry to hijack but this seemed as logical a place to bring up these questions as any. Thanks for your patience everyone! :mug:
As the other poster said- yes, you just pitch on the cake. Of course, this assumes you've been very sanitary all along, and only removed the lid from the primary to bottle or rack the batch, and then resanitized the bung/airlock/lid.

When you wash the yeast, the sediment on the bottom IS the yeast after it's settled. You wash away the trub, so that the white layer on the bottom after it sits IS the yeast. When you start the washing process, the heavier stuff that falls out is the trub, and you pour off the cloudy liquid (beer, water, and yeast). After a couple of times, though, the trub is mostly gone and the only stuff left is the yeast layer and an almost clear liquid layer. That clear liquid water is poured off, and the yeast is used to make a starter.
 

Teewinot

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Thanks everyone! I go crazy on sanitation, so I think I'll be okay there. I will definitely try to do that. I might even do it with my current brew (NB cream ale). I'll just do a brew and transfer the first to a secondary while the worts cooling. And thanks Yooper for the info on washed yeast. I would have used the wrong part!
 

blk94f150

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How many brews is a yeast cake good for? I've found that my Irish Red is very popular and I'd like to try to keep it on tap all the time.

Mike
 

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