Harvesting yeast

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max-the-knife

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Up until now, I have always brewed with dry yeast. I have ordered my first kits (Fat Tire Clone & Blue Moon Clone) with liquid yeasts. I paid about $6.00 / kit more for the liquid yeast plus $1.00 for and ice pack. I like both types of beer and was wondering how difficult it is to harvest the yeast from the primary when I rack to the 2ndary? How should I store it?

Also, do I need to make a starter when I use liquid yeast?
 

Sir Humpsalot

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Easiest thing to do is to just pitch a beer on top of the yeast immediately after racking to secondary. No need to store it. You could just leave a layer of beer on top. That should last for a few days at least. Or, remember that while you should rack to secondary when primary is completed, there's really no harm in letting it sit for a month or longer (but not too much longer). So just wait until you're ready to brew again, and THEN go to secondary.

For storing yeast longer term, the easiest technique is called washing and it involves water and mason jars and rinsing yeast from the fermenter, swirling it around, letting the debris settle, then pouring into another santized jar, then another. Google for more info on that.

As for using a starter, it is highly recommended for a first generation liquid yeast, but not necessary...
 

cheezydemon

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Could not have said it better. Only thing I'd add is that washing yeast, scrubbing it storing it, and let's face it, washing the jar when you are done.....is worth doing once for the experience.
But considering that the main benefit(in my opinion) of liquid yeast is the vast variety available, saving 6$ by doing all of that work in the hopes that you will brew the same style in a couple of months seems....not worth it?
Yeah I love to save a buck, but I don't think I am being a snob by saying that my time is worth more than 6$ an hour(or two or three hours??!!)
I do highly recommend that if you are going to make the same style, do as...Damn Squirels...(what the??!?) said and pitch that beer on your yeast!!! I love doing that! You talk about a starter!!!!! And liquid yeast of the white labs variety will definitely stand up to several brews on the same cake.(not to snub any other variety, I just have not felt the need to try them) Good Luck!
 

cheezydemon

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what is it with the %^ damn squirrels??!? I appreciate that you are an albino squirrel, but WTF???
 

Beerrific

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cheezydemon said:
what is it with the %^ damn squirrels??!? I appreciate that you are an albino squirrel, but WTF???

I just thought it was a funny picture from the local paper (it was actually featured on Drudgereport)...no relation to user Damn Squirrels.
 

cheezydemon

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Right on! But an odd coincidence you will admit, considering squirrels have never been associated with beer. Let's see...Dogs, Clydesdales,woodchucks,geese, satan........that's about it! Nothing wrong with squirrels(unless you belong to thehotpepper.com where they hate squirrels. Evidently they dig up pepper plants to bury their nuts)
Let's see..."white squirrel winter ale"...You may be on to something!
 

Blender

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I harvest yeast from time to time and I think it is worth it. On the last batch I got 2 full White Lab tubes out of the fermenter. I am not a big fan of pitching on a yeast cake.
 

NM68657

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I have had success with pitching wort onto old yeast cake in primary. I have washed yeast and saved it and felt that it wasn't worth all the TROUBLE!
 

Beerrific

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NM68657 said:
I have had success with pitching wort onto old yeast cake in primary. I have washed yeast and saved it and felt that it wasn't worth all the TROUBLE!

A whole 20 minutes to wash the yeast, plus not having to use dme to make new starter, plus the cost of more yeast and ice to ship...comes out to $8-9 plus a little time...worth it to me.
 

cheezydemon

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I hope you did not take offense to my squirrel comment! I see that you are now a guy about to be ill........also an odd choice, but that is OK.

I would just say again that after you go to all of the trouble you still have the same yeast that you used for your last batch. If that is OK, then you are presumeably doing the same style and you might as well have pitched on your cake, unless you do not have the space or do not want another batch that quick.
 

Beerrific

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cheezydemon said:
I hope you did not take offense to my squirrel comment! I see that you are now a guy about to be ill........also an odd choice, but that is OK.

I would just say again that after you go to all of the trouble you still have the same yeast that you used for your last batch. If that is OK, then you are presumeably doing the same style and you might as well have pitched on your cake, unless you do not have the space or do not want another batch that quick.

That is Joey Chestnut...bringing the speed hotdog eating championship back to America!!

I agree it is a lot of trouble if you are going to turn around and use that same yeast again.

I only have room in my fermenting fridge to do one beer at a time and I am at the stage in brewing where I want to try different varieties so I wouldn't be pitching on a yeast cake...that is where I am coming from.
 

The Pol

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I brew ALOT of Heffe... I save and wash my yeast, then store it in the fridge in White Labs vials. I have gotten (4) brews from one vial of WLP300... it isnt that hard to wash it and save it. If your time is worth more than $6 an hour, then why do you brew at all, it is alot faster to go to the store and buy a couple cases of BMC... am I right? Perhaps people save yeast not just to save $$, but because they enjoy making the hobby more hands on... just like the difference between doing extract brews and AG... it isnt about saving time or money, it is about delving deeper into the hobby.

Peace

Pol
 

Beerrific

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The Pol said:
I brew ALOT of Heffe... I save and wash my yeast, then store it in the fridge in White Labs vials. I have gotten (4) brews from one vial of WLP300... it isnt that hard to wash it and save it. If your time is worth more than $6 an hour, then why do you brew at all, it is alot faster to go to the store and buy a couple cases of BMC... am I right? Perhaps people save yeast not just to save $$, but because they enjoy making the hobby more hands on... just like the difference between doing extract brews and AG... it isnt about saving time or money, it is about delving deeper into the hobby.

Peace

Pol

I just like opening my fridge and seeing yeast!!

I also made a hefeweizen with WLP300....saved three vials of yeast...they have compacted but it looks like each has about 40mL of yeast...will be making another hefeweizen soon!
 

The Pol

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Sweet, I have alot of ppl hooked on my Pols Hugh Heffe... mmmm tasty! I have two FULL vials of WLP300 in the fridge... I love yeast
 
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max-the-knife

max-the-knife

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Thanks for all your input. Pol has me figured out, I am looking to be more hands on and I'm not adverse to saving money. Presently, I'm an extract brewer with my goal to eventually become AG.

Thanks everyone.
 

The Pol

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I can delve deep into the mind of the homebrewer... ahhhh yesssss
 

cheezydemon

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The Pol said:
I brew ALOT of Heffe... I save and wash my yeast, then store it in the fridge in White Labs vials. I have gotten (4) brews from one vial of WLP300... it isnt that hard to wash it and save it. If your time is worth more than $6 an hour, then why do you brew at all, it is alot faster to go to the store and buy a couple cases of BMC... am I right? Perhaps people save yeast not just to save $$, but because they enjoy making the hobby more hands on... just like the difference between doing extract brews and AG... it isnt about saving time or money, it is about delving deeper into the hobby.

Peace

Pol

Good enough! I have small children, so the extra trouble with my limited time makes little sense, but everyone's situation is different.
When I decide to do that, I will probably figure out how the labs keep this stuff going indefinitely, and get the equipment to do that! Imagine an endless supply of your favorite 3 or 4 strains! But for now I have not got the time. Peace to you also.
 

The Pol

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My daughter is 4, she is a good yeast harvestor...
 

Drunkagain

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Beerrific said:
A whole 20 minutes to wash the yeast, plus not having to use dme to make new starter, plus the cost of more yeast and ice to ship...comes out to $8-9 plus a little time...worth it to me.

So you don't need to make another starter when you reuse the yeast you've washed? That would be pretty cool and add up to some nice savings.
 

Drunkagain

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As long as we are talking about this, I've seen another poster, Ed Wort I think, talk about just making one big starter and then splitting it into three or four seperate starters and saving that. That seems much easier.

If the original poster reads this, would you mind clarifying your process a bit? How do you store your split up starter and do you need to make another starter when you go to use one of them?

Thanks.
 

IDbrew

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I use a 2000ml Erlenmeyer flask to make a about a half gallon starter and pitch my original White Labs tube. When that has fermented out I sanitize six or seven 12 oz bottles and caps. Then I swirl the starter until all the yeast is in suspension, and use a lighter to flame the neck of the flask for sanitation. Using a sanitized funnel I pour the original starter into the bottles and cap them. I keep the bottles in the fridge and then make a starter as normal prior to brewing. I have read that this saved yeast should last 6 months or more in the fridge.
The benefit to this (other than the cost savings) is that it is presumibly more sanitary than repitching several times onto the yeast cake. I have used this technique on about a dozen different batches with outstanding results. As a quality control I even used a fresh WLP001 vial with a starter, and then one of my saved bottles of WLP001 with a starter in a split 10 gallon batch and there was no difference at all in taste between the two.

Here is a better explanation
http://hbd.org/brewery/library/yeast-faq.html#part_four
 
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