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Harvesting yeast.

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thirstydeerbrew

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Ok guys promise that you won't laugh.... I tried to harvest yeast for the first time the other day out of my primary and this is what happened (pic below). ImageUploadedByHome Brew1408752409.114546.jpg

My question is, is the thin layer on top usable yeast?

ImageUploadedByHome Brew1408752454.579014.jpg


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badlee

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OK,I giggled.
You probably have yeast in there,you just need to wash it to get rod of the overly small amount of trub you harvested along with it mate.
 

tagz

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That's a crap ton of yeast. There's a lot of trub mixed in but a good portion of that is viable yeast. The only issue you need to worry about is flavors from those dark malts carrying over. Pretty minor concern but if you take a portion of that yeast and make a starter out of it, you'll be good to go. I wouldnt try to rinse it.
 

Bamsdealer

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There's a bunch of yeast all through what settled, but the thin band is primarily yeast. I wouldn't worry about rinsing or making a starter if you're brewing in the next month. Just decant and pitch!
 

estricklin

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There's a bunch of yeast all through what settled, but the thin band is primarily yeast. I wouldn't worry about rinsing or making a starter if you're brewing in the next month. Just decant and pitch!
I agree, at this point it's one of those "go ahead and use it, you'll do better next time" things.

It took me a bit to really learn how to harvest yeast, so I certainly didn't laugh at your photo. What works for me is, I start by boiling mason jars and the lids and bands. This sanitizes them, and the water I'm going to use. I take the jars out hot, and leave them 90% full of the boiling water. I place the lid and band on a little loose. I let those cool. I also sanitize a large 1 gallon or half gallon growler and fill it up with any left over boiled water. After I rack my beer off the yeast cake, I add about 1/2 gallon of water from the growler to it, swirl like crazy and then pour it back into the (now empty) growler. After 5-15 minutes, (you'll have to keep an eye on it) most of the trub will have settled. So one at a time I empty a mason jar and fill it up with the liquid from the growler. It won't look like there's a ton of yeast in it, but there will be a perfect layer 1/4-1/2 inch thick on the bottom of the pint size mason jar after it has been chilled for a day. Sometimes when I'm pouring into the mason jars I disturb too much trub in the growler, and I let it settle again for a few minutes in between each mason jar. I usually get about 4-6 per batch. Each one of those contains about 30-50 mils of pretty thick yeast slurry after decanted, enough to do a 5 gallon batch if you make a proper starter and don't let the yeast in your mason jars hang around too long. Lagers don't last very long at all, a month at best. Some ales I've used as much as 3 months out but always make a giant starter. A lot of times I will decant and pitch 2 of the mason jars instead of making a starter. I'll see if I can get you a pic here in a bit but there's plenty of articles and youtube videos out there on doing this so I think after you practice it another time or 2 you'll have it down pat.

Good luck!
 

WoodlandBrew

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Here are some cell counts that show the difference between layers:

http://www.woodlandbrew.com/2012/12/yeast-washing-exposed.html

And more detail:

http://www.woodlandbrew.com/2013/01/yeast-washing-revisited.html
 
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