Make a big starter or wash yeast?

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Transamguy77

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I’m looking for what you guys do, in the past I’ve just harvested or washed yeast from previous batches but after taking a break and then not brewing as often I’ve had some bad batches that have come from reusing yeast.

All of the harvested yeast ones were a brand new mason jar that was sanitized and of them half turned out as dumpers, I know I’m a lazy brewer but I kept everything sanitized and then the jars went right into the fridge.

So what I’m thinking is just to make a starter and just over build and save from there instead of harvesting and worry about what might get in there.

I have been brewing for 10 years now and I feel like this is a silly question but with me maKing 10 gallon batches and not having the time to brew more I need all of the beer I make to be drinkable, when I was brewing every other week I could afford the occasional beer that didn’t turn out how I’d like and either sit on it or dump it, honestly I’m not one to try and save every beer if it sucks it gets dumped.
 

khannon

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I like to overbuild the starter, then save some by freezing the slurry with some water and glycerin. I overbuild, and save 4-6 small mason jars (the jam jars) this way, label them, and when I get to the last one I repeat. It's not much, but I have a few strains, so I can brew some different stuff when I want to. supposedly you can get a few years out of frozen yeast this way.

Also, take a look at some of the kviek yeasts, I have a few strains that I have dried, and have had great success with. When I get low, I plan to build a big starter, and dry the slurry out (a few days in the oven with the light on and no heat on some parchment paper). I know they can be stored at room temp, but I put mine dried in the same jam jars, label and kick them into the freezer after hitting with the vacuum sealer attachment.
 
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Transamguy77

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I’m thinking over building is the way to go, I’ll look into that and freezing I didn’t really think about that.
 

madscientist451

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I re-use yeast without "washing" and haven't had any issues. But making a big starter and just saving some of that is a great way to go.
 

Deadalus

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I've done both but I'd say I'm more comfortable with overbuilding the starter and storing that. I'm going to be making a starter anyway so splitting off some is a small extra step where I can control the conditions closely. Harvesting the yeast afterwards presents an opportunity for something to be introduced during fermentation. Pros and cons to both though.
 

Mtrhdltd

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I'm in the same boat as you. I had been harvesting yeast from fermenters without washing until I had all jars of one harvest infected. Now I'm back to overbuilding starters, which I did for almost a decade without problem. Yeast i use once a year is fresh, but my most common is saved in the fridge.
 
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Transamguy77

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I have never done over building before but I think I’m going to try that, the less contamination factor is also what I was thinking.

I hate to constantly buy yeast but for the next several brews I planned I just ordered some, now I’ll make big starters and save half. So do you just keep making big starters and keep half each time? I’m thinking that makes the most sense.

Thanks for your input guys!
 

Konadog

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I have never done over building before but I think I’m going to try that, the less contamination factor is also what I was thinking.
As long as you keep things sanitary, it is cleaner.

I hate to constantly buy yeast but for the next several brews I planned I just ordered some, now I’ll make big starters and save half. So do you just keep making big starters and keep half each time? I’m thinking that makes the most sense.
I just make a 2L starter, and fill up an 8oz canning jar, don't need 1/2 of it. Store that in the fridg until next time and dump that into a new 2L starter next time you need the same yeast. I usually get 10 to 12 batches before I don't trust it any more and buy new yeast to start over.
 
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Transamguy77

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As long as you keep things sanitary, it is cleaner.



I just make a 2L starter, and fill up an 8oz canning jar, don't need 1/2 of it. Store that in the fridg until next time and dump that into a new 2L starter next time you need the same yeast. I usually get 10 to 12 batches before I don't trust it any more and buy new yeast to start over.
How long do you go using it 10-12 times? This sounds like what I’ll try, thanks.
 

deuc224

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I buy yeast and multiply it by 4. Then do the glycerin/water combo with yeast and freeze them(in alcohol) and have strains that are good for a long while. When i need some yeast, take out the vial, put it in a cup of room temp water and build the starter off how much i need for the brew.
 

Konadog

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I only brew 1 or 2 times a month (lately double batches), and usually use different yeasts, so 6 to 12 months. I just don't trust it after that, but I have no problems with it
 

Konadog

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I buy yeast and multiply it by 4. Then do the glycerin/water combo with yeast and freeze them(in alcohol) and have strains that are good for a long while. When i need some yeast, take out the vial, put it in a cup of room temp water and build the starter off how much i need for the brew.
How long does it take to make a starter from your yeast this way? Freezing it would seem to make it last much longer, but take longer to make. How big of a starter can you make this way, or do you make step starters?
 
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Transamguy77

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At this point I’m only able to brew every 6-8 weeks, we are doing some remodeling in a new house so brewing won’t happen regularly for at least another couple of months.
 

Konadog

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Well, the longer your yeast sits in the fridg, the longer it will take to get going. My starters with fresh yeast take off within 24 hours. I just made one (Wednesday evening) with yeast I stored back in April, and it took off this morning finally. Now if I were to use the yeast I will store from this batch within the next month, it will take off within 24 hours, so the fresher it is, the faster your starter will take off.

What I started with on Wednesday:
2020-09-23 18.50.01.jpg


Last night (didn't take one this morning with 4 inches of krausen)
2020-09-23 20.45.24.jpg
 

deuc224

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Thinking of doing a neipa with Citra, Amairllo and Motueka, can anyone give me some idea of what sort of ratio i should go with? Cheers
How long does it take to make a starter from your yeast this way? Freezing it would seem to make it last much longer, but take longer to make. How big of a starter can you make this way, or do you make step starters?
Sorry just saw the message, I make a 2 step starter, one at 0.8L from a packet of yeast, then step it up to a 2L starter. It takes about 4 days for me to complete this from nothing to in the freezer and ready to use at a later date. The estimate is 5ml is 20 million yeast sells, its a rough estimate, so I put 25ml into a 50ml vial and fill the rest with the water glycerin mix and freeze it(rough estimate is it gives about 450 million cells). I wish i had a pic of the yeast i grew this weekend, it was a wlp001 and it took 24 hours to get moving, after the 24hr mark man it produced a monster krausen for some reason, settled out and is in the fridge now waiting for this weekend to make a chocolate stout. Now I have 3 more vials of yeast i can use that are still frozen.
 
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