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My shot at yeast washing

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nostalgia

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Having been inspired by the wonderful yeast washing how-to posted here I decided to have a go at it myself.

First I boiled some water and my equipment and filled up a 1/2 gallon growler, a 1-quart Mason jar and two, 1-pint Mason jars. I used one large Mason jar because I plan on pitching that one directly tomorrow instead of building a starter with it. Here everyone is all lined up after I finished racking my ESB off the Wyeast 1028 cake.

edit: forgot to note the water had been chilled in the fridge before using. I'm not pouring boiling water into my fermenter!



Next step: all water into the fermenter. Pop on a sanitized funnel and swirl away. It did take quite a bit of swirling to get the cake in suspension.



Now we wait 20 minutes for the yeast and trub to stratify. I decided to lay my fermenter on its side to make pouring out the good stuff and leaving the bad stuff behind easier. It turned out to be a great idea. Here it is right after adding the water:



What does one do for 20 minutes you ask? Pull themselves a pint of stout, I answer!



Next post...

-Joe
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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20 minutes later, and we have an obvious delineation of trub and yeast.



Pour off all of the goodness on top into the growler:



And wait another 20 minutes for it to stratify - note a much smaller percentage of trub here:



Pour that into the waiting Mason jars, label and refrigerate. Bob's your uncle.



This was *very* easy to do and didn't take much time at all. I did it all during commercials while watching Dollhouse! Big thanks to Bernie Brewer for posting up his method first.

-Joe
 

dontman

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That first picture where you can see the distinct layering of trub and yeast will answer a lot of questions from new yeast washers. I think there is often confusion because it is hard to see that on the "Yeast Washing" thread. You should repost that same picture on that thread.
 

FisherWoodcraft

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Success! Looks great. Although I'm thinking if I'm directly pitching, I may want to just use all 4 jars to get a proper pitching rate. I'll double check MrMalty.

Interesting. Using the "Repitching from slurry" calculator with all of the sliders at the worst possible settings (thinnest slurry, 25% non-yeast) it comes up with 268ml, which is only 9oz. So I guess the one quart jar should be sufficient.



-Joe
 

cactusgarrett

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I may be confused on the timeline, but if you're repitching within a matter of days, i don't think washing was all that necessary. You could just throw the new batch right on top of the cake you just washed, without washing.

It's my understanding the washing is for longer term storage. Good practice anyway. Congrats!
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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I may be confused on the timeline, but if you're repitching within a matter of days, i don't think washing was all that necessary. You could just throw the new batch right on top of the cake you just washed, without washing.

It's my understanding the washing is for longer term storage. Good practice anyway. Congrats!
Well, a few forces were at work here :)

I had started a thread here about pitching onto the cake and got a lot of negative responses, mostly about overpitching. So I wasn't going to use the whole cake, anyway.

I also wanted the practice as you mentioned, and figured I'd pitch half and save half. So if I pitch the quart jar, I'll still have the other two pint jars for future use.

The last benefit is having clean, relatively trub-free yeast to pitch, instead of pitching my wort onto the mess of disintegrated hop pellets at the bottom of the fermenter. Does it make a difference? Probably not. But I'm a little crazy, you know.

So for the few minutes' work, I think it was well worth the effort. Besides, it gave me something to do during commercials :)

-Joe
 

rsmith179

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It's a good time and saves you some $$. That's what it's all about in today's economy. I actually got a starter fired up last night with a small sample of my last washing session. Took off right away on the stirplate and will be 100% ready to go by tomorrow. If I were you, I wouldn't take all those and pitch them. Instead, just make a quick starter for just one of those containers. Build it up for a day or two in some starter wort and you'll have two more batches worth of yeast left over... Real good pics and tutorial by the way!
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

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Well, a few forces were at work here :)

I had started a thread here about pitching onto the cake and got a lot of negative responses, mostly about overpitching. So I wasn't going to use the whole cake, anyway.

I also wanted the practice as you mentioned, and figured I'd pitch half and save half. So if I pitch the quart jar, I'll still have the other two pint jars for future use.

The last benefit is having clean, relatively trub-free yeast to pitch, instead of pitching my wort onto the mess of disintegrated hop pellets at the bottom of the fermenter. Does it make a difference? Probably not. But I'm a little crazy, you know.

So for the few minutes' work, I think it was well worth the effort. Besides, it gave me something to do during commercials :)

-Joe
Yup! That and the benefits you listed there makes it worthwhile IMO too. It is reassuring that one knows exactly what is in the new brew. This way you get to know and understand your pitching rates in a much more controlled manner.

Great pics BTW! :mug:
 

Fingers

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I may be confused on the timeline, but if you're repitching within a matter of days, i don't think washing was all that necessary. You could just throw the new batch right on top of the cake you just washed, without washing.

It's my understanding the washing is for longer term storage. Good practice anyway. Congrats!
Personally, I never pitch on the yeast cake. It only takes a few minutes to wash yeast and take all that old trub out. I'd rather start a batch with a fresh batch of clean yeast than to hold over old residues from batch to batch.
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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Welp, I just pitched the quart jar in a 1.053 porter. We'll see if it takes off by tomorrow. I only poured off about half of the liquid since it was still a little cloudy.

-Joe
 

Blender

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I really like the idea of laying the carboy on it's side. I will be trying out that this coming week to see how it works for me.

Thanks
 

cuinrearview

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lol! I've only got two strains right now and hopefully a third tomorrow. I can't even think about how I'd fit that much yeast back into a WLP vial through washing. I use canning jars and will be throwing them in a remote fridge at the folks. It's really fulfilling washing yeast at home because 1) you've got it when you want it and 2) $6 worth of yeast becomes damn near free after a couple of generations. The hefe that I'll bottle tomorrow will be from an eight month old washed culture and it was the last of the first generation so I'll be washing it after I bottle. This'll be the first second gen. I've done but no worries here.
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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Welp, I just pitched the quart jar in a 1.053 porter. We'll see if it takes off by tomorrow. I only poured off about half of the liquid since it was still a little cloudy.
It took off by tomorrow :) It's not a rocket ship, but it's only been 12 hours.

-Joe
 

baker0408

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That looks awesome! I was actually planning on doing this with a batch I have in the primary now, however, maybe someone can answer a few questions I have...

I am fermenting my primary in a bucket and the walls are covered in krausen and hop matter. Does this matter when I transfer to the mason jars? If so, how did you clean it up prior to washing while remaining sanitary?

Thanks for making it look so easy! I am getting excited!
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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I am fermenting my primary in a bucket and the walls are covered in krausen and hop matter. Does this matter when I transfer to the mason jars? If so, how did you clean it up prior to washing while remaining sanitary?

Thanks for making it look so easy! I am getting excited!
It is easy :)

Don't worry about the stuff on the sides of your bucket. That's the point of putting it in the 1/2 gallon container first. You get a second chance to settle out all of that stuff.

-Joe
 

caver95

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Just look at how much money we are saving, I have washed a WLP051 and and a WLP0005 so far. How many different generations will you wash and save? I guess the stuff we save would be 2nd gen?
 

Bigsnake

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Just look at how much money we are saving, I have washed a WLP051 and and a WLP0005 so far. How many different generations will you wash and save? I guess the stuff we save would be 2nd gen?
I've heard different things about how many generations past start to save. Some say 8 and some say 10.

I've got I think three strains saved right now. I almost need to get another fridge to store them in though if I want to get more. :p.

But, you're right, the effort is worth it for savings! Local brew shop is $7.50 for an activator pack. I can wash yeast and step up a starter a couple times with just a pound of extract ($3.50) and I'm probably in the end getting more yeast than just one activator pack, which I like since most of the beers I've been doing are big beers.
 

2bluewagons

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Nice thread, wish I found it before I did my first washing of a cake a few days ago.

Hope this isn't a hijack, but but I am skeptical as to my yeasts' viability in the future if I believe the more vocal HB guys (Jamil Z) on some of the podcasts I've been listening to lately. You think two smack packs of Wyeast Pacman (no starter) after a 70+ IBU 1.077 OG beer still have any fight left? I'd plan on giving the jar contents a proper starter.

Anyone notice not-so-happy yeasties after washing a cake from a high ABV and/or IBU beer? I'm not planning on entering any contests, but don't want to waste a brew day by pitching tired yeast.

Thanks
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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I think the general consensus is that you should make a starter from your washed yeast before pitching.

I pitched directly from the jar because I jarred twice the yeast and it was only one day later. The beer is fermenting like mad next to me as I type. Blublublublublublub

-Joe
 

cimirie

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I've got a question about washing yeast that I've asked in other threads and nobody has answered it yet. I'm hoping you all can help me!

When I've racked my beer into secondary, there is always at least 1/2 inch to an inch of beer left at the bottom of the carboy on top of the trub and yeast cake. Do I want to get rid of that extra inch of liquid before I toss in my water? I would be worried about transferring some of the flavor of the "old" batch into a new batch if I left it but I also don't want to get rid of a good amount of viable yeast. Thoughts?
 

zippyslug31

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I've got a question about washing yeast that I've asked in other threads and nobody has answered it yet. I'm hoping you all can help me!

When I've racked my beer into secondary, there is always at least 1/2 inch to an inch of beer left at the bottom of the carboy on top of the trub and yeast cake. Do I want to get rid of that extra inch of liquid before I toss in my water? I would be worried about transferring some of the flavor of the "old" batch into a new batch if I left it but I also don't want to get rid of a good amount of viable yeast. Thoughts?
I think the general thought is that when you wait for the separation to occur, you are "mostly" just pulling out the yeast. And what little beer that you will also pull out would be so minimal to your next 5 gallon batch that it really wouldn't matter.
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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I think the general thought is that when you wait for the separation to occur, you are "mostly" just pulling out the yeast. And what little beer that you will also pull out would be so minimal to your next 5 gallon batch that it really wouldn't matter.
That's about what I was going to say. You'll be diluting the leftover beer a lot during washing. Then when you make a starter with your washed yeast, you'll be decanting most of that (already well-diluted) liquid off and diluting it further in a starter.

But it's your beer and your yeast. If it's easy to pull off that last bit of beer, go for it. You shouldn't be removing a significant amount of yeast.

-Joe
 

AstroBrew

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I have a big question about washing/storing yeast. I have washed and saved yeast with a good deal of success, but I am really concerned about the shelf-life of washed yeast. I have read some articles lately that say that the viability of the yeast drops off dramatically; see:
Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine - Techniques - Harvesting Yeast: Techniques

So, I am wondering how you guys store your yeast. I know some folks freeze them (with glycerin), but it doesn't look like that's what you're doing, homebrewer_99 (nice collection, btw). I stored some of my washed yeast in my beer fridge and I think it is all now dead after a month. The yeast cakes are dark, indicating autolysis. This is probably because my beer fridge is set a 38F, i.e., not cold enough!

Thoughts?
 

Bernie Brewer

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I have a big question about washing/storing yeast. I have washed and saved yeast with a good deal of success, but I am really concerned about the shelf-life of washed yeast. I have read some articles lately that say that the viability of the yeast drops off dramatically; see:
Brew Your Own: The How-To Homebrew Beer Magazine - Techniques - Harvesting Yeast: Techniques

So, I am wondering how you guys store your yeast. I know some folks freeze them (with glycerin), but it doesn't look like that's what you're doing, homebrewer_99 (nice collection, btw). I stored some of my washed yeast in my beer fridge and I think it is all now dead after a month. The yeast cakes are dark, indicating autolysis. This is probably because my beer fridge is set a 38F, i.e., not cold enough!

Thoughts?

Make a starter with it anyway. I betcha a bright shiny new nickel it takes off.
 

de_ronde

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If I am only storing for a short time, could I get away with using jars other than Mason jars? Perhaps I could even pour the slurry into 12 ounce beer bottles and cap for just a week or two?
 

steelerguy

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Personally, I never pitch on the yeast cake. It only takes a few minutes to wash yeast and take all that old trub out. I'd rather start a batch with a fresh batch of clean yeast than to hold over old residues from batch to batch.
Was going to say the same thing...trub can break down also and impart off flavors to a beer. I think people forget this when the leave beer on the cake forever, it is not just yeast...but trub.
 

steelerguy

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Nice thread, wish I found it before I did my first washing of a cake a few days ago.

Hope this isn't a hijack, but but I am skeptical as to my yeasts' viability in the future if I believe the more vocal HB guys (Jamil Z) on some of the podcasts I've been listening to lately. You think two smack packs of Wyeast Pacman (no starter) after a 70+ IBU 1.077 OG beer still have any fight left? I'd plan on giving the jar contents a proper starter.

Anyone notice not-so-happy yeasties after washing a cake from a high ABV and/or IBU beer? I'm not planning on entering any contests, but don't want to waste a brew day by pitching tired yeast.

Thanks
So I just started doing the yeast washing and saving also, but what I do in a situation like this is make a starter for the yeast and save some of the starter rather than wash the cake when the fermentation is done. This gets you good yeast that has not been stressed. Of course, no need to wash this. Then you can just build starters from your sample in the future and save a portion of that rather than use stressed yeast from the cake. Yeast that has been taken care of can be used for A LOT of generations rather than just 6 or so.
 
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nostalgia

nostalgia

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So I just started doing the yeast washing and saving also, but what I do in a situation like this is make a starter for the yeast and save some of the starter rather than wash the cake when the fermentation is done.
Now that I have a stirplate and some big flasks on their way I'm going to try this out. Make more starter than I need and bottle some of it. I'll report back on how that works :)

-Joe
 

flyangler18

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Now that I have a stirplate and some big flasks on their way I'm going to try this out. Make more starter than I need and bottle some of it. I'll report back on how that works :)

-Joe
Don't worry - before too long, you'll be pressure canning wort for sterile media and slanting strains. Welcome to the world of yeast ranching, cowboy. :D
 

gifty74

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One question, I see you added a growler of water, and all three mason jars full. Then when you emptied you only filled up the growler. Wasn't a bunch of yeast left behind? Don't you want to put in what you plan to pull out? Or, do you lose so much water in the trub that you need to exceed the amount you wish to pull out for the second washing?
 

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I read the wiki and it said to store liquid yeast like this at 33-38 F. I'm guessing that the 33 F is so as to avoid puncturing the yeast cells with ice molecules at 32 F. This basically means it's ok to just keep it in the fridge correct?
 

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