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Problem with washing yeast.

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zippyslug31

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Brew in question: AG chocolate stout with lactose and 2 squares of bakers chocolate that were tossed in at the end of the boil.

Problem: I racked to secondary yesterday, took the remaining contents from the primary (thick sludge) and dumped it into a mason jar so I could extract the yeast.
The consistency is so thick that it looks like it won't seperate and my little alcohol-producing friends are stuck in this sludge. Think "melted chocolate ice cream" in consistency.
The mason jar has been sitting in the fridge over night and this morning I have maybe 1/4" of seperation.

I've never made a choc stout before and never used lactose nor tried to melt chocolate squares into the wert.

Question: Anybody have an opinion of what this sludge might be? Should I have boiled the lactose and/or choclate squares for some amount of time? Should I just toss the contents of the mason jar and not try to retrieve the yeast or should I just leave it in the fridge for several days (covered with saran wrap)?
 

flyangler18

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What yeast strain did you use? If it's a commonly available dry yeast like US-05, US-04 or Nottingham, I'd say it's not worth the effort. Some will invariably disagree but there's just minimal return on the effort to extract the yeast from all that sludge.

I'm a big proponent of washing yeast, but sometimes you gotta just dump.
 
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zippyslug31

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... not tons of money, but still would be nice to recoup the investment.
 

flyangler18

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Here's what I suggest:

-Take a sanitized spoon and harvest a spoonful or two of the slurry/trub mixture.
- Put this into a small (1 pint) starter of 1.040 wort.
-Try building up this starter every 2 days with another pint of 1.040 wort

This should give you a large enough volume of cleaner slurry to wash more effectively.

You want to consider harvesting small amounts of yeast from your starters before pitching as well. I've been doing this for some time now.

Jason
 

SpanishCastleAle

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Did you read/do the Yeast Washing Illustrated method? In that method, well prior to racking you fill your mason jars plus another larger container with boiled water and put the lids on and let them cool...then after you're done racking you dump all that water into the fermenter...let it settle a bit...THEN pour that into the larger container. Then let that settle and divide into your mason jars.

At least one day before racking any primary that I intend to harvest yeast from I make what I call a 'yeast wash kit' just like in that thread I mentioned.

I wouldn't dump it but I wouldn't necessarily use it either...but I'd at least try to 'practice' on it so you'll be better prepared next time.
 
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zippyslug31

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Did you read/do the Yeast Washing Illustrated method?
The info that I've read said to just swirl the remaining trub and allow it to settle. However I suspect that this might not have been written with such a thick brew in mind.

Clearly there are multiple ways of attaining the same results. I'm thinking the info that you are referring to sound better; next time I'll know.

Good idea of trying to use this as a learning experiment. Good idea.

Thanks for the input guys.
 
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