racking onto a yeast cake

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z987k

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Wow, if anyone has never tired this, it's amazing. Last night was the first time I had done it. Racked a 1.098 quad from the pot onto a yeast cake of wlp530 from a beer I just racked to secondary and it had taken off in about an hour. Blowoff tube needed in my 7.5 gallon bucket. I was very amazed. I always do starters with liquid yeast, but that's nothing compared to the massive amount of yeast that were on the bottom of the bucket.

Just kind of excited, the airlock is going like a machine gun. I wonder how long it will take to get it down to a FG...
 

mrk305

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I am doing this tonight. Instead of using the whole yeast cake, I just filled up a coffee cup with trub. I want to re-use the yeast, but save some headspace. I still will let it sit for three weeks before bottling. I am using the trub from Edwort's Haus Pale Ale recipe and adding it to a Rye Pale Ale.
 

BakerStreetBeers

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I haven't done this -- but only because the timing hasn't been right for me (right yeast at right time with freshly emptied fermenter).

I was listening to Jamil's Saison episode last night in which one of the guys from White Labs happened to stop in. The group was saying that they didn't recommend pitching on an entire yeast cake because (as I understood it) you can deny your beer the flavor characteristics that are generated by the parts of the yeast cycle that come before "sugar-processing", e.g. growth, multiplication. It sounded like Jamil was saying that he would get some of the yeast out of there and pitch onto a smaller part of the cake.

I heard (and kind of followed) some other advice given during Jamil's IPA episode where someone was saying they liked to grab yeast from the top of a beer in full Krausen to make a starter. I was brewing the next day and had no yeast on hand. However I did have an IPA brewed the week before that had started kind of slow and had a healthy krausen on top. I popped the lid on the ale pail and used a sterlized measuring cup to pull 3 scoops onto the top of my chilled and aerated wort. (No, I didn't make a starter as was suggested on Jamil) That was definitely one of the quickest and most impressive starts to a ferment that I've seen. Fully churning airlock within 1 to 2 hours. Maybe not the "correct" or even the best way -- and could likely be a challenge to repeat consistently -- but I still find it satisfying :p
 

knowltonm

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Is there any flavor/bitterness from the reused yeast cake that will work it's way into the next beer? I plan on brewing an IPA and I think I may use that cake for my stout. If I pull 1-2 cups of slurry, will that affect my stout bitterness?
 

alapapa

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knowltonm said:
Is there any flavor/bitterness from the reused yeast cake that will work it's way into the next beer? I plan on brewing an IPA and I think I may use that cake for my stout. If I pull 1-2 cups of slurry, will that affect my stout bitterness?
I poured apple juice (modded apfelwein recipe) on to a whole yeast cake and didn't taste any off flavors / bitterness at all.

i could see the argument that doing so deprives your final product of some nuance, but if you're feeling lazy, it's not the end of the world
 
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z987k

z987k

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Well I went from a Dubbel to a Quad, so they are somewhat similar to start with. Next, I figured I needed a ton of yeast since the gravity was so high. Washing the yeast just to have to make a massive starter seems very counter productive.
 

conpewter

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When I last pitched onto a cake I did something new. As I was racking the beer off to secondary I put a HEPA air filter on the other stem of the carboy cap. (The one that came with my oxygenation kit). That way all the air that was being drawn into the primary carboy was sanitized. This might be overkill... but it didn't take any extra time, and keeping all the potential bugs out of your brew will help it store long-term (as in the case of the bigger beers you normally want to put on a yeast cake)
 

Hitman8D

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I've done this several times. I have used the same carboy and yeast for 4 beers in a row. The yeast was WL001.

On one occasion, I racked from Primary to Seconday on Tuesday. I left about an inch of beer over the yeast cake. Then I put the carboy in my chest cooler (38 degrees) and then pulled it out on Saturday when I brewed again.

I let it come up to room temperature. Poured off the beer. And put the wort right on top. Made a great IPA.

Yeast is the most expensive ingrediant per pound. I don't mind saving $8 per batch. That one vial made 4 beers. I finally poured it out and cleaned the carboy. My next beer is going to be an English Mild and I am going to use WL002 yeast.
 

MrFebtober

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It does seem like a great money saver, and a great way to get a batch going FAST. I did it for the first time a couple weeks back for a hefeweizen. Actually the second batch was for a buddy. Batch 2 was krausening out the airlock of the 6.5 gal brew bucket!

I also attempted the yeast washing thing (per the wiki) with it after that, so hopefully I'll have hefeweizen all summer long on that single yeast purchase (Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan).
 

carl spakler

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I tried this for the first time and was amazed at how quickly I had a floating and then bubbling airlock, maybe an hour lag time tops!
 

grasshopperfirestarter

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Im thinking of racking a pale ale onto a cream of 3 crops yeast cake this weekend. This would be my first time trying this. You think there will be hints of the flaked maize in the pale ale?
 

ILuvIPA

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FYI, this was discussed last week in the yeast forum. Someone posted this link discussing why it's a bad idea: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/why-not-pitch-your-yeast-cake-166221/

The jist of the read is: pitching on a cake is massive over-pitching and also skips the first phase of the ferment (growth phase/colonize the wort.) The argument is: off flavors and/or failure to develope the taste profile of the yeast involved. The OP is not saying you won't make good beer, rather you can make better beer.

Hey, I claim no expertise on this but the overpitch argument does make a lot of sense. Going forward I plan to yeast wash & use just a measured amount of the slurry based on a pitching calculator. Hey, just food for wort. . .uh, thought!

PS: The link I suggested is more current than this original thread!
 

JONATHANKORTZ

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I tried this as well last night, the only Beer I could find to work with the yeast in the ferminter was a Hop Brown Ale so I put the Texas Red into a carboy and poured the fresh batch right on top gave it a swirl and kept it around 70 degrees and this morning the air lock was going non stop.

Before I did this however i emailed my LHS and this is what he said:

Hi,
It is possible to do this and in fact hundreds of years ago this is what brewers did before we discovered that yeast was what caused fermentation to take place. Now a days you can use this method if you plan on brewing the same recipe back to back in order to save on buying yeast. We recommend on reusing yeast from the primary fermenter and only to reuse the yeast cake 1-2 times as the yeast will get tired after awhile and because dead yeast cells start to break down after 4-6 weeks and can lead to off flavors. You'll also want the second batch you brew to be of similar style as certain yeast strains are only good for a few styles of beer and it might lead to and interesting results if you tried to go from a wit to a stout using the same yeast.
White Labs WLP001 and Wyeast 1056 American Ale are two yeast strains that have a very wide range of uses and would be good for reusing the yeast on. Have a good day,


I have also read that you want to a darker beer each time but then some people say it really dosent matter!
 
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