Reuse of starter yeast?

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TahoeRy

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I need some yeast help. I am trying to spread my dollar a bit in regards to my yeast cost. Every time I make a starter for a brew, I make a little bigger than normal yeast starter and bottle some slurry prior to pitching to save some prime yeast for my next beer. I always sanitize everything and keep the bottles of yeast I collect in a refrigerator for the next time I need to make a starter. This has worked great for me so far until my last brew. I brewed a beer on Sunday and added my newest yeast starter made from these bottles. Usually I see active fermentation within 12 hours but on my brews but this time, nothing. Tons of yeast settlement at the bottom of my carboy but not an active fermentation. I pitched the yeast at a good temp (72) and aerated with o2 for 1.5 minutes. Everything was sterile. This was the 4th time reusing the yeast that i bottled and i usually reuse the bottled yeast within 2-3 weeks as I have several that I have started rotating. I know yeast can get tired after washing from a primary fermentation and can only be reused around 5-6 times before a new culture needs to be created. My question here is why am I experiencing a slow start when I have only had great fermentations up to this point? Shouldn't my yeast be able to go further considering that I am not washing it or stressing it out from primary fermentations? I was hoping to just be able to keep making starters from these bottles and harvesting a new bottle prior to pitching into a new batch. Am I going about this the wrong way? Am I hoping for to much here? should I just go back to buying yeast for every few batches and not try to keep a non frozen bank of yeast that I can pull from?

Thanks in advance for any responses.
 

sloose

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What about making a starter, decanting and saving multiple vials?i got cheap plastic reusable centrifuge vials off eBay, I make a big starter and store about 10 vials of s05. When I'm ready to brew I make my starter and use a vial. When the last vial is gone I either remake a parent starter or buy another packet of s05. I keep them in the bottom drawer of my frig, they store rather well on there.

That way I don't bother harvesting or washing.... It all goes into the composter
 

Hermit

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I calculate my starter so that I can pour off about 100 billion cells worth. Same as a tube. That way I know what I'm starting with.
 
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TahoeRy

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I do the same, aiming for around 100 billion or so. I always use about a 3 liter starter, depending on my gravity and pour off into my storage bottle.

Maybe I will just do what your doing sloose and create a bunch of bottles first, then make my starters from those. I thought I would keep the yeast healthier by not storing them for long periods but maybe I was wrong.
 

jmf143

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You've probably given your pitch an oxygen-rich enviorment by running your O2 for 90 seconds. They are still reproducing before they get down to fermenting.
 

Mofoa

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What about making a starter, decanting and saving multiple vials?i got cheap plastic reusable centrifuge vials off eBay, I make a big starter and store about 10 vials of s05. When I'm ready to brew I make my starter and use a vial. When the last vial is gone I either remake a parent starter or buy another packet of s05. I keep them in the bottom drawer of my frig, they store rather well on there.

That way I don't bother harvesting or washing.... It all goes into the composter
This sounds interesting to me. A few questions on this system:

1-You get 10 vials out of one dry pack?

2-How big of a starter to you make for the parent yeast?

3-How big of a starter do you make for the sub yeast (vials)?


Thanks.
 
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TahoeRy

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Jmf143: this was the first time I used oxygen in my beer. Are you saying that the yeast are reproducing in the oxygen and then will start the fermentation? I left town on Monday and will not be back until tomorrow so I don't know if my fermentation every started. Like I said before, I usually have a very active fermentation within 12 hours, this time I saw nothing and thought my yeast my have been used too many times. I was under the impression that my fermentation would start sooner and be a little more aggressive using the oxygen.

I guess I'll know more tomorrow when I get home and see the carboy.
 

sloose

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Mofoa said:
This sounds interesting to me. A few questions on this system:

1-You get 10 vials out of one dry pack?

2-How big of a starter to you make for the parent yeast?

3-How big of a starter do you make for the sub yeast (vials)?

Thanks.
I've made a starter and stepped it up to 2l from one pack. The vials are 50ml, and I get about 6 or so vials if I recall with some leftover. I've also harvested and washed from a session beer which certainly makes things easier in that department.

If I'm making a smaller beer I pitch 1vial into ~900ml of starter wort and give it a day on my ghetto spin ...most of my beers are sessions, if I'm making a big beer I'll pitch it onto a big chunk of a cake from the session.

The vials just make storing easier.... I currently have a few wyeast weinstappetrivutcutcutcut (spelling) in m frig, some s04 and mostly s05
 

Mofoa

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I've made a starter and stepped it up to 2l from one pack. The vials are 50ml, and I get about 6 or so vials if I recall with some leftover. I've also harvested and washed from a session beer which certainly makes things easier in that department.

If I'm making a smaller beer I pitch 1vial into ~900ml of starter wort and give it a day on my ghetto spin ...most of my beers are sessions, if I'm making a big beer I'll pitch it onto a big chunk of a cake from the session.

The vials just make storing easier.... I currently have a few wyeast weinstappetrivutcutcutcut (spelling) in m frig, some s04 and mostly s05
Gonna give this a whirl. :mug:
 

raouliii

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My regimen has been to purchase a vial or smackpack of a new yeast type and make a 2L starter, which generally triples the yeast count. When complete, I distribute this into 3 sanitized, quart mason jars and refrigerate and label. One jar is held for the next propogation round and the other two are used for 5 gallon batches after additional starters as required. I have about 6 strains that I am maintaining now and haven't bought new in about a year. The quart jars take up an entire shelf in my cooler but the cost savings has been well worth it. IMO, minimizing steps of the process will help reduce the chances of contamination.

I have attempted to preserve yeast from yeast cakes after fermentation and found it to be too time consuming for me.
 
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TahoeRy

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So when doing this I am assuming that the yeast is not getting stressed from a full fermentation and can be split this way. We dont have to worry about how many times we've reused it and can just keep splitting it up using low gravity starters. That's why I started to attempt to bottle some off from my starters in the first place. I am hoping it was the oxygen that caused this slow start and when I see the carboy today it's in a full fermentation.
 
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TahoeRy

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I just got home and checked my carboy. I got a full fermentation going with a great krausen. It smells great and seems to be doing its job. I guess this slow start might of occurred from the addition of the O2. Maybe next time I will reduce the length of time to just 1 min instead of the 1.5. Pretty weird. This was my first time using O2 so maybe I am just not used to the reactions when using it. Thanks for all the input guys!
 

sloose

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raouliii said:
My regimen has been to purchase a vial or smackpack of a new yeast type and make a 2L starter, which generally triples the yeast count. When complete, I distribute this into 3 sanitized, quart mason jars and refrigerate and label. One jar is held for the next propogation round and the other two are used for 5 gallon batches after additional starters as required. I have about 6 strains that I am maintaining now and haven't bought new in about a year. The quart jars take up an entire shelf in my cooler but the cost savings has been well worth it. IMO, minimizing steps of the process will help reduce the chances of contamination.

I have attempted to preserve yeast from yeast cakes after fermentation and found it to be too time consuming for me.
This is an excellent excellent method. Have you set a process to limit the amount of times you've recultured the parent? I thank you sir I may use this in the future.
 

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