Saving yeast cake

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BrewmeisterSmith

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This may have been done or is an over played topic. I've never done this so don't burn me at the stake. Just curious if there are a few folks out there doing this and making it work. I just made an IPA with WLP 001. Tasted great. Flawless in fact. So, I took the yeast cake and poured it into a sanitized mason jar. Now I have a jar of excellent yeast that I'm not 100% sure what to do with. Should i try to wash it? Should I just pitch it into another batch? I'll probably brew in a week or so. I'm planning on refrigerating until then. Anyone else do this? Starter? Any advice? What works for you? etc
 

antony

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Did you save the entire cake? Pretty sure that if you brew within the week you can just dump that jar in. I usually wash mine or at the very least split it up into several jars. If I don't get to it in a week I'll just make a starter to make sure its still viable.

Also easy is to just brew on the day you pull the beer off the cake, dump the new beer right on top. Best advice is to brew similar styles with it, or progressively darker.

good luck!
 

heckler73

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Also easy is to just brew on the day you pull the beer off the cake, dump the new beer right on top. Best advice is to brew similar styles with it, or progressively darker.

good luck!

I've done this a couple times with good success. But I do dump the cake over the cooled wort, not the other way around. I also mix up the cake in a container and let the trub settle below the yeast. Just sanitize!
 

youreanimpulse

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Don't use the whole yeast cake unless it's a big beer. 1/4 should be fine for a normal beer. Don't need to wash it if it's just a week, I'd say. I don't usually wash it and haven't had issues saving yeast here and there.
 

RobertMuldoon

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I took the yeast cake and poured it into a sanitized mason jar.
I do the same thing with nearly everything I brew. I've probably saved well over $100 on smack packs doing this, and had great results. However, I have read that if you reuse the same yeast too many times, it may start to mutate or evolve and change flavors or characteristics. No clue if it's true, but it makes sense.
 

Gnomebrewer

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I always reuse yeast in this way - too lazy to wash it. The yeast pitching calculator on Mr Malty has an option for pitching from slurry which I use to calculate volumes. As above, I always add the yeast to the cooled wort. Also, I try to reuse within a week, two at the most (otherwise I make a starter). As long as it smells like yeast it should be good.

I use mine for four generations after the first, so five generations in total.

Fermentation starts REALLY fast this way - I always have krausen and airlock activity within 12 hours with slurry pitching.
 

eadavis80

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I've got a couple questions on this as well. I just brewed a pretty high gravity (for me anyway 1.062 IPA) last Saturday with DRIED Safale-US05. You can reuse dried yeast too right? However, my next scheduled brew is a session APA/IPA hybrid, SMASH Pale Ale from NB. That OG is less than 1.050. Knowing that, IF I used the yeast from the previous batch, would I just split up that yeast into like 3-4 mason jars and use one of those mason jars to ferment the SMASH? How long can you keep old yeast cakes? If I just use the dried yeast that came with the SMASH would the yeast cake from the IPA be good for a few months down the road IF I USE A STARTER? I've never done a starter or a yeast harvesting, but it's fun to expand my knowledge and I do like the idea of down the road not buying yeast anymore and saving $4-$8/batch. That adds up to a free kit about every 4 batches!
 
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BrewmeisterSmith

BrewmeisterSmith

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Also, am I correct in assuming that I should store this in the fridge until next time? Any harm in re-using this 1.5 to 2 weeks out?
 

harleybug88

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I've been culturing Bells Oberon yeast on a stir plate with great results. But was thinking of doing the same thing after seeing all that Bells yeast on the bottom of my carboys

Are you guys talking about using it from the primary or secondary?

I'm thinkin secondary would be better, as it would be cleaner with less trub.

P.S. I washed yeast one time ... It's not for me, to big of a hassle IMO.
 

pvault98

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Do not reuse from secondary or you are just selecting the much lower flocculating yeast.

Reusing yeast is great and you should definitely refrigerate and not pitch the entire yeast cake or you will be massively over-pitching. Use a repitch calculator and ideally try and select the yeast that is in the middle of the yeast cake and nice and white and creamy looking. I use a stainless steel turkey baster and stick it down into the middle and suck out the best looking yeast for both storing and immediate repitching. I always wash with boiled and cooled water to remove the oxygen and food and make the yeast go as dormant as possible when in storage.
 

harleybug88

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Do not reuse from secondary or you are just selecting the much lower flocculating yeast.

Reusing yeast is great and you should definitely refrigerate and not pitch the entire yeast cake or you will be massively over-pitching. Use a repitch calculator and ideally try and select the yeast that is in the middle of the yeast cake and nice and white and creamy looking. I use a stainless steel turkey baster and stick it down into the middle and suck out the best looking yeast for both storing and immediate repitching. I always wash with boiled and cooled water to remove the oxygen and food and make the yeast go as dormant as possible when in storage.
I can't use a turkey baster as I ferment in 6 gal glass carboy. so what would be the next best option?
 

eadavis80

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I'm a yeast washing/harvesting virgin as this post will clearly show. Is the yeast "cake" the stuff that will be left on the bottom of my primary bucket after I rack a beer to secondary? Because if it is, if memory serves me correctly, when I rack to secondary I don't have "white and creamy looking" stuff there. It's usually greenish and nasty looking. Is that just on the surface and the "white creamy stuff" is under all that nasty stuff, thus the need for a turkey baster?
 

youreanimpulse

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The green stuff is possibly hop matter. You can rinse ("wash") the yeast to get most of the hops and proteins (trub) off and save mostly yeast. There's a sticky on the fermentation and yeast forum that explains all of that. I usually just save it hops and all for a month or so. Haven't had issues with including the trub so far, but also haven't stored yeast for a longer stretch of time than two months. And I try to keep most of the hops from the boil out of the fermentor, so it isn't too bad.
 

eadavis80

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Do you think it's worth it to wash and keep dried yeast or not worth the hassle? You always make a starter with washed yeast, right?
 

youreanimpulse

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I don't do a starter if it's only been a week or two, as others have said. It's up to you whether it's worth it. Saves a little money, but easy to stockpile in dry form, which is more stable. I have only saved liquid yeast, since it already costs more and sometimes it's harder to get the exact strain you want at the store. I had a good run saving WY1028 for a few generations. It started attenuating more on the second or third gen. Tasty yeast.
 

Clef051

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If your brewing with in a week I'd say to just dump that in the fermenter. Anything longer than that wash and use a starter to build the yeast back up.
 

pvault98

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I can't use a turkey baster as I ferment in 6 gal glass carboy. so what would be the next best option?
I ferment in a carboy as well. I dump in some sterile water and swirl it then dump out the mixture into a 2 liter glass jar of mine and let it settle then use the turkey baster to extract from there.
 

harleybug88

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I ferment in a carboy as well. I dump in some sterile water and swirl it then dump out the mixture into a 2 liter glass jar of mine and let it settle then use the turkey baster to extract from there.
Thanks for the reply.

How much water do you dump in the carboy before you pour it off into the glass jar?

I'm going to give this a try.
 

pvault98

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Prob about 3/4 of a gallon. I swirl it around in the carboy and let it sit for maybe 20 mins and then decant off the top liquid with the hope that some trub settles and the yeast stays in suspension. Once it is in the jar I will usually throw it in the fridge or keggerator for a few hours or even a day or two and then harvest from the middle into multiple white labs vials. I use an alcohol lamp during these transfers to minimize the contamination risk. Obviously you should sterilize everything well. I find use the turkey baster I can get a good concentration of really good yeast without having to do a lot of washing. This repitch yeast usually takes off like a rocket when pitched into a new batch.
 

harleybug88

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I remember alcohol lamps from High School ... It's been a long, long time.

I don't have any empty vials though. How many vials do you usually get from a batch?
 

pvault98

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More than i would need. I usually harvest 4 vials and just dump the rest. the amount of yeast in the vial is double what you would get when buying new yeast from white labs. You can use a mason jar or anything else, i just save the empty vials plus i ordered some online at one time so i have them laying around.
 

eadavis80

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I have a black IPA fermenting now. It was made with dry yeast. However, I have a few recipes coming up that use the same yeast, Safale US-05. I'd like to try yeast washing as an experiment. The kits I have on deck I already have dried yeast for, but was wondering do you get BETTER beer with harvested yeast or just regular dried (rehydrated) or regular liquid yeast. The idea of saving money on yeast appeals to me, especially on liquid yeast when I get a kit with liquid.
 

pvault98

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It makes better beer. You will often see the fermentation get started much quicker, be more vigorous, and finish faster.
 

eadavis80

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I did read today however on either WYeast or White Labs website - can't remember which - that you should NOT harvest yeast from very hoppy beers and/or beers with OG's higher than 1.060, so since my NB ACe of Spades Black IPA was hoppy and higher than that, I guess I won't save that yeast.
 
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