Separating yeast slurry from trub through filtering

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Progressive Brewing
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HBT Supporter
Jan 9, 2013
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This question came up in a recent thread related to reusing yeast, where a homebrewer tossed 2 oz of dry hops in his primary, wondering whether he could reuse the yeast as is or would be able to remove the hop pulp.

The past 6 months I've been using a method to separate yeast slurry from the trub (hop matter, cold and hot break, grain powder, and what not). I've seen no ill effects so far.

I'm curious to hear if any of you have tried similar methods and what your findings were. As always, any feedback is welcome, and more importantly, ways to improve the procedure.

  1. Shut off your air conditioning/heat pump.
  2. When racking the beer out of the fermentor, leave ample beer behind, at least 1 quart; 2 quarts is better (based on a 5-6 gallon batch).
  3. Sanitize the rim area thoroughly. Use a small Starsan soaked washcloth to clean and mop around.
  4. Squeeze the washcloth out well and dry off the excess Starsan around the outer rim area. This is to prevent drips from the outside of the fermentor contaminating your yeast slurry during transfer and handling. Use common sense regarding sanitation.
  5. Swirl the fermentor up really well and pour the yeast/trub slurry into a large sanitized glass container.
  6. Put a lid on it and shake really well, to break up larger clumps.
  7. Now pour that yeast/hop/trub slurry into a boiled and sanitized fine mesh nylon hop bag placed inside a large sanitized funnel over another large glass jar.
  8. Stick a sanitized soup spoon with the round side up into the funnel, underneath the bag, to create a vent, so it can drain.
  9. Cover the funnel/hop bag with a large sanitized lid, foil or plastic wrap so nothing drops in it.
  10. Let it drain. You can to squeeze the bag with a sanitized spoon from time to time to speed up drainage.
  11. When done, put a lid on your new slurry jar, shake to homogenize and divide over 2 or more smaller mason jars for refrigerated storage.*
  12. You may turn the air conditioner/heat pump on again.
* Alternatively you could let it all settle in the large jar first. Then decant and save some of the excess clear beer, cap, shake and split the slurry. Top each off with the saved decanted beer. Store in refrigerator.

  • Utter sanitation practices will help prevent infection.
  • I use 1/2 gallon glass pickle jars to collect slurries from fermentors.
  • The lids from the pickle jars are great too. To create an extra barrier (lining), you could drape once- or twice-folded over sanitized plastic wrap over the jar's mouth, before screwing the lid back on.
That is a lot of work, I posted recently a technique for re-using clean yeast.

Basically yeast starter your original yeast and split it off, one to use and one to save.

Another piece of equipment that can help (and I just bought) is the FastFerment - Conical Fermentor. Look it up, basically plastic home conical set-up, allows yeast to settle at bottom and you can disconnect, save and pitch later. Pretty sweet, rather inexpensive.

As far as hops, use a hop bag and for the trub one idea (in the FastFerment) is to wait a few hours and let the trub drop in the yeast catching container, dump and then pitch the yeast.

That is a lot of work, I posted recently a technique for re-using clean yeast.

Basically yeast starter your original yeast and split it off, one to use and one to save. [...]

Thanks for the feedback. That's called yeast ranching, many of us are familiar with that, and is probably the easiest, cleanest, and preferred method.

However, plans don't always make it in real life, while in other situations a yeast that's been used once or twice is better suited, such as in super high gravity fermentations and large or multiple batches. Or, as in the example's case, the brewer harvested and painstakingly built a starter from a bottle of Bell's 2-Hearted, pitched the starter but forgot to save some out for later. Then after fermentation had subsided, he added 2 oz of dry hops to the fermentor. That's a relatively small amount of yeast in a lot of trub.

I've re-pitched trubby yeast many times and never had any issues with that, but sometimes the need for a cleaner pitch is desired. Proper yeast washing, or rinsing rather, can be tricky or even impossible if it doesn't separate out well. For example I have been unable to separate S-04 or WY1098 from trub, and have several mayonnaise jars full of it. I know it's at least 90-95% trub.

There are 100s of threads on yeast ranching, harvesting, washing, etc. but I've never seen anything on actively filtering the trub out. So here it is.

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