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Setting Aside Yeast for Bottle Fermentation

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Belgian Buster

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The past few days in my spare time I have been researching ways to save yeast for later use. One of the most common methods that pops up is yeast washing. The problem is I’m brewing high gravity beers and everything I’ve read is the yeast is pretty burned out by the time you do the above method and I only need a small amount for bottling. Is it viable to set aside a small amount from wyeast smack pack (no starter), and if so, what’s the best way of storing it for 8+/- weeks before bottling? The only thing I’ve been able to come up with is making a starter and freezing some in vials, but is making the starter even necessary for this purpose?

It may be helpful to mention I mainly brew the stronger Belgian styles and, to be more true to the style, I wanted to do bottle conditioning. I’ve attempted using cheaper Belgian dry yeast that can handle the higher abv for bottling, but it produced an off taste. It also seems to be very expensive to get another smack pack when only such a small amount is required. Is there something I’m missing or does anyone have some information they could direct me to?

Also I tried a search on the forums and did some google searching as well to see if I could get an answer for my question. It could be the terms I used, but I couldn’t find a direct answer. Sorry if this has been asked to death!
 

snowtiger1987

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I normally use dry Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast (not called that anymore, its the yellow packet) to bottle condition my Belgian beers. Costs $.75 a pack at my LHBS. One pack is good for 2 - 5 gallons batches. I boil water, take out 1 cup worth and let it cool to 100 degrees or so, then activate the yeast with it. I pour half a cup in the bottling bucket for 1 batch. I usually time it so I have 2 batches to bottle at once so the other 1/2 cup goes in the 2nd batch.

I have never noticed an "off" taste.
 

tll77

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You should not need to add any more yeast at bottling time, even with a strong Belgian ale. There will be plenty of active yeast in the beer still at bottling to get the job done. I brew a lot of Belgian ales, most are kegged but I do bottle some and don't add any yeast.
 
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Belgian Buster

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I may try a dry packet one more time and see how things go. Also it may be worth experimenting to see how things go with no additions. From what I’ve gathered, most Belgian brewers add fresh yeast when bottling because it’s recommended for the higher gravities, but batch size may very well play a factor.

I suppose I’m surprised I haven't found any information of someone saving a small amount of yeast from a smack pack for bottling or later use without a starter being involved.
 

Big Monk

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I may try a dry packet one more time and see how things go. Also it may be worth experimenting to see how things go with no additions. From what I’ve gathered, most Belgian brewers add fresh yeast when bottling because it’s recommended for the higher gravities, but batch size may very well play a factor.

I suppose I’m surprised I haven't found any information of someone saving a small amount of yeast from a smack pack for bottling or later use without a starter being involved.
Keep in mind, they use the primary yeast for bottling because they have a literal ton of it, all fresh, at their disposal.

I would go with a calculated amount of dry yeast at bottling. That’s what’s I do for all my beers, which are all Trappist “Style” ales.
 

RM-MN

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The past few days in my spare time I have been researching ways to save yeast for later use. One of the most common methods that pops up is yeast washing. The problem is I’m brewing high gravity beers and everything I’ve read is the yeast is pretty burned out by the time you do the above method and I only need a small amount for bottling. Is it viable to set aside a small amount from wyeast smack pack (no starter), and if so, what’s the best way of storing it for 8+/- weeks before bottling? The only thing I’ve been able to come up with is making a starter and freezing some in vials, but is making the starter even necessary for this purpose?

It may be helpful to mention I mainly brew the stronger Belgian styles and, to be more true to the style, I wanted to do bottle conditioning. I’ve attempted using cheaper Belgian dry yeast that can handle the higher abv for bottling, but it produced an off taste. It also seems to be very expensive to get another smack pack when only such a small amount is required. Is there something I’m missing or does anyone have some information they could direct me to?

Also I tried a search on the forums and did some google searching as well to see if I could get an answer for my question. It could be the terms I used, but I couldn’t find a direct answer. Sorry if this has been asked to death!
Your yeast will probably not be able to ferment the more difficult sugars left in your high gravity beers but there will be billions of yeast cells and the priming sugar is very easy for them to digest so you don't need to add any for bottling. It may take them a little longer to carbonate than a lower gravity beer but the high gravity beers need more time to mature so that isn't a big problem.
 
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