Starting a yeast bank

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bionicbelly

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Hey all, I'm going to be starting a yeast bank in the near future. I'm a newer brewer, and don't have a ton of experience, so I'm looking for recommendations on which yeasts to keep on hand.
Here are the styles that I currently make, and the yeast I have for it. I just got a glycol chiller, so this opens up my options for lagers immensely so would really like some recommendations for those.
1. Saisons - Have used Fermentis BE-134, T-58, and Mangrove Jack M-21. Nothing really stood out as great to me. Ok, just not great.
2. Witbier - Have used Fermentis T-58 and S-33. S-33 was better than T-58 for this.
3. Hefe - Have used WB-06 and liked it.
4. Cream ale - Nottingham and US-05 Both were good
5. Pilsner and Marzen - Have used 34/70 due to not having temp control. One batch of marzen was really good, one is aging in a keg now, and have a pils in the fermenter with this yeast.
I'm planning on banking S-33, WB-06, US-05, S-04 for sure.
I'd like to find a yeast for abbey ale (Tripels and Blondes). I have a packet of BE-256, but haven't used this strain before.
I'd also like to find a good all around lager/pils yeast. This is probably most of what I'll be doing, now that I can properly control temps. I will likely be doing Marzens, Vienna, Schwartzbier, Helles, etc.
 

bierhaus15

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Having maintained my yeast bank for almost 10 years now, IMO, don't bother banking strains that are easily accessible or those you can buy all the time. Especially dry yeast. I've found the amount of time and energy that goes into maintaining a bank is not worth it when you can buy the same yeast in a pitchable quantity for $10.

I have over 40 strains right now and the only reason I have that many is they are from private yeast banks or stuff that rarely becomes available. I'm not sure it is really worth it. That said, it is a great way to learn about yeast management. Having access to a full lab makes it a bit easier, not sure I'd do it if I didn't.

Edit: By banking, I meant putting the strains on a slant for storage. Storing yeast slurry in jars is not an ideal way to store yeast for any length of time.
 
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bionicbelly

bionicbelly

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There is not an lhbs near me at all. My plan was to do “starter” with a pack of yeast and make 10-12 50ml conical tubes and freeze them with glycerin. I just want to have stuff on hand. The yeast I use most often.
I also work in a lab. So the supplies and technique are not an issue.
 

monkeymath

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What's the point if you're using dried yeast anyways? They have a long shelf life, don't require much storage space and are ready to pitch at any time.

(Side note: WB-06 is not a Hefeweizen yeast)
 
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bionicbelly

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Seriously, I’ve asked two questions in the last two days, and the only responses I get are “why would you do that”. I am not asking if I should. I don’t care if you think I should or shouldn’t. I have limited experience with yeast.
I’m asking for recommendations on three types of yeast. If it bugs you, ignore the fact that I am going to make a bunch of vials. It’s really irrelevant to the questions I’m asking.
The **** are homebrewers like this?
 
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monkeymath

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Seriously, I’ve asked two questions in the last two days, and the only responses I get are “why would you do that”. I am not asking if I should. I don’t care if you think I should or shouldn’t. I have limited experience with yeast.
I’m asking for recommendations on three types of yeast. If it bugs you, ignore the fact that I am going to make a bunch of vials. It’s really irrelevant to the questions I’m asking.
The **** are homebrewers like this?
Ok, here's how you maintain a bank of dry yeast: buy ten packets of each yeast and keep them in the fridge. Done.
At 2-3 bucks per pitch, it's cheap. It requires no effort. It's absolutely sanitary, no issues with contamination when stepping up. It requires no upfront planning for your brewday, no 10ml starters a week in advance.

As far as yeast recommendations go, you seem to have made up your mind for the most part already. Danstar Munich Classic (*not* Munich Wheat!) is supposed to be a great yeast. You can't go wrong with US05 and W34/70. The German homebrew forum is full of rave for Danstar Diamond Lager, so you might want to give that one a shot. For saisons, Mangrove Jack's French Saison and Danstar Belle Saison don't align with what I expect from a Saison. I have yet to try BE-134, I am sort of hopeful. WY3724 and 3726 are great liquid strains (and there are countless others).

Addendum: note that this is a forum for discussions, not a hotline for help and counseling. You might not like all posts by others, that is in the nature of things.
 
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bionicbelly

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Ok, here's how you maintain a bank of dry yeast: buy ten packets of each yeast and keep them in the fridge. Done.
-Works for you, not for me. I know what works for me. You have your reasons for doing it that way, I have my reasons for not.
-Also I am not necessarily looking for dry yeast recommendations. If a liquid yeast strain is vastly superior to what I am using, I would use it. I have no way of knowing though, as I have only used dry yeast. I have no LHBS near me. I have to order stuff, and the last couple times, shipping got delayed for a day or two. Not the best for liquid yeast. If it will help me make better beer, I will make the five hour round trip to the homebrew store and get some liquid yeast.

It's absolutely sanitary, no issues with contamination when stepping up.
-I've maintained pure bacteria cultures for years at a time. ;) I think I'll be ok.

Addendum: note that this is a forum for discussions, not a hotline for help and counseling. You might not like all posts by others, that is in the nature of things.
-If I don't like someone's thread, I don't comment.
-I am/was trying to have a discussion about yeast.

If someone says "Hey, I'm headed to Seattle, can someone recommend a brewery?" Recommend a brewery, or don't. You don't say, "Why would you go to Seattle?" That would be rude and pointless.

To the actual discussion, I might try the Diamond Lager. I have also heard good things.
The batch I did with BE-134 was not good. I don't think the yeast was the problem. It was the first brew I did after doing a ton of modifications to my equipment, and I think I messed up the process somewhere. (side note, this was the ONLY brew I've had so far that wasn't very enjoyable.)
 

bwible

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I'd like to find a yeast for abbey ale (Tripels and Blondes). I have a packet of BE-256, but haven't used this strain before.
Try Wyeast 3864PC if you can ever find it. PC means its private collection, limited availability. Kind of the same thing White Labs does with their vault strains. 3864 is supposed to be Unibroue’s yeast. There’s a yeast that would be worth banking.

 

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I brew a lot and want to do whatever beer i want at that moment , hence my yeast bank. I do overbuild starters and save a 250 ml portion in an Erlenmeyer flask with foil on top.
I just revived my favorite saison yeast(TYB Blend II) from 9/2018 using a loop and a 15 ml tube of sterile wort, with a 2 step build to 1600 ml.

My house yeast is 2565 Kolsch,
Chico, evenly split between BR-97 and Notty
34/70 is a multi tasker but 833 is my fav lager and it is a PC that is not always around and needs to be banked.
I've gone thru the 3 Kveiks and found Lutra to be like 34/70 in that it ferments clean from 64* to 86*. I keep a liquid saved portion of these but also dried them with great success.

At this time I have all but BR-97 in stock, but that's because Lutra is a beast.

Farmhouse Brewing Supply is my go to for yeast but their only a day away from me, once I ordered at 3:00 am and got my package in the afternoon same day.

Note that with this Covid , my last More beer shipment was 7 days with the afore mentioned 833 (ordered with ice pack) and it was still cold, so I'd order from them again. Not their fault it sat.

That pretty much sums up my yeast obsession, But why would you want to go to Seattle?
Pikes Place of course.......................hey quit arguing with myself!
 
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bionicbelly

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I brew a lot and want to do whatever beer i want at that moment , hence my yeast bank. I do overbuild starters and save a 250 ml portion in an Erlenmeyer flask with foil on top.
I just revived my favorite saison yeast(TYB Blend II) from 9/2018 using a loop and a 15 ml tube of sterile wort, with a 2 step build to 1600 ml.
-I like the way this sounds! Thanks for the recommendation. I'ma give that a go.
Edit: Sold out I guess...

But why would you want to go to Seattle?
Pikes Place of course.......................hey quit arguing with myself!
😄
 

GoeHaarden

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One thing to consider is that you will be using more DME for starters having to step them up. Not a big deal but if cost is a consideration then it doesn't save much money. I still keep a small frozen yeast bank, but I do go through a lot of DME. I do a 2 liter stepped up to 4 liters for my lagers. I pretty much only freeze lager strains anymore.

15mL yeast slurry + 15mL - 25% glycerin solution. Making the final glycerin concentration 12.5%. Freeze away.

As far as dry yeast goes. I pretty much use Nottingham exclusively for my ales and I have had great success from one rehydrated sachet in anything under 1.080 at 60F. To make a starter from Nottingham would cost more in DME and it would be a much bigger hassle (to me anyways). I don't see the point so I don't do it, but to each their own...

Others have touched on it, but I don't think it's always worth it or feasible...
 
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hottpeper13

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I haven't used DME for starters ,since I started all grain. When I collect enough wort for preboil i put the hose in a pitcher for the remainder of brew day and collect most of the time 2 qts. It's between 1.020 and 1.036 most times. I freeze it then thaw it and boil for 10 min in a flast with stir bar. When making starters for all your beers it's a good idea to over build your wort by 2-3 qts also.
 

Northern_Brewer

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1. Saisons - Have used Fermentis BE-134, T-58, and Mangrove Jack M-21. Nothing really stood out as great to me. Ok, just not great.
2. Witbier - Have used Fermentis T-58 and S-33. S-33 was better than T-58 for this.
3. Hefe - Have used WB-06 and liked it.
4. Cream ale - Nottingham and US-05 Both were good
5. Pilsner and Marzen - Have used 34/70 due to not having temp control. One batch of marzen was really good, one is aging in a keg now, and have a pils in the fermenter with this yeast.
I'm planning on banking S-33, WB-06, US-05, S-04 for sure.
I'd like to find a yeast for abbey ale (Tripels and Blondes). I have a packet of BE-256, but haven't used this strain before.
I'd also like to find a good all around lager/pils yeast. This is probably most of what I'll be doing, now that I can properly control temps. I will likely be doing Marzens, Vienna, Schwartzbier, Helles, etc.
1 - Check out the Maltose Falcons reviews for saison yeasts, a blend of 3724 and WLP365 would seem to be their favourite for a classic flavour from easily-obtainable strains.
2 - meh, neither S-33 or T-58 would seem quite right for wit, try Lallemand Wit (formerly? Munich-ordinary) or whatever Belgiany yeast you have to hand.
3 - Hefe - Lallemand Munich Classic (as opposed to Wit/Munich-ordinary) is probably the best place to start for more people, then start exploring the liquid options. As mentioned above, WB-06 is a weird yeast related to the Duvels, it's not a hefe yeast despite the marketing.
4 - Cream - meh, doesn't make much difference, not really a yeast-driven style. Try WLP041 though.

As with others, I'd question the value of banking dry yeasts - been there, done that. Certainly not something like S-04 when there's so many better English yeasts out there.
 

CascadesBrewer

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Hey all, I'm going to be starting a yeast bank in the near future. I'm a newer brewer, and don't have a ton of experience, so I'm looking for recommendations on which yeasts to keep on hand.
It sounds like instead of focusing on a yeast bank, you should first focus on figuring out a core set of yeasts that work for you. Smaller sized batches work well for this. I will often brew a 5 gallon batch that I split with 2 yeasts for a side by side comparison. Another option is 1 gallon batches. This could just be a 1 gallon batch (all-grain or extract) but even better is to brew a 2 to 5 gallon batch and split it into multiple fermenters.

I don't have a "yeast bank" but for the past few years I have been harvesting and storing yeast slurry. This method works out well if I am brewing regularly and rotating through 3 or 4 yeasts. I have been wanting to move toward dry yeast to eliminate the hassle of starters and storing jars of yeast. I am still in the process of figuring out if dry yeast can fill out all my needs.

As far as the dry yeast you mention: S-33: a nice ESB style yeast, WB-06: I have a Belgian Blond fermenting with this now (also with Lallemand Abbaye), US-05: a good solid workhorse...I plan a trial vs BRY-97, S-04: a decent yeast...I am hoping that Verdant can be my English dry strain but I have not tried it yet.
 

Brüverine

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Bionic,

You are spot on for having US-04 and US-05 in the mix. Every brewer should likely have those on tap.

I am in a similar situation as you, as my LHBS recently closed so I have taken to milling my own grain and creating a yeast bank. Nothing makes you feel powerful like the ability to brew whenever you want!

The first yeast I out in my bank was Wyeast 3944 - Witbier Belgian Witbier | Wyeast Laboratories

Whether it is better than a dry variant, I can't say, but I did have it recommended to me over the dry variant by my LHBS and I am very pleased with how it performed.

Other yeasts that have caught my eye are the various Kveik strains. These can often be subbed for US-05 or other standard yeasts. I elected to purchase Voss, Bartleby (which is a limited release for Summer 2021) and Lutra.

The bad(?) News with kveik is that temperature control isn't really necessary. Lutra claims it can create lager-like results (emphasis...not truly a lager) at temps between 76-90F. I live in TX so that is a huge win for me!

Voss on the other hand can ferment as hot as 100F, maybe even 104F if I remember correctly.

I have not heard any examples of folks freezing kveik in a liquid glycol solution since you can just dry the slurry and store frozen in a ziploc, but I intend to make an oversized starter from each variety I enjoy and make a few vials so I have a pure generation 1 on hand in case of mutations. I will then top crop and collect yeast slurry to dry and freeze, pitch wet, etc to experiment with how each approach fares in the long run.

Update:

I purchased all of my kveik from Northern Brewer. Voss and Lutra are available dry, but Lutra may be low in stock in its dry variant. Since Bartleby was seasonal, it only had a liquid version. Northern Brewer does have relatively fast delivery, frequent promotions, and a good selection. They also include a complementary ice pack with any purchase of liquid yeast. But...to be honest, it still came tepid when it arrived on my Texas stoop.
 

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I used the high gravity abbey yeast on a tripel I did a ways back and liked it, at least the performance. I did ferment fairly cold (low 60s) so I didn't get any of the esters |I was hoping for.
I've got a bunch frozen with glycerine now, that one, BE_134, Irish Ale (I like that in stouts) 1056 - that's being used right now; |I'll save and freeze that back down when the beer is finished. (I know that one is super easy to get, but I used it as much a test of the process as anything else. |PLus it's good to have that on hand, I do think it performs a bit differently that S05, which I do have a couple packets of, more for emergency use as anything else.) as well as a couple others I don't really remember offhand - I keep things written down so |I don't have to remember. |It's basically my most commonly used strains.
 

mashpaddled

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I ran a yeast bank for a couple years until I realized I broke into it once because I ended up serial repitching the same strains or trying new strains I didn't like. After realizing it wasn't a good use of my time I gave it up. I think my parents might have some twelve year old tubes in their chest freezer. Yeast banking dropped off as more strains became consistently available and more dried strains came on the market. You might give it up too but I will say it taught me that yeast are a lot more durable than the delicate magic dust I thought them to be when I started brewing.

I wouldn't discourage you from doing it but you're putting the cart before the horse. You should find the strains you like first and bank them as you find the ones you like. Asking people which strains they like is going to give you the same diverse answers as "what beers do you like?" because everybody has radically different preferences. What I would recommend so you aren't buying every strain in a catalog is look at beers you like and find out which strains are used in those beers. I recall buying many strains people swore were the best for X style only to find out they weren't what I liked in that style.
 
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bionicbelly

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Bionic,

You are spot on for having US-04 and US-05 in the mix. Every brewer should likely have those on tap.

I am in a similar situation as you, as my LHBS recently closed so I have taken to milling my own grain and creating a yeast bank. Nothing makes you feel powerful like the ability to brew whenever you want!

The first yeast I out in my bank was Wyeast 3944 - Witbier Belgian Witbier | Wyeast Laboratories

Whether it is better than a dry variant, I can't say, but I did have it recommended to me over the dry variant by my LHBS and I am very pleased with how it performed.

Other yeasts that have caught my eye are the various Kveik strains. These can often be subbed for US-05 or other standard yeasts. I elected to purchase Voss, Bartleby (which is a limited release for Summer 2021) and Lutra.

The bad(?) News with kveik is that temperature control isn't really necessary. Lutra claims it can create lager-like results (emphasis...not truly a lager) at temps between 76-90F. I live in TX so that is a huge win for me!

Voss on the other hand can ferment as hot as 100F, maybe even 104F if I remember correctly.

I have not heard any examples of folks freezing kveik in a liquid glycol solution since you can just dry the slurry and store frozen in a ziploc, but I intend to make an oversized starter from each variety I enjoy and make a few vials so I have a pure generation 1 on hand in case of mutations. I will then top crop and collect yeast slurry to dry and freeze, pitch wet, etc to experiment with how each approach fares in the long run.

Update:

I purchased all of my kveik from Northern Brewer. Voss and Lutra are available dry, but Lutra may be low in stock in its dry variant. Since Bartleby was seasonal, it only had a liquid version. Northern Brewer does have relatively fast delivery, frequent promotions, and a good selection. They also include a complementary ice pack with any purchase of liquid yeast. But...to be honest, it still came tepid when it arrived on my Texas stoop.
I have a specific brew that I use Voss on. Super simple kind of copper ale, and it is almost universally everyone that tries my beers favorite. I've made it several times, and always re-use yeast. It's a great yeast, and I feel like it adds something to that particular brew. I haven't made much else with it, except a wheat that was just ok. But man, that copper ale is the stuff.
Thanks for the heads up on that witbier yeast. I've looked at that a few times, but I may just get some and see how it is.
 
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bionicbelly

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I ran a yeast bank for a couple years until I realized I broke into it once because I ended up serial repitching the same strains or trying new strains I didn't like. After realizing it wasn't a good use of my time I gave it up. I think my parents might have some twelve year old tubes in their chest freezer. Yeast banking dropped off as more strains became consistently available and more dried strains came on the market. You might give it up too but I will say it taught me that yeast are a lot more durable than the delicate magic dust I thought them to be when I started brewing.

I wouldn't discourage you from doing it but you're putting the cart before the horse. You should find the strains you like first and bank them as you find the ones you like. Asking people which strains they like is going to give you the same diverse answers as "what beers do you like?" because everybody has radically different preferences. What I would recommend so you aren't buying every strain in a catalog is look at beers you like and find out which strains are used in those beers. I recall buying many strains people swore were the best for X style only to find out they weren't what I liked in that style.
. You should find the strains you like first and bank them as you find the ones you like.
-That's what I 'm trying to do here. Get a few suggestions, so I don't have to try every yeast in the book. 😄 So many yeasts. I just stare at all the varieties like a possum in headlights. It hurts my brain. When I find "the one" I'll start with the banking.

Asking people which strains they like is going to give you the same diverse answers as "what beers do you like?"
-For sure. It's like asking about oil in a car group. But, I gotta start somewhere.
 

bwible

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I am in a similar situation as you, as my LHBS recently closed
Seems to be alot of that going around. The nearest “well stocked” homebrew shop is almost a 2 hour drive from me now. There’s one shop closer but its a real small place that doesn’t have much.

I get most of my stuff by mail order now. I’ve always been a liquid yeast guy, but I’m looking more at dry yeast since I’m mail ordering everything. I will occasionally make the 2 hour drive, maybe once or twice a year when I want to pick up a sack of grain, etc.

Another thing to consider is if you have a local brewpub. I’ve found most of them are homebrewer friendly. They might sell you a sack of grain and give you some of their yeast if you ask nicely, take your own container and work around the brewer’s schedule. The pub near me has offered many times. He said he literally just throws yeast away and he’s happy to give it out.
 

rtstrider

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. You should find the strains you like first and bank them as you find the ones you like.
-That's what I 'm trying to do here. Get a few suggestions, so I don't have to try every yeast in the book. 😄 So many yeasts. I just stare at all the varieties like a possum in headlights. It hurts my brain. When I find "the one" I'll start with the banking.

Asking people which strains they like is going to give you the same diverse answers as "what beers do you like?"
-For sure. It's like asking about oil in a car group. But, I gotta start somewhere.
You know I will say I've got a freezer full of frozen yeast vials. I live in FL and only have access to Wyeast and dry strains at the lhbs (almost an hour away). The closest stores to me that carry White Labs, Omega, and Imperial are now around 5-7 hours away. I put in a sizeable order over the winter and spent a good bit of time learning how to bank yeast. Now here's the funny part...I mean absolutely knee slapping hilarious...About 2 months after that yeast order there's a sign at a strip mall around 6 houses down from me. New brewery and lhbs opening. After speaking with the owner they said they could get any strain/brand I wanted lol Just let them know. So here I put in all this work thinking it was worth it. Well...It was but not when the lhbs is a 2 minute walk from the house IF there is traffic. With that said I'd actually recommend working on propagating bottle dredges first. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Bells Two Hearted are great candidates for this! It will help get your propagation techniques down for when you are bringing yeast up from almost nothing. It sounds like you already have lab experience though so I'd assume you already have that knowledge. Now what I have to ask is not what yeast will you be using...Rather...What styles of beer do you enjoy brewing/consuming?

As far as what I have and what I'm actually using. I brew more American style beers than anything. Actually I banked up the real Chico from bottle dredges and that was my house yeast. It's worlds apart from 1056/us-05. WLP001 is much closer to my taste buds though. It's much cleaner than us-05/1056 but it is absolutely dog slow. Now I do have some white labs and omega strains banked since I can't get that locally.

When it comes to banking dry yeast it's been way more miss than hit for me. I tried it just for the experience really and it always ends up phenolic. That's with the Fermentis strains at least. I did play with the Lallemand Koln Kolsch yeast and plan on trying to bring up up from frozen slurry for giggles. It's not the...Why would you...It's the why not? It's a learning experience! Good luck on your yeast lab journey and post back with your findings!
 
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bionicbelly

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Finally got started on this. Been working on the house and not brewing a lot.
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Couple of points-
1. I did up with going with some of the recommended liquid yeast. I ordered from more beer, and it was in transit for six days. Ordered ice packs and they were hot when I got them. So that concern of mine was valid. They have been fine so far, but I’d have done a starter for them anyway, and I’m not sure how healthy they would be after six months. Now I will have these guys on hand, healthy, and ready to chow down.
2. The Belgian Ardennes yeast that was recommended smells AMAZING while fermenting. If this beer tastes anywhere as good as the yeast farts smell, I am gonna be in love.
3. Not yeast bank related, but I wanna show off a bit.
I got an icemaster g20 cooler awhile ago, and added the heat circuit to it. I jumpered off the switched power and used an ink bird dual outlet from a 308 controller since both outlets are independent, so that I could just have one cord going up to my fermenter shelf. It’s pretty sweet, and keeps things clean. Only one extra cord and a small outlet that will run both heaters if needed.
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I just really don’t like stray cords all over. The 308’s are functionally great, but it’s like an octopus eating spaghetti.
 
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bionicbelly

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FYI- this is what the 308 outlet looks like inside. Ground (green) and neutral (yellow) are shared, and the blue and brown are separate 120v sources. So four wires to power independent outlets.
 

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