To reuse yeast cake or not?

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CU_tony

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I have my first batch of beer ready to rack to bottles, and since I finally got my auto siphon Im ready too! (For some reason I had no problems racking batch 1 to the carboy, but batch 2 proved very frustrating to rack, so I grabbed an auto siphon from amazon since it seems to be one of the few items that they sell for less than my LHBS)

So my question comes with the yeast cake for batch 1, a Blonde Ale. I have read about harvesting yeast to reuse, and just racking beer directly onto a yeast cake, and I was wondering if its worth the ~$4 Ill save on a yeast packet to deal with this.

The yeast cake is from a blonde ale, and the next beer to brew will be the 2nd kit brew, an Amber Ale. Both kits use the same yeast packet, US West Coast, and I think I read that its OK to rack a bigger beer onto a lighter beer yeast cake...
For 1 gallon batches, is the ~2" of trub/yeast too much? Should I dump all the trub into a mason jar and follow the instructions Ive seen for yeast washing, or should I maybe divide it in half and rack directly onto it?
 

zzgorch

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I'd rack directly onto the existing yeast cake (at the appropriate temperature) and swirl it into suspension. No washing or dividing. Bigger yeast count is generally better, not detrimental.
 

m1k3

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It's hard to over pitch for american style beers where a yeast character is not desired. I tend to go from smaller beers to larger beers when I do a series... then the additional yeast growth is desirable and makes economic sense.

If you are racking and then rebrewing quickly reusing yeast might make sense for you.

Keep your process clean and you can go several generations without washing, in my opinion. I just wouldn't dry hop into a primary where I plan to reuse the yeast.
 

BigMack

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If you're worried about the amount of trub then you can absolutely move it to a mason jar to only use part of it. You should be absolutely fine either way.
 
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CU_tony

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As far as the dividing the yeast cake goes, my main concern is the volume of the 1gal carboy that is currently taken up by the trub, and what that will look like after a 2nd batch!

Thanks for the input so far, I think I will proceed with plans on reusing yeast so I can keep a pack in the fridge for something else that West Coast yeast is good for.

My plan right now would be to start tomorrow off right and get the kit amber ale mashing, then rack the blonde ale, pour the yeast/trub into a sterile mason jar to settle, then try is it better to siphon out the trub on the bottom to dispose, or should I siphon off the top layers to use?

I think if I read right, that the top layers will be a clear wort and a think layer of live yeast on top of trub, any thoughts?
 

BrewerE

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if you are going to be pitching a few hours after putting it in the jar, there won't be much (if any) settling.

Just dump any beer that actually got to the top and pitch the top 1/4 - 1/3 of what's left in the jar.
 
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CU_tony

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Thanks, I have a feeling that sanitation aside beer will be a very forgiving and malleable mistress.
If theres anything photo worthy, Ill be posting that here tomorrow!
 

Aristotelian

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If you don't like the idea of all that trub, boil some water, let it cool in a mason jar, then dump it on top of the yeast cake and swirl it around. Let the trub settle out for about 10 minutes, then decant off the white liquid into a sanitized mason jar, leaving behind the trub. The white liquid is your yeast. And yes, you can use it again. If you are only making 1 G batches, $4 (or more) for a pack of yeast is going to add up quickly if you don't reuse.
 
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CU_tony

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Are most of the packets designed for 5 gallon batches? If so, yea 1 gal batches are a heck of a waste, past this last 1 gal batch that came with the kit, I imagine in the future the smallest I would do is a 2 gallon batch split between 2 carboys and do something a little different with one of them just for kicks.

That being said, no way my kitchen stove could handle a 5 gal batch, so I would need infrastructure upgrades before Im ready for that plunge.
 

Aristotelian

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Yes, a packet is good for roughly 5 gal. They often recommend 4 gal to try and get you to buy two packs. If you are brewing 1 gallon batches, you can pitch 1/4 of a packet, tape up the packet and store in the fridge until your next batch.
 

Kent88

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I don't know if this is the best way to wash yeast, but I have used it successfully.

I was washing yeast from a 1-gallon batch and ended up with 4 jars of yeast and I only used a couple before they allegedly expired. Try to leave the hop sludge behind, and make a small yeast starter to revive the dormant yeast.
 
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JONNYROTTEN

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Theres no need to wash yeast.Dont bother trying to get the yeast/slurry out with the auto siphon.Just swirl the remaining beer(usually about a pint) and the yeast cake around till you get a slurry.Kind of looks like quicksand when your done.Pour that into a sterilized mason jar and stick in the fridge.Next brew day take it out in the morning so it will be at room temp when your ready to pitch.I use a full jar to around 3/4 jar for 5 gallons as a reference.Its absolutely worth saving yeast...free yeast is free yeast

EDIT:
DONT tighten the lid down on jar.The yeast continue off gassing for a few days.The jar will continue building pressure and you will NEVER get the lid off.Ive needed to throw out full jars.Keep the jar with the lid cracked for a few days in the fridge then tighten loosely,dont crank it down
 
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CU_tony

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Its hard to tell just how much trub is in my carboy since its my first batch to rack, but would something like 4oz of the mixed yeast cake be suitable for the next one gallon batch? I just dont want to waste any space in the carboy that I dont have to since Im still working on the mashing and boiling efficiency to reduce the total amount of trub that will precipitate out.
 

Aristotelian

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As described above, add a mason jar of water and swirl around. Let the trub settle, then decant off a mason jar's worth of the liquid with suspended yeast, leaving behind the trub. Then you can pitch about half of the harvested yeast.
 

kmbell

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I've reused yeast a few times by simply dumping the new beer on top of the trub from the old. I did this for a Belgian witte and it was great, both beers tasted mostly clean and true to style.

I did it for consecutive German hefeweizens and there was a muddy trub flavor mixed with the hefe flavor. I may have overpitched and didn't control for temperature. That beer should've been a drain pour.
 
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