Quantcast

Yeast "splitting"

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Jaeger48

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
178
Reaction score
1
Location
Lynnwood, WA
Well, I bought a vial of WLP001 California Ale yeast and my lhbs resident says he normally just dumps his yeast into the primary without using a starter. I've made 2 starters before and I've had bubbles within 12 hours in each batch. My question is, can I make a starter from the vial a couple days in advance and then come brew day separate the starter, pitch half, and then add some additional wort to bring it back to a full starter? Once I have the second starter prepped I was planning on capping it and waiting until the next batch. I'd like to switch up the ingredients a bit and see how they effect the end product while keeping the yeast constant.

Are there any pitfalls other than possible contamination?
 

Judd

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2007
Messages
279
Reaction score
2
Location
Halifax, Canada
Yes, you can do that. I do it all the time. The thing that sometimes catches me up is the yeast not getting enough oxygen, and entering its fermentation phase too quickly. This means that sometimes you don't get enough yeast and/or it deactivates and you get a slow or struggling fermentation. But in general, saving yeast like that is a really cheap and easy way to save money and do some cool experiments.
 

malkore

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2007
Messages
6,924
Reaction score
50
Location
Nebraska
search for 'yeast washing'. nothing wrong with your idea, but if you wash a whole yeast cake from primary, you'll get anywhere from 3-6 jars/vials worth of yeast, and yeast stores better on sanitary water, than a layer of starter wort/beer.
 

PseudoChef

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2007
Messages
3,401
Reaction score
117
Location
West Chicago 'Burbs
malkore said:
search for 'yeast washing'. nothing wrong with your idea, but if you wash a whole yeast cake from primary, you'll get anywhere from 3-6 jars/vials worth of yeast, and yeast stores better on sanitary water, than a layer of starter wort/beer.
Right, but then you're using stressed yeast. If you take yeast from the starter and split it, you're using un-stressed, extremely fresh yeast everytime.

From working in a lab with these types of techniques, I can say with pretty good confidence that this is what White Labs and Wyeast do. They grow up yeast in steps from a mother culture.

P.S. The technique that the OP describes is what I do when using liquid cultures.
 
OP
J

Jaeger48

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
178
Reaction score
1
Location
Lynnwood, WA
My main concern with the yeast washing is getting a good sample and also... I don't have a lot of jars floating around.
 

budbo

Beer is good
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
2,294
Reaction score
21
Location
La Plata, MD
I always refill my WL vials from the starter right before pitching, then put it in the fridge. With this method all you have to do is sanitize the vial before refilling. From a healthy starter the only way to distinguish the recycle from a brand new vial is the broken seal on the cap, It also requires a starter on the reuse batch.

I find in general by the 5th batch the starter, starts slower than normal which is why I haven't gone past that... The end result is I can reduce the price of a WL vial to about the same cost as a packet of Nottingham.
 

Professor Frink

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
3,100
Reaction score
30
Location
Beacon, NY
That is how I typically get yeast to freeze down. I make a huge starter (3-4 quarts), pitch most of it, then bring the starter back up to 2 qts. or so, then freeze it down.
 

Gammon N Beer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2007
Messages
708
Reaction score
10
Location
WI
Jaeger48 said:
Well, I bought a vial of WLP001 California Ale yeast and my lhbs resident says he normally just dumps his yeast into the primary without using a starter. I've made 2 starters before and I've had bubbles within 12 hours in each batch. My question is, can I make a starter from the vial a couple days in advance and then come brew day separate the starter, pitch half, and then add some additional wort to bring it back to a full starter? Once I have the second starter prepped I was planning on capping it and waiting until the next batch. I'd like to switch up the ingredients a bit and see how they effect the end product while keeping the yeast constant.

Are there any pitfalls other than possible contamination?
You can also plan your brew schedule with a series of beers that use the same yeast. You can then simply use part of the yeast cake for the next brew.

Washing, freezing and the wise use of yeast is an area you can reduce overall costs of beer making. You can't control the price increase of the hops, but you can the yeast.
 
OP
J

Jaeger48

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
178
Reaction score
1
Location
Lynnwood, WA
The price of yeast was a consideration but it isn't the main factor. I love cooking and brewing feels great.

One of our local microbrew houses re-uses their yeast about 26 times using the washing method before they start with a new strain. I like their beer but it's outrageous to pay $8 a beer regardless of how much I like it.
 
Top