Yeast Washing 3 layers?

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Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2007
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East Dundee, Illinois
This is only my second time yeast washing and I had some issues. I followed exactly the directions on the stickied post but I seem to have come up against some issues.
This is with WYeast Irish Ale Yeast 1084

I don't have any pictures right now (sorry) so I'll try to explain. I boiled the jars and lids for about 10 minutes and then took them out, lightly capped them and put them in the fridge for the night. I'd already racked off the beer so I put a cap on the carboy and let it sit (there was still a little beer on top, enough to keep it wet) and then the next day I poured in all the water and mixed it up, let it set for 20 minutes (had a timer) then tried to pour mostly the top layer into my larger jar.

The fermenter did not seem to separate into two layers very well while it sat so I did get some trub in the jar. I then waited 20 minutes for the jar to settle, at the end of that time there was about 2 inches of cloudy water on top and 5 inches of brown chunky water on the bottom. I poured into only 3 pint jars and stuck them in the fridge with loose caps.

The jars now have 3 layers, the usual golden colored water layer, and 1/4 inch yeast (white) layer and a 1 inch brown chunky layer (trub I'm guessing). This yeast seemed to flocculate fairly well I saw it swirling around in chunks during fermentation.

Should I have waited longer for things to settle out? (like an hour) I was worried the yeast would settle out in that time.

Are these still useable? (maybe use a sanitized turkey baster, or spoon for that matter to pull off mostly the yeast layer for my starter?)

EDIT: At home now, took a picture. I am debating dumping them and harvesting from the secondary when I bottle. Thoughts?



Well-Known Member
Jun 15, 2007
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that doesn't look washed enough. that's definitely yeast, and then trub.

this is the guide I learned to wash from:

I'm not sure your technique for 'rinsing' the fermenter was right. I'll put 1-2 quarts of water into the primary, swirl it to get all the yeast broken up since the cake is pretty sludgy. Then I immediately pour all the liquid into a growler, leaving the big trub behind.

I let that chill 20-30 minutes, then decant that liquid off into smaller vessels. So far I haven't had to wash beyond that, though after a day in cold storage, I'll pour off most of the liquid, and replace it with more sterile water.