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esheppy

Best Washing / Harvesting how-to I've seen

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BillyBrew.com has an article called Washing Yeast.

Here is the url: http://billybrew.com/yeast-washing

He put together a nice video. It is almost exactly the same process that I use. This certainly would have been useful when I was figuring it out.


:cheers:

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Awesome link. Thanks esheppy. The process seems simple but the whole thing can be overwhelming without one definitive resource to check back on. I'll have to give it a try.

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Love Billy Brew! I have watched several of his vids and read quite a bit on his site :)

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Next batch gets washed...this just looks too easy the way he explained it. Thanks for the link and post.

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Billy is my favorite beer blogger.

His blog is interesting and informative. He updates it regularly (unlike lots of bloggers).

He's in my Blogs I Read section on my blog, so I always know when he posts something new.

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yankeedag wrote:

now if I can only remember....

if only you can remember what?

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EXCELLENT! Thanks Esheppy!

I would like to add that there is a benefit that comes from secondary yest harvest.

Though less flocculent this yeast has a higher alcohol tolerence, so if you wnat to make a BIG beer, harvest some yeast from a Big beer secondary. I have a harvested strain that will tolerate well over 10% and attenuate over 85%. It took a couple generations to get there but it ROCKS a BIG beer.

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This is pretty much the same procedure as Screwy's Yeast Harvesting article. I read it a few months ago, thought "that's it?" to myself and now harvest every yeast I use, even S-04 and US-05. After 4 generations x 6, that's a HUGE savings in yeast.

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BugLaden wrote:

This is pretty much the same procedure as Screwy's Yeast Harvesting article. I read it a few months ago, thought "that's it?" to myself and now harvest every yeast I use, even S-04 and US-05. After 4 generations x 6, that's a HUGE savings in yeast.

Yes, Screwy's blog is what I have been pointing people to. It has been awhile since I looked at it myself, though. I forgot he mentioned me for helping him out with that. That was nice.

Billy's video just makes the process clearer and easier to understand than I think any of the on-line articles do. I guess when I was first doing it, I couldn't quite believe it was as simple as I was reading.

:chug:

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Hey BugLaden ... this is the first time I've looked at your Brewers of the Month Master List. Very cool.

:cheers:

I especially am fond of BOM #10.

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My question is: He says he uses 1 of those pint sized jars to make a starter for his next batch. How does he know how many yeast cells he has in there? Like with BS2, it says you need XXX amount of cells with an XXX big starter for the brew you are brewing. Or it is just assumed (possibly correctly) that each one of those jars will hold more than what a smack pack would originally?

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Yeah, there's no way of knowing. I do know empirically that I'm getting some crazy attenuation in my batches using a starter of this harvested yeast.

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BugLaden wrote:

Yeah, there's no way of knowing. I do know empirically that I'm getting some crazy attenuation in my batches using a starter of this harvested yeast.


That's my issue... who knows, ya know? Just makes me worry that I would end up pitching too little and screwing up the entire batch.

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I think a starter allowed to ferment at least 24 hours prior to brew day, and is demonstrating that the yeast cells are viable on brew day by showing sufficient evidence (bubbling, krausen, trub cake), would ensure that there is more than an ample amount of yeast cells needed.

I mean, the purpose of a starter is to create a huge amount of yeast cells prior to pitching, correct?

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BugLaden wrote:

I think a starter allowed to ferment at least 24 hours prior to brew day, and is demonstrating that the yeast cells are viable on brew day by showing sufficient evidence (bubbling, krausen, trub cake), would ensure that there is more than an ample amount of yeast cells needed.

I mean, the purpose of a starter is to create a huge amount of yeast cells prior to pitching, correct?


Yes, but my thought is that if you dont start off with enough, then you wont end up with enough. Math is math, ya know? I cant add 2+2 and expect it to ever come out as 10.

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BugLaden wrote:

THIS reply looks interesting and on topic.


Ok, so what I got from that is that it's not the amount of yeast you start with really, its the amount you want to end up with.

"The max concentration of yeast achieved is bound by the gravity of the wort, amount of available oxygen, and amount of available nutrients such as free nitrogen, zinc, or amino acids."

So knowing that "1L starter of 1.040 wort will give 100 - 150 billion cells" is the biggest thing, really. So if we need 325B cells, we best be doing a 3-3.5L starter with the correct amount of DME to get a 1.040 wort.

Yeah?

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kedogn wrote:

BugLaden wrote:

THIS reply looks interesting and on topic.


Ok, so what I got from that is that it's not the amount of yeast you start with really, its the amount you want to end up with.

"The max concentration of yeast achieved is bound by the gravity of the wort, amount of available oxygen, and amount of available nutrients such as free nitrogen, zinc, or amino acids."

So knowing that "1L starter of 1.040 wort will give 100 - 150 billion cells" is the biggest thing, really. So if we need 325B cells, we best be doing a 3-3.5L starter with the correct amount of DME to get a 1.040 wort.

Yeah?

The available nutrients such as nitrogen, zing and amino acids is why I like to use yeast nutrient/yeast energizer.

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kedogn wrote:

BugLaden wrote:

THIS reply looks interesting and on topic.


Ok, so what I got from that is that it's not the amount of yeast you start with really, its the amount you want to end up with.

"The max concentration of yeast achieved is bound by the gravity of the wort, amount of available oxygen, and amount of available nutrients such as free nitrogen, zinc, or amino acids."

So knowing that "1L starter of 1.040 wort will give 100 - 150 billion cells" is the biggest thing, really. So if we need 325B cells, we best be doing a 3-3.5L starter with the correct amount of DME to get a 1.040 wort.

Yeah?

I think it depends on HOW you are making your starter.
Using Jamil's tool @ MrMalty shows that you can generate 320B cells with two vials and a 2.3L starter. (Smaller if you have a stir plate).

That's assuming that you start with a vial and not from a harvested amount, though.

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Wouldn't the amount also depend on the strain. Say you washed the yeast from a beer that was initially 1.060 instead of the 1.040. Using a starter from the 1.060 batch would generate more cells than the beer with the OG of 1.040.

I would also assume that the harvested amount of yeast is probably more than what you would get from a store bought amount.

Now you could also split up the washed yeast into less jars as well, making sure that you start the starter with more yeast cells.

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Kealia wrote:

I think it depends on HOW you are making your starter.
Using Jamil's tool @ MrMalty shows that you can generate 320B cells with two vials and a 2.3L starter. (Smaller if you have a stir plate).

That's assuming that you start with a vial and not from a harvested amount, though.


See, this is where I get lost (and that dont happen to me often honestly, but this gets me for some reason... it's probably the math and I hate math!) Anyway, you can get 320B from 2 vials (lets say that it was produced July 5, 2011, that's already 182B [100billion x 91% viability]), so with a 2.3L starter you only get another 138B yeast cells? However, apparently that is correct. I just did the work up on my 1.096 IIPA and according to both BS2 and Mr. Malty, I would need 2 smack packs of 1056 Wyeast, PLUS an almost 4 qt starter to get where I need to be.

I guess when starting fresh I can understand that math (100B x viability %) but when using harvested yeast, you dont have that starting number and thus it becomes an X and that takes us into Algebra and seriously?!? Again, I hate math! ;)

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D Rabbit wrote:

I would also assume that the harvested amount of yeast is probably more than what you would get from a store bought amount.

Now you could also split up the washed yeast into less jars as well, making sure that you start the starter with more yeast cells.


"Assume" and I think that's what is being done here, assuming it is more.

As for less jars, yes. However, most everything I have seen shows from 4-6 pints that its broken down into.

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Yeah, I get your point. The amount of yeast in the jars isn't a known value so you seem to always have that X in the equation.

The way that I look at it is:
By sight, I have more yeast in my harvested pint jars than in a single vial but the viability isn't as good as a fresh vial so I lose some amount there. I consider this a "push" and treat it like a single vial.

I'm due some extra $$ here soon and I think I'm going to invest in a stir plate and flask. I've been doing starters in a growler with the "walk by and shake it" method and getting good results but if I use a starter I think I can max out the quantity of yeast that I can get from the starter - ensuring enough cells.

For the purposes of what we're talking about, I *think* that since there seems to be a finite amount of yeast that will get produced in a set amount of wort at a specific gravity (say 1L @ 1.040) that the amount you start with isn't as big a factor.

Now why do I feel like I just talked in circles.

DAMN IT! NOBODY SAID THERE WOULD BE MATH. I'M HERE FOR THE BEER! :S

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Kealia wrote:

DAMN IT! NOBODY SAID THERE WOULD BE MATH. I'M HERE FOR THE BEER! :S


LOL.. I'll buy you one next month for making you do math lol :)

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The walk and shake will work if you give your starter 24 hours to be viable.

Using a stir plate assumes you create your starter only a few hours in advance.

I would think the two methods in the end would produce the same number of viable cells. I just like time being on my side.

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Doing it right now. Just got the beer off the yeast and the boiled water is in the fridge. Making a DME/Steeped grains batch in the meantime to kill time waiting for the water to cool.

First time, so I know it won't go smooth. But why not. Liquid Yeast is expensive and if I can get some more uses out of the one already purchased then Yeah for me.

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Well I am done and it was really easy. The trub basically stays at the bottom and you really have to be either impatient or heavy handed to get any in your mason jars. Hopefully I did it right to where it works, but that won't be until the next batch.

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One thing I did different was used half-pint jars instead of pints (couldn't find them and I brew 2.4 gallons anyways). My jars look just like the ones in the video after a couple of days. This was so easy and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is using some expensive yeast. Now the $8 I spent has left me with (4) mason jars full of the same $8 yeast. Of course probably not as much of it, but I will pitch it in a low gravity batch first to see the results.

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ronnydobbs wrote:

One thing I did different was used half-pint jars instead of pints (couldn't find them and I brew 2.4 gallons anyways). My jars look just like the ones in the video after a couple of days. This was so easy and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is using some expensive yeast. Now the $8 I spent has left me with (4) mason jars full of the same $8 yeast. Of course probably not as much of it, but I will pitch it in a low gravity batch first to see the results.

Just make sure you do an appropriate starter, and you will be good.

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ronnydobbs wrote:

One thing I did different was used half-pint jars instead of pints (couldn't find them and I brew 2.4 gallons anyways). My jars look just like the ones in the video after a couple of days. This was so easy and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is using some expensive yeast. Now the $8 I spent has left me with (4) mason jars full of the same $8 yeast. Of course probably not as much of it, but I will pitch it in a low gravity batch first to see the results.

A pictumentory would be great for the first time you use your washed yeast. Do it for starter, than pitching yeast, than for primary fermentation. :) just a thought.

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D Rabbit wrote:

ronnydobbs wrote:

One thing I did different was used half-pint jars instead of pints (couldn't find them and I brew 2.4 gallons anyways). My jars look just like the ones in the video after a couple of days. This was so easy and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that is using some expensive yeast. Now the $8 I spent has left me with (4) mason jars full of the same $8 yeast. Of course probably not as much of it, but I will pitch it in a low gravity batch first to see the results.

A pictumentory would be great for the first time you use your washed yeast. Do it for starter, than pitching yeast, than for primary fermentation. :) just a thought.

Will do. I plan on using it in one of my next batches (the other will be the Dubbel Seasonal :banana: ) so I will take some pictures. The yeast I used to harvest was Wyeast 1332 which is suppose to be good for a lot of American style beers so it shouldn't be too hard to come up with a recipe.

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Now doing a yeast wash on US-05, my bill is LHBS bill is going to be pretty cheap from now on.

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Definitely learning how to do this over the next week or so. My latest recipe used a Red Ale yeast. $8.00 for the smack pack!! Otherwise the batch cost me $19.00. Cheaper once I use this yeast a few more times!

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Like Ronny, I use half-pint mason jars. The lower shelves of my beer fridge are full of little jars of yeast.

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The things I buy for the sake of brewing better beer!!

Bought a gallon jar of Vlasic Pickles today. They have about a week to live before I toss them so I can use the jar to wash my yeast. Surprising fact is that the jar of pickles only cost me $3.75!! That is cheaper than the jar would have cost me by itself!

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Yea, figured a soak in oxyclean free will remove the pickle smell.

How did you get rid of the smell?

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Yes but most of them are way too small, unless your using it to store the yeast. My grandmother in law does a lot of canning so she has a ton of the pint size mason jars. I figured with this batch I will get 2-3 jars, which is plenty by my standards of brewing.

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Luckily I have a 1 Gallon growler from the Local Brewery that I use since 1 Gallon of beer goes flat quick and I usually have them fill the 32oz. ones.

Good Luck D Rabbit!! You will be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner. But it is awesome when the first batch you do starts kicking from a previous batch's yeast. And not just the money part, but that you can actually do it.

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I used two different sized jars when washing my Stout yeast. The process was really easy to do but as it turned out I haven't brewed another batch of stout since and the jars have been in the refrigerator for aver 6 months now.

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D Rabbit wrote:

Yea, figured a soak in oxyclean free will remove the pickle smell.

How did you get rid of the smell?

If it's glass, I wouldn't think smell would be a problem. A normal wash should take care of it.

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Guest System Admin

Screwy Brewer wrote:

I used two different sized jars when washing my Stout yeast. The process was really easy to do but as it turned out I haven't brewed another batch of stout since and the jars have been in the refrigerator for aver 6 months now.

How long will your harvested yeast last in the fridge??

Won't it go bad/die at some point?

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Opinions vary. Mr Malty has tools to help figure it out, but it requires that you know how many ml of slurry you have.

I can say that I've used 6-month old harvested yeast in a 1L starter on multiple MrB size batches successfully.

That's part of the beauty of a yeast starter - it will tell you if the yeast is viable.

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tywinter wrote:

Screwy Brewer wrote:

I used two different sized jars when washing my Stout yeast. The process was really easy to do but as it turned out I haven't brewed another batch of stout since and the jars have been in the refrigerator for aver 6 months now.

How long will your harvested yeast last in the fridge??

Won't it go bad/die at some point?

I have heard that it is good up to a year. Personally, I would watch older yeast and have a packet of dry on hand just in case. Myself, I have been harvesting yeast that I know that I will use within a batch or so. I have no plans on harvesting the Mr. Beer Seasonal Dubbel yeast because I am most likely not to brew it within a year. Not to say that the Dubbel is not good, took a taste of it before bottling and it is fantastic, just not something I would brew regularly.

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started phase 1 of my first yeast washing session. Boiled 1 gallon of water and put it into the glass container to cool down. will bottled my irish red ale tomorrow and commence with washing the yeast.

Wanted to bump the thread for others that may have not seen it.

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Finally getting around to bottling and washing my yeast tonight. I"m bottling beer and washing yeast while SWMBO is getting dinner together. Fighting for counter space! :) Probably only going to do 2-3 pint size jars which I got from smaller jars of pickles!~ :)

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Got 4 pint sized jars out of it. Hoping it went well. Gonna order a stir plate and accessories friday so i can try it out with my next batch... :)

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Since I've been reading about, and witnessing lately, the increases in yeast prices I think more and more homebrewers will start trying this. It's really not all that hard to do technically and it's a great way to get to know your yeast better.


Yeast contributes so much to the final taste of our beer it's just amazing at how little is ever mentioned about it in all the recipes we've seen. Yeast was considered to be some magical ingredient to our ancestors brewing beer back then and in some ways it's still treated like that in many brewing circles.

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So...I tried to clean my yeast from a 5 gallon batch of Hefeweizan last night. It seemed very easy and I pulled a large amount, about 32 oz worth. (I assume it will seperate more over the next couple of days in the fridge)

I would like to use it on a Mr Beer size batch next. Should I split it in half/thirds or use it all?

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Here is what I washed out of the trub of my blonde that is fermenting. I racked it to a secondary today
photo-7-3.jpg

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Just turned my $8 ringwood yeast into $1.50 jars of ringwood yeast! If my sample from the transfer is any indication of how well its going to taste than i'm sure I'll be using these yeasts up pretty quick!

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Nice! I'm gonna brew a Northern English Mild today with some kind of liquid British yeast. Can't wait to re-use it to the point it becomes cheaper than 04!

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Is it just me?? I tried washing lager yeast and it just does not separate as well as hefe and ale yeasts have. Here are some pics from three batches I washed today.

Brown ale with Nottingham.
photo2-2-11.jpg

Red ale with Nottingham.
photo3-1-6.jpg

Blonde lager with Saflager S23.
photo4-4.jpg


All
photo1-1-11.jpg

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OK this will be the next step in my evolution the next time I go to bottle some beers (next week/weekend).

Now did I read somewhere that it is not worthwhile to harvest dry yeast because they are so cheap? If that is the only reason, I am gonna harvest not just for experience but also because every $4 I save is $4 I have and not someone else.

Any other basic tips? Get some bottles (not gonna eat pickles, you can't make me, I will pay for empty glass lol), I have some saran wrap 9and later tops for bottles). No stir plate/beaker etc yet. Do I need to have some DME handy for doing this? i do already, but just want to be sure how much, which variety etc...

Cheers
jeff

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Manowarfan1 wrote:

OK this will be the next step in my evolution the next time I go to bottle some beers (next week/weekend).

Now did I read somewhere that it is not worthwhile to harvest dry yeast because they are so cheap? If that is the only reason, I am gonna harvest not just for experience but also because every $4 I save is $4 I have and not someone else.

Any other basic tips? Get some bottles (not gonna eat pickles, you can't make me, I will pay for empty glass lol), I have some saran wrap 9and later tops for bottles). No stir plate/beaker etc yet. Do I need to have some DME handy for doing this? i do already, but just want to be sure how much, which variety etc...

Cheers
jeff


I haven't washed yeast yet, only read about it so maybe someone else with more experience will speak up. I don't think you'll need DME to washing the yeast. But you may need DME to make starters. I'm not sure how many viable yeast cells you get after washing the yeast so you may want to make a starter before pitching to ferment a new batch.

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Manowarfan1 wrote:

OK this will be the next step in my evolution the next time I go to bottle some beers (next week/weekend).

Now did I read somewhere that it is not worthwhile to harvest dry yeast because they are so cheap? If that is the only reason, I am gonna harvest not just for experience but also because every $4 I save is $4 I have and not someone else.

Any other basic tips? Get some bottles (not gonna eat pickles, you can't make me, I will pay for empty glass lol), I have some saran wrap 9and later tops for bottles). No stir plate/beaker etc yet. Do I need to have some DME handy for doing this? i do already, but just want to be sure how much, which variety etc...

Cheers
jeff

I've harvested dry yeast under special circumstances, but when you include the cost of the LME/DME, not to mention the time involved, I'm not sure it's cost effective.

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I have been doing dry yeast as well as the more costly liguids. Not sure what I am saving but kinda fun just to do it.

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bpgreen wrote:
I've harvested dry yeast under special circumstances, but when you include the cost of the LME/DME, not to mention the time involved, I'm not sure it's cost effective.

If you reuse the harvested yeast within a couple of months, a starter is not necessary. In that case, you don't need to any any LME/DME.

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OK I am going to have to look into which yeasts I have used on the 4 LBKs I have going now. I know one was a german liquid yeast on one of them, some may have just been 3x MrB Fromunda and maybe a US-05 or so. Maybe I can include trying to salvage yeast from one or more of these when it comes time to bottle.

Anyone have a process you use/timeline like :
Move to secondary - batch prime & bottle while leaving a bit of liquid on top of trub until time to harvest
OR
Move to secondary - let that sit while immediately harvesting yeast/trub?
Or does it matter either way as long as there is some liquid on the trub? Does top need to be back on LBK after racking or bottling?

Thanks muchly
jeff

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I always harvest immediately after bottling, basically once the beer is off the yeast cake, however you go about it.

As far as a starter goes, I have always used a 'starter', but would have no concerns skipping that with fresh yeast. When I do a starter, I'll just cool down some pre-boil wort and add it to the harvested yeast...even the 1+ hour time between then and pitching is sufficient for krausen to start forming.

I've also done a simple sugar water starter and it's worked just fine...thats all DME/LME is to yeast, anyway. And in all scenarios I've had fermentation start quickly.

Cheers!

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OK so if I was going to be reusing said yeast within1 week, or 1 month I would not need a starter? Just trying to figure out when they need some foodstuff.

Also - if you do it after bottling that is good, means I can get bottling out of the way and everything cleaned up - then try to scoop out some yeasty glop, then rinse out LBK and hit it with the oxy clean soak (which is what I do immediately after bottling, but seeing that yeast go down the drain always makes me a little sad).

I know that the temp wouldn't matter (ie, i dont have to throw LBK into a fridge before I can harvest) but do I need to get the top back on to protect if from baddies that are floating around in the air? makes sense that I should but I don't want to over look something like "when there is hardly any liquid in the keg you need to let this or that happen.

I will be bottling a batch tonight or tomorrow so I will check what yeast I used in that one and see if it is something to salvage. Might be good just for practice even if it is not a big time yeast - but I do have another bottling due Friday/this weekend so I may need to save resources for that one if it is a better yeast.

Cheers
jeff

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Yes, cover your LBK. You dont want a wild yeast to grab hold and get into your washed yeast. i just did my first washing Sunday and made my first starter (well my second but first with washed yeast) yesterday to pitch into a stuck fermentation batch tonight.

I would suggest a starter no matter what, from my readings and those who suggest it. A starter confirms that yeast is viable, and who wants to put yeast duds in a beer. Plus its super easy (as little as 1/2 cup DME and 2 cups water)

Sure, if you JUST washed it, I spose its reasonable to believe its good but it has been sitting at the bottom of your LBK for a week +

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OK so I bought the wrong size mason jars (quarts instead of pints) so I guess I will just make 2 quarts of goop this time.

Wish me luck :)
Cheers
jeff

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I have a small collection of washed yeasts now...
photo-8-3.jpg

None have failed to ferment yet. Just brewed a wheat last night with a yeast that was saved for 3 months. Seems to be working so far and only did a few hour starter with it.

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Manowarfan1 wrote:

Oh do the jars need to be filled to the top or allow some headspace?

I've watched videos that say you should but I dont know why.

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I fill them to the top with additional sanitized water. Less air means less chance for contamination.

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Fill them with the cooled water so you have no head space. You don't want oxygen in them.

tywinter - you really want to do at least a 24 starter with most washed yeast. Aside from proofing it to determine viability it allows for growth so you have adequate amounts to do the job. That doesn't typically happen in just a few hours.

On the other hand....if it's working for you.....

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OK well I have 2 quart jars in the fridge now - after pouring off the quickly settling trub. Apparently in a few days I may be able to decant further but may not need to until it is time to do a starter (next project).

May have to get a Starter Kit for that - or at least just a big old flask thing. I have lots of DME on hand to do the starter with so won't necessarily want to pay for it as part of a kit unless it actually makes it cheaper when purchased all together.

If all learning was as much fun as this I would have multiple degrees :)

Cheers
jeff

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While i want a flask and stir plate, im happy with just using a quart size jar and using the "swirl every now and then" method to make a starter.

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Well quart jars I have plenty of - since the only way I could buy canning jars yesterday on short notice was to buy a 12 pk of them :) Maybe I will do that for a while. There are so many gadgets I want to get. Going to have to be vigilant about shopping for sales, checking craigs list etc - and budgeting.

Cheers
jeff

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Used my first batch of harvested yeast yesterday. Used 2 pint jars worth of yeast and made a starter 24 hours in advance. In less than 24 hours my fermentation has taken off. Only problem I had with it is that I didn't account for the extra liquid from the starter in the fermenter so I have a little more volume in the fermenter than I wanted. Will have to account for the 1000ml starter next time.

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