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SgtPhil

Seeking random thoughts about yeast cultivation

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For you guys that have played around with yeast cultures, I wanted to get your take on this.

 

I've been pipe-lining the XMas ale that MB has had on sale now for a while.

 

First batch, I used the T58 yeast that comes with the recipe kit.  For the second batch, all I did was used a soup ladle and filled up a "Kerr" jar with the trub, and poured it into my next batch.  Now that I am on batch four, using this technique, there is almost no trub.  It's like the yeast is smarter at what it does and produces less waste.

 

Now before you ask, no I do not do gravity delta measurements.  I fermented at recommended temperatures (on the warm side actually).  I always got high krausen within 24 hours.  And none of my bottles have blown up and the fermented wort contains lots of fresh ethanol.  

 

It just seems to me that the yeast gets better at what it does from generation to generation.

 

Your thoughts?

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How much of the packet did you use for your first batch?

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I have read about "yeast washing" but have never tried it. It sure would make brews a little cheaper, not having to spend $4 on a packet of (non-Mr. Beer) yeast.

 

Maybe I'll experiment with trying to wash this US-05 I used in my latest brew.

 

Hmm...

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How much of the packet did you use for your first batch?

 

The entire packet was used in the first batch <I say sheepishly thinking that may have been too much>

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I have read about "yeast washing" but have never tried it. It sure would make brews a little cheaper, not having to spend $4 on a packet of (non-Mr. Beer) yeast.

 

Maybe I'll experiment with trying to wash this US-05 I used in my latest brew.

 

Hmm...

 

In this case, I got the idea from "Brewer", I think, from another forum post about yeast washing.  All I do is scoop out the trub into a sanitized jar.  Then I properly clean and sanitize the LBK and fill again with a fresh batch of wort, and then pour the trub into the LBK.

 

It's not terribly fancy, but I usually have limited time, and I enjoy making beer.  That's why I switched to the MB system.

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The entire packet was used in the first batch <I say sheepishly thinking that may have been too much>

So a lot of the trub from the first batch was probably dead loss or autolysis due to over pitching.

Your trub will probably continue to scale downwards until your yeast is actually stressed. 

 

Without gravity readings, there is no way to check your efficiency.

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I've learned how to wash yeast, and it is a skill I use once a year just to keep my hand in.(gets me a couple free , yeast-wise, batches)  However it's way more work than I want to put into the hobby on a regular basis. IMHO like driving a "stick", I think this is a skill every one should at least read up on to do.  Even if the world goes to hell in a hand basket, he who knows how to make beer, has a marketable skill.

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So a lot of the trub from the first batch was probably dead loss or autolysis due to over pitching.

Your trub will probably continue to scale downwards until your yeast is actually stressed. 

 

Without gravity readings, there is no way to check your efficiency.

 

I was thinking that the yeast would reproduce and continue to thrive as living organisms until it exceeds the resources of it's environment.  By grabbing a sampling each time and dumping it into a new, near perfect environment, I was assuming the next generations of the yeast were reproducing and becoming stronger.  Is dry yeast 'manufactured' in such a way that it inhibits the natural reproduction?  I really do not know ... I suppose google does know.

 

Jim, amen, I completely understand the hobby thing.  I have buddies that regularly make 30 gallon, all grain batches - that seems more like work rather than fun .... but they are making beer, so that's always a good thing.

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From my understanding, your theory isn't correct.  You cannot continue to use the same yeast over and over.  Has nothing to do with dry vs. liquid yeast.  Also, there are proper methods for harvesting yeast, and just dumping the container into your next LBK is not one of them - although some just leave it in the LBK and do that.  "Washing yeast" is not what you are doing.

 

I'd suggest that you spend some time reading about different methodologies.  To me, if I ruin a batch of beer but saved $3.99, that isn't worth the risk.  

 

Here's one source - http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/p/yeast-in-your-beer.html  - scroll down for the ten steps he uses which includes making a starter for the next batch.

 

Joe Chianti, who is here sometimes, came up with a method of his own, which he called Lazy Yeast Harvesting or something similar.  

 

So I started putting some boiled and cooled water onto the yeastcake, swirling it and putting it back into a jar. Then I just let it cool and separate for just a few hours, mostly in the fridge, while I brew up the next batch. When I’m done, I scoop a small sanitized ladle into the middle layer and put a few scoops of that onto the new wort, in a newly sanitized LBK. I’ve been getting quick, smooth krausen, excellent attenuation, and overall fine results. Right now, I’m on my 9th consecutive batch from one dry packet of yeast

 

At a later point, he posted he was on the 14th batch.  He also noted that he threw in a pinch of yeast nutrient and a pinch of yeast energizer in each batch.  

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I use the lazy yeast harvesting method Rickbeer described any time I make a beer with a liquid yeast vial or smack pack (those things are spendy), I have four different yeast strains in the fridge right now. If the milky top layer of yeast in the jar is really thin I will make a starter on my homemade stir plate.

 

I've also pitched directly onto a "yeast cake" that I removed a couple of scoops out of in order not to overpitch. It worked out well although it still overflowed the LBK (however that is more likely attributable to the very high OG of that particular batch).

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RickBeer - thanks for the link, that was a good one.  I found this interesting:

 

 The interesting thing understand about rehydrating dry yeast is that the cells are very fragile and they lack the ability to block sugars or toxic material that will damage their cells from passing through the cell. Only until the cell walls have been properly rehydrated with water can they can regulate what passes through to the inner cell. This is one of the main reasons for rehydrating dry yeast with water or very diluted wort. Rehydrating dry yeast in water that is below 105F will cause the cells begin to leach their insides damaging the cells and reducing the recovery rate of viable cells.

 

First, let me just say - CURSE YOU MrBeer!  I want this as a hobby - now I'm taking the cultivation of yeast seriously!  :lol:

 

This whole thing started when, on my second batch of XMas Ale, I was a klutz and lost the yeast.  I remember one of the members here talking about what I basic did - a Hobo means of yeast washing.  Then the third batch, MB send me a pre-opened yeast package (which they graciously replaced).  Now, I am on batch 4.  High Krausen was so fast and powerful at 72 degrees (wort temp), that the LBK took a poop.

 

All batches of beer are good.

 

Following the yeast washing steps described in that link, basically what I am not doing is storing the yeast in a fridge, I'm using it right away.  And I'm not watering down / rinsing away the old beer and siphoning the settled yeast cake from the bottom after a cold crashing.

 

either way ... it is kind of fun to experiment, but RickBeer is correct, 4 dollars isn't worth the risk of creating a contaminated batch of beer.

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I use dry yeast exclusively.  For my batches, I pitch at around 60 - 64.  I tried rehydrating, saw no difference, so stopped.  

 

I did just rehydrate yeast for my Oktoberfest lager, because I know lagers need twice the yeast that ales do (which I provided, but figured rehydration would help too).

 

I try not to understand the science behind beer.  It doesn't interest me - my goal is to make great beer that I and my family and friends enjoy drinking.  $3.99 in yeast over a 5 gallon batch, assuming 50 bottles, is $.08 a bottle.  My average 12 pack cost since I started brewing is $6.72, as compared to buying a 12 pack for $10.99 or more.  Subtracting another $.96 a 12 pack would be nice but not worth the effort to me.

 

I have taking other steps to save costs as I've developed including:

 

- buying bulk bottle caps (2,000) on ebay for 1.5 cents each when my LHBS raised their prices to 3.125 cents per cap (and frequently were short a few)

- buying Star San from another supplier for $15.99 when my LHBS wouldn't drop his price from $23.99

- buying a year's worth of yeast from another supplier for $3.35 - $3.68 per packet (including shipping) because my LHBS was charging $3.99 and up (and I could spread the shipping out over a hop order also.

- buying a year or more of hops from another supplier for $.89 - $1.41 per ounce (including shipping) vs. my LHBS charging $1.99 - $2.99 per ounce.  Hopefully I will use all of it before it loses potency  :lol:

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I have no direct scientific data on this but I suspect that harvesting yeast over "many" generations (say 4 or 5) is likely to a) introduce greater numbers of wild yeasts that were already in the original batch but were too few to make any discernible impact but now their colony is large enough to make noticeable difference in the flavor profile of your beer and  introduce increasingly large numbers of yeast cells with genetic modifications and errors. I make my own yoghurt but I hesitate to harvest the bacteria after 4 batches or so... But all that is simply to say that I have no idea how the various labs work to ensure that the strains of yeast they cultivate are more like clones of previous batches than the descendants of the original cells

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The recommended usage of dry yeast is 1 time.  During the drying process, randoms can get into the solution.  This will cause inconsistent brews over many uses.

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RickBeer - thanks for the link, that was a good one.  I found this interesting:

 

 The interesting thing understand about rehydrating dry yeast is that the cells are very fragile and they lack the ability to block sugars or toxic material that will damage their cells from passing through the cell. Only until the cell walls have been properly rehydrated with water can they can regulate what passes through to the inner cell. This is one of the main reasons for rehydrating dry yeast with water or very diluted wort. Rehydrating dry yeast in water that is below 105F will cause the cells begin to leach their insides damaging the cells and reducing the recovery rate of viable cells.

 

First, let me just say - CURSE YOU MrBeer!  I want this as a hobby - now I'm taking the cultivation of yeast seriously!  :lol:

 

This whole thing started when, on my second batch of XMas Ale, I was a klutz and lost the yeast.  I remember one of the members here talking about what I basic did - a Hobo means of yeast washing.  Then the third batch, MB send me a pre-opened yeast package (which they graciously replaced).  Now, I am on batch 4.  High Krausen was so fast and powerful at 72 degrees (wort temp), that the LBK took a poop.

 

All batches of beer are good.

 

Following the yeast washing steps described in that link, basically what I am not doing is storing the yeast in a fridge, I'm using it right away.  And I'm not watering down / rinsing away the old beer and siphoning the settled yeast cake from the bottom after a cold crashing.

 

either way ... it is kind of fun to experiment, but RickBeer is correct, 4 dollars isn't worth the risk of creating a contaminated batch of beer.

while all in all I agree, in the FWIW department, I have found some yeasts that prefer lower rehydration temps. It would be worth the time to check on your particular yeasts preferred range.

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OK, experimenting with washing some yeast. I bottled my Blonde on Tuesday night, and after I effectively got all the beer off of the cake on the LBK, I dumped about 2 cups of water I had boiled in a Mason jar into the LBK, swirled it around, and poured out everything into the Mason jar.

 

DAX1hzh.jpg

 

Wp4flvQ.jpg

 

Now what? This is after two days in the fridge, & I don't see three distinct layers. Where's the yeast???

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all you did was transfer the whole lot.. trub... hop dust.. and yeast from your fermenter to a mason jar. then you stuck it in a fridge and presto... everything settled and compacted just like it was in the fermenter. you didn't really wash it.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPYUFJ4bPD4

 

boil water... sanitize jars. cool stuff down.  add water to fermenter and swirl. pour into jar... let set for about 15-20 minutes.  THEN you start to see layers forming. hop crud and trub sink to bottom. then a layer of yeast in suspension. then beer/water .

 

take this and pour off the some of the beer/water layer.  carefully pour middle layer into another jar leaving the bottom cruddy layer behind. let this jar set.

 

you should notice that there is a smaller layer of cruddy bottom. you can repeat a few times if you want or at this point just stick it in the fridge.   then you will have mostly yeast .. which incidently will look just like your pic.

.

what you have done is merely put the yeast cake / slurry into a jar.  now you can pitch it into another beer but you have to be careful of flavor transfers I think... ive only washed yeast a couple times but there are many here who can help you more.

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Yeah, I figured I was missing some step(s) with this.

 

The one good thing is, I am going from light to dark - I brewed a Blonde with this Notty, last, tonight it is going to an Oktoberbeast Ale, and I will use the remainder of what I have now, plus the other half of the dried-yeast packet, in a RIS recipe I will brew right after this.

 

Again, this is all an experiment that I could afford to mess up on.

 

 ;)

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http://homebrewacademy.com/yeast-washing

 

this is a good one.

 

 

I bet if you took that jar and swirled the heck out of it to mix everything back up... then set it on your counter top for 20 minutes you would see layers and could proceed from there.

 

Yeah, I kinda did that, but the trub-layer is so loose, there is no way I couldn't get a significant amount of it in the brew now. I am just not going to worry about it this time, and dump half of what's in the jar now (I poured off most of the wort) into the LBK for the Okto-brew tonight.

 

Matter of fact, time to go get this sucker chilled to pitching temps!

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experiments are fun.. and you can drink your mistakes.  I call it 'research'.. a word my wife has come to hate from me because I 'research ' the hell out of everything before I actually act on something... like buying a major appliance. im finally convinced that the Betamax video tape machine is the wave of the future and truly worth the money!

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my first go at it looked exactly like yours. in fact I think I did the same thing. I didn't have the stones to try brewing a batch with it so it got released back into nature with honors.. (dumped into the backyard with thanks for the yeasts service).   my next attempt I reused a wlp witbier yeast.. washed it real purty like... got almost half a wlp tube of solid yeast cells.. and man did that sucker go nuts in the starter!   I did a 1 liter starter in a 2liter flask and in no time it was vomiting over the top.  happy happy yeast!

 

good luck... have fun.

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Thanks! I was trying to "refine" the yeast further, and ended up dropping the jar & spilling about half of the clear(er) liquid. So, I just dumped all of what was left back onto the trub-layer, let it sit while the freshly-brewed wort was cooling, and pitched all of the loose liquid into my cooled wort.

 

We will see what, if anything, happens! If nothing, I still have half a pack of Notty that I can hydrate & pitch.

 

 :)

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Joe was on 14 times and counting.

 

Update:  Been derailed by life for awhile.  Just came back and found this thread.  Ended up after 18 batches, all successful, just plain getting bored and wanting to start another yeast variety.  I don't brew often enough to keep more than two yeast varieties going, so I keep one harvested yeast going for lighter brews and one for darker brews, and I rotate every other batch.  I would have really liked to see just how far that first one would have gone, but like I say, I just got bored and wanted to try another one.  That one was from a 5 gm packet of Coopers/Mr Beer yeast that comes with an HME.  I think I replaced it with a Fermentis Safe-ale T-58 a few batches back.  That's for my darker brews, and I have an ongoing harvest from Fermentis S-33 for the lighter brews.  No special reason for choosing which one was used for light or dark- it was just what was handy at the time.  I usually bottle and brew on the same day, harvesting the yeast from the batch that's getting bottled, putting it aside in fridge, and pulling the previous harvest out of fridge to use on the new batch.  Works like a charm for me, but I realize that there's more than one way to skin a cat.  Each person will customize the process to fit their own schedule and such.  They're all just variations of the classic yeast harvesting method. Some shortcuts and alterations work out just fine, and some just don't.  We all find what works for us.

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Welcome back, Joe!  Good to see your bright smiling face around here again!

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Welcome back, Joe!  Good to see your bright smiling face around here again!

???

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Update: pitched my barely-washed yeast last night, nothing going on this morning, but tonight I have about 1" of krausen covering the wort.

 

It worked! YAY!!!

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yeast.jpg

 

After boiling/cooling water, I pour it into the fermenter, mix things, then pour into a large sanitized jar.  Note in the pic above that there are three distinct layers (this is a few hours after harvesting)...  The top is the remaining beer and water, the bottom is the trub materials you don't want...  hop particles/proteins/dead yeast.  That middle section is the goods...  That's the yeasties.  You'll note on the bottom jar that the white layer is starting to settle a bit on top of the trub layer.  I tend to pour off a few times into smaller sanitized jars, leaving trub behind each time.  Here's one that's pretty much devoid of the bad stuff.  Note the creamy white goodness left at the bottom:

 

18773898354_d645648d0c_z_d.jpg

 

Then, when it's time to use, I usually make a starter to build the yeast count up, and also to make sure it's still viable (esp after multiple reuses).

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Oh, and here's my yeast starter from this morning...  I generally use 1/2c of DME with 2c water.  This is the yeast from my kolsch that I'll be dropping into an alt tomorrow or Monday.  I don't have a stir plate, so I generally give it a swirl every so often until it's complete.

 

19411390885_2383f7f746_z_d.jpg

 

And... within four hours...

 

19418290955_8c4a6fb46a_z_d.jpg

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