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AnthonyC

Yeast Washing/Yeast Starter

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This past weekend I racked my Belgian Dubbel  to the secondary.  I used Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey for this, and as you know that stuff is pretty expensive.  I decided to try my hand at Yeast Washing and ended up with 6 small Bell Jars to work with.  I took one of them Sunday and did a yeast starter with it.  Wow that sucker really produced a lot of yeast!  I'm really psyched to try a small 2 gallon recipe with this stuff.  I was thinking about doing something close to the Belgian Blanc recipe. 

 

Mr. Beer Bavarian Wiessbier

1oz Hallertau Hops

2 Oranges zested and soaking in a cup of orange vodka

Wyeast 1214 (from wash/starter)

2lbs of Mr. Beer Golden LME

 

Do I use the all of the starter in the flask?  Usually I use this amount for a 5 gallon batch & I'm trying to avoid having a volcanic LBK?  I realize that this is going to turn out quite "orangey", but that's okay b/c I wanted something that my mother would like.  I'd like to add some grains to give it a more "Wheaty" flavor.  Any suggestions?  Clarity is not an issue.  Thanks in advance!  :) 

 

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Anthony,

 

The question of using all of the volume of the starter or just the yeast or even just a portion of the yeast depends on many factors. 

 

1.  Was the yeast you washed from a 5 gallon batch?

2.  How much yeast had settled into each of the jars?

3.  How big was the starter you made?

4.  How long did you allow the starter to grow?

 

When yeast is done fermenting it has grown by approximately 5 times the original volume.  So it would stand to reason that each of the jars you harvested would be equal to about 75% of the yeast you originally pitched.  When you make a 1 liter starter, the yeast can grow approximately 2.5 to 3 times.  So the amount of yeast in your starter is about double what you would have pitched into your original 5 gallon batch.  If you were pitching into another 5 gallon batch, that would be of no issue as it is hard to overpitch.  However, for an LBK sized batch, it would be at least 5 times the recommended amount of yeast and that can create problems.  It would definitely make beer but  would not have a growth phase so no ester production or flavor compounds would be created.  You would get a beer that possibly would have very little of the Belgian character that you are looking for.  

 

In my opinion, I would pitch one of the other jars of yeast into your LBK and then just save the yeast from the starter for a 5 gallon batch in the near future or even split it into 2 jars to use for starters later.  

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I think BDawg took care of your yeast question.

 

In terms of promoting more 'wheaty' flavor, I'd think that with the weissbier HME and 2lbs of Golden LME you're probably already there - even with the added hops and zest. My recommendation would be to keep the recipe as-is.

 

If you're bent on adding grains, you could mash a small amount (1/4 lb) of flaked wheat with some 2-row. 

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20 minutes ago, 209Hill said:

If you're bent on adding grains, you could mash a small amount (1/4 lb) of flaked wheat with some 2-row. 

Flaked wheat (or flaked barley or rolled oats) will add more mouthfeel than flavor, I think. You want wheat malt for yeast interaction and flavor production. You've already got that with the wheat (Golden) extract. 

And Anthony, I'm guessing that when you mention "washing", you're actually rinsing. Or did you go all the way and use chemicals (phosporic acid, is it?) to strip the yeast cells from the rest of the gunk? I've been rinsing and saving and I'll definitely do that with the White Labs Helles yeast I'm fermenting with right now. Lager yeasts prefer starters anyway and I want to keep this one going to use for subsequent brews. 

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3 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

Anthony,

 

The question of using all of the volume of the starter or just the yeast or even just a portion of the yeast depends on many factors. 

 

1.  Was the yeast you washed from a 5 gallon batch?

2.  How much yeast had settled into each of the jars?

3.  How big was the starter you made?

4.  How long did you allow the starter to grow?

 

When yeast is done fermenting it has grown by approximately 5 times the original volume.  So it would stand to reason that each of the jars you harvested would be equal to about 75% of the yeast you originally pitched.  When you make a 1 liter starter, the yeast can grow approximately 2.5 to 3 times.  So the amount of yeast in your starter is about double what you would have pitched into your original 5 gallon batch.  If you were pitching into another 5 gallon batch, that would be of no issue as it is hard to overpitch.  However, for an LBK sized batch, it would be at least 5 times the recommended amount of yeast and that can create problems.  It would definitely make beer but  would not have a growth phase so no ester production or flavor compounds would be created.  You would get a beer that possibly would have very little of the Belgian character that you are looking for.  

 

In my opinion, I would pitch one of the other jars of yeast into your LBK and then just save the yeast from the starter for a 5 gallon batch in the near future or even split it into 2 jars to use for starters later.  

Okay I'm going to try to get all this done before the next bell and my class comes crashing in...

 

1. Yes, the yeast was from a 5 gallon batch.,

2&3. The starter was 700mL.  I'm going to have to check how much yeast has settled as this point when I'm done with work.

4. The yeast has now been growing now for about 36hrs. 

 

I will follow your advice and use one of the other jars of yeast for the LBK, and use the starter for another batch.  Thanks for the advice!  Very much appreciated!!!  :)

 

 

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Well, I can't take full credit for the knowledge.  I just finished listening to 3 yeast podcast in a row on Brewing Radio.  They were pretty informative, especially since the person answering the questions was the president and founder of Wyeast. 

 

Some of that is however from my experience.  I always do a starter with my liquid yeast strains but I never wash my yeast.  What I do is a 1500ml starter and then I decant off 500ml into a jar to save for next time.  If I don't end up using it within 2 months, I will make a 750ml starter and then jar that up just to refresh my yeast.  I have had better luck with this method and I believe that I have healthier yeast because it hasn't gone through the stress of making a beer and dealing with the hops.  I have been told that hop oils will actually make it harder for the yeast to multiply.

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1 hour ago, J A said:

Flaked wheat (or flaked barley or rolled oats) will add more mouthfeel than flavor, I think. You want wheat malt for yeast interaction and flavor production. You've already got that with the wheat (Golden) extract. 

And Anthony, I'm guessing that when you mention "washing", you're actually rinsing. Or did you go all the way and use chemicals (phosporic acid, is it?) to strip the yeast cells from the rest of the gunk? I've been rinsing and saving and I'll definitely do that with the White Labs Helles yeast I'm fermenting with right now. Lager yeasts prefer starters anyway and I want to keep this one going to use for subsequent brews. 

Hmmm.... good question.  I have not haven't heard it called "rinsing" the yeast.  Everything I've seen has called it "washing".  Either way I do not use any chemicals in the process. 

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9 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

Everything I've seen has called it "washing".  Either way I do not use any chemicals in the process. 

Yeah...apparently the pros and serious brew nerds do a chemical wash that pulls the yeast away from the hop residue and leftover grain proteins, etc. Seems very mysterious to me and I'm happy just sloshing some water around in the bottom of the fermenter and pouring it into a jar, chillling and letting it settle out and pouring off as much water as I can. As long as it's going to a similar style beer or was harvested from a lightly-hopped brew, it's fine. And I guess, technically what we're using is called "slurry". 

Brew on, bro! :)

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33 minutes ago, J A said:

Yeah...apparently the pros and serious brew nerds do a chemical wash.....

Dude, most of y'all seem like brew nerds to me.

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6 minutes ago, Broox said:

Dude, most of y'all seem like brew nerds to me.

I definitely said "serious" brew nerds. :D

As in: they actually know what they're doing. :lol:

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1 minute ago, J A said:

I definitely said "serious" brew nerds. :D

As in: they actually know what they're doing. :lol:

Fair enough

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The Whispering Wheat recipe that I used the washed Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey in is bubbling away.  I was a little nervous at 1st b/c it was a slow starter.  I also want to try this in an IPA using some White Labs WLP001 California Ale that I'm using to ferment my Grapefruit IPA.  

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One thing I've noticed when pitching slurry/trub is that if you just pitch the slurry (warmed to room temp) it may be about average time to start, but it really, really goes when it does and seems to ferment sooner. If you give it a pinch of sugar to get things going and leave it for an hour or two before you pitch it, it'll start FAST and really go crazy. If you can pitch into relatively cool wort or really keep the ferment temps on the low side right away, that works great. If you're a little on the warm side with either pitch temp or initial fermentation temp, you can have a mess. 

 

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1 hour ago, J A said:

One thing I've noticed when pitching slurry/trub is that if you just pitch the slurry (warmed to room temp) it may be about average time to start, but it really, really goes when it does and seems to ferment sooner. If you give it a pinch of sugar to get things going and leave it for an hour or two before you pitch it, it'll start FAST and really go crazy. If you can pitch into relatively cool wort or really keep the ferment temps on the low side right away, that works great. If you're a little on the warm side with either pitch temp or initial fermentation temp, you can have a mess. 

 

I pitched at 72° according to my new handy-dandy Cooper's thermometer.  The ambient air temp has been about 67° & the stick on thermometer on the LBK is reading 69°.  

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Used another jar of the washed Wyeast and although this one took nearly 48hrs to start, it's really taking off now.  I've already saved about $14 on yeast!

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I posted in the Whatcha Brewing Bottling thread that the Whispering Wheat recipe may become my favorite Mr. Beer recipe.  The sample that I tasted at bottling was delicious.  I just remembered that this was the 1st recipe that I did with the Wyeast 1214 Abbey Dubbel yeast that I reused.  I wonder how much that had to do with the taste of the beer?

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I tried to wash some yeast once using a wash board and it didn't work at all, lost all the yeast into the suds and just gave. I wouldn't recommend trying this at all!

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This is not a complaint, but one thing that I did notice was that by recycling the yeast it made whatever recipe I used it in taste like what I used it for originally.  I originally used this yeast in my Abbey Dubbel, and then used it in a Belgian Blanc & the Whispering Wheat.  There is definitely a strong resemblance to the AD in both.

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I believe one of the guidelines in reusing yeast (I have never done it) is to go from light to dark for just that reason - the yeast does carry things from batch to batch.  I suspect that in your case you should have reversed the order - Whispering Wheat to Belgian Blanc and then Abbey Dubbel.

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1 hour ago, RickBeer said:

I believe one of the guidelines in reusing yeast (I have never done it) is to go from light to dark for just that reason - the yeast does carry things from batch to batch.  I suspect that in your case you should have reversed the order - Whispering Wheat to Belgian Blanc and then Abbey Dubbel.

Gotcha.  The reason it was done this way is b/c the Wyeast that I used came with the recipe that I got from NB.  The Whispering Wheat and the Belgian Blanc used the same yeast... from that original Dubbel... just split into 2 jars.  I honestly have no complaints.  The yeast gave it a very pleasant "wheaty" flavor. 

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3 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

This is not a complaint, but one thing that I did notice was that by recycling the yeast it made whatever recipe I used it in taste like what I used it for originally.  I originally used this yeast in my Abbey Dubbel, and then used it in a Belgian Blanc & the Whispering Wheat.  There is definitely a strong resemblance to the AD in both.

 

Like @RickBeer said, light to dark and/or sticking with the same style will give better results, but you can do a starter, too, and get cleaner beer. If you dilute the trub quite a bit and let it settle, the hops and break material (assuming AG or PM) will settle out a little quicker than the yeast. If you cool it down and let it pack into layers you can carefully pour off the water use a spoon or scoop to get a good quantity of fairly clean yeast off the hop sludge. Make a starter with that and you're in business. Not as clean as acid-washing, but a way to get back to a lighter beer after brewing a dark one. I've got to do something similar after I do the Dunkel and Dubbelbock batches I plan with my Helles yeast. That trub will be good and brown when I get done with that. B) 

 

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I know that it's okay to store yeast in the freezer if you aren't going to use it for awhile, but what if the washed yeast was to freeze in the mason jar it was stored in?  My fridge must've gone a little haywire and this was the result.

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1 hour ago, AnthonyC said:

I know that it's okay to store yeast in the freezer if you aren't going to use it for awhile, but what if the washed yeast was to freeze in the mason jar it was stored in?  My fridge must've gone a little haywire and this was the result.

While yeast can be stored in a freezer, it ain't easy to do and requires a lot more than just tossing it in there. Even dried yeast won't do well in a freezer as it still has some moisture in it

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8 minutes ago, Jim Johnson said:

While yeast can be stored in a freezer, it ain't easy to do and requires a lot more than just tossing it in there. Even dried yeast won't do well in a freezer as it still has some moisture in it

Yeah. I store opened half packets of dry yeast in my basement (with the full ones) after scotch taping up the top in 62-70 deg.. I never had one fail to ferment 2 gal brews even after several months. (I understand it is not recommended storage process but I guess I have been lucky?)

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Back to topic. I have been thinking about saving some of the WLP400 yeast trub from my Belgian Wit for another brew - since it was not cheap ( at least not as cheap as I am - lol).

 

I am guessing the best reuse it so save some of it and immediately pitch it into another LBK of wort. ALso I expect that it will need to be somewhat similarly flavored as the trub will carry some of the last batch flavoring materials with it.

 

Thoughts please?  How much should I save to pitch?

 

 

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Possibly, the price of a pack of yeast isn't enough to make me even take the chance. I typically use an 11.5g pack in an LBK.

 

 

I have kept washed yeast in my fridge for over a month

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23 minutes ago, Nickfixit said:

Back to topic. I have been thinking about saving some of the WLP400 yeast trub from my Belgian Wit for another brew - since it was not cheap ( at least not as cheap as I am - lol).

 

I am guessing the best reuse it so save some of it and immediately pitch it into another LBK of wort. ALso I expect that it will need to be somewhat similarly flavored as the trub will carry some of the last batch flavoring materials with it.

 

Thoughts please?  How much should I save to pitch?

 

 

I usually do a yeast starter before using it again, but I've heard that it isn't necessary.  

 

I saved just about all of it and end up with 4 small mason jars worth.

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22 minutes ago, Jim Johnson said:

Possibly, the price of a pack of yeast isn't enough to make me even take the chance. I typically use an 11.5g pack in an LBK.

 

 

I have kept washed yeast in my fridge for over a month

I used one that was 3mths old w/no issues.

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I've heard others who've kept it a long time.  I learned to wash my yeast out of curiosity. Spent so much time developing the skill I do it once a year just to keep the skill set. and as (before this LHB S gig) I brewed weekly it only lasted a month

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Not yet tried this - mainly because I don't use liquid yeast and so don't make a starter - but rather than wash a yeast a more simple method would be to create a starter and then remove say a few hundred ml of the starter (say 25 percent of the volume) and store that in the fridge then pitch the remaining 75 percent in the wort you are brewing. There is then no need to wash or scrub the yeast and no problem of producing a beer tainted with the flavors of an earlier brew. All you do is use that quantity as the basis for a second starter and repeat the harvesting process by setting aside 25 percent ..

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Oh well.

SWMBO has chosen.

Given the choice between jars of yeast in the fridge and spending money on new yeast each time, the choice is - keep that stuff out of the fridge!

 

It was interesting to know I could save and successfully reuse yeast,  but now I know I will be using good fresh yeast every brew  :).

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3 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

Oh well.

SWMBO has chosen.

Given the choice between jars of yeast in the fridge and spending money on new yeast each time, the choice is - keep that stuff out of the fridge!

 

It was interesting to know I could save and successfully reuse yeast,  but now I know I will be using good fresh yeast every brew  :).

Ouch!  I only reuse the expensive yeasts (White Labs, Wyeast).  I do feel your pain.  Mine has been side-glancing me ever since the mini fridge died and I put my yeast/hop supply in the main refrigerator.  

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8 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

Ouch!  I only reuse the expensive yeasts (White Labs, Wyeast).  I do feel your pain.  Mine has been side-glancing me ever since the mini fridge died and I put my yeast/hop supply in the main refrigerator.  

Yes these were of that kind. One had seen 4 generations though. But as long as I can get them locally by driving I do not mind too much, as I do not use that much, and SWMBO is OK with me spending that extra change rather than having the jars there.  She was cleaning out the fridge so I asked her. If you want new yeast every time you could ask too ;)

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9 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

Yes these were of that kind. One had seen 4 generations though. But as long as I can get them locally by driving I do not mind too much, as I do not use that much, and SWMBO is OK with me spending that extra change rather than having the jars there.  She was cleaning out the fridge so I asked her. If you want new yeast every time you could ask too ;)

I could ask, but already know what the answer will be.  At least once a month I get, "I don't understand why you keep buying stuff when you have all this right here?!"  ?

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4 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

I could ask, but already know what the answer will be.  At least once a month I get, "I don't understand why you keep buying stuff when you have all this right here?!"  ?

Then putting up with the yeast is the way. Can the funny looks, after being given the choice :o

 

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