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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2005 * Archive through March 07, 2005 * Save the Slurry! < Previous Next >

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Nathan Jordan
New Member
Username: Njordan

Post Number: 4
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 03:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have read from several sources that repitching yeast must be done within a few days of harvesting, that is, within a few days of primary fermentation completion. However, I have poured the yeast sediment from a secondary fermenter into a sterile glass gallon jug, saved it under beer for a month, then pitched it. The result was vigorous, complete fermentation and great tasting beer.

It seems to me this is nothing more than a giant version of a White Labs vial, which lasts 4 months from production to the expiration date. Why is it inadvisable to save yeast for more than a few days?
 

Doug Pescatore
Senior Member
Username: Doug_p

Post Number: 1187
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 03:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You are correct. Many of us do this....
 

Belly Buster Bob
Senior Member
Username: Canman

Post Number: 2158
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 03:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

never knew it was inadvisable...I think most brewers here do the same. Some for even longer
Bellybuster Bob
www.bellybuster.netfirms.com
 

Hophead
Senior Member
Username: Hophead

Post Number: 1212
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 03:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

MUCH longer...
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 2406
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 03:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can save the yeast (the primary yeast is preferable) and store it refrigerated under beer for at least several months. Sterile distilled water is generally believed to be an even better medium for longer term (up to a year or more) storage.

If the yeast is more than a couple of weeks old it's a very good idea to wake it up with some starter wort a couple of days before pitching. As always, the goal is to pitch a large population of healthy yeast into your aerated wort.
 

Ken Anderson
Advanced Member
Username: Ken75

Post Number: 720
Registered: 11-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 05:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I forgot to mention something relevant in the "More good stuff on pitching big" thread. The slurry I pitched was about 6 weeks old, stored under starter beer. It fermented like crazy but took about 24 hours to kick in.
Next brew, the starter will be fresher and more awake. It will be interesting to see if it kicks in any more quickly.
 

Busted Still Brewery
Advanced Member
Username: Brewlabs

Post Number: 708
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 05:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

no need to "wash" the yeast first?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 2412
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 05:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My considered opinion is that yeast washing is very largely unnecessary. I can think of a few instances where it might be advised, such as pitching the yeast from a stout into a very light, delicate beer.
 

Pete Mazurowski
Junior Member
Username: Pete_maz

Post Number: 51
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 05:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"You can save the yeast (the primary yeast is preferable) and store it refrigerated under beer for at least several months"

Can you clarify this, Bill or anyone else? Do you transfer yeast slurry to whatever container you're using, then put unfermented wort on top, or already fermented beer? I generally don't brew often enough to use a yeast cake from a previous batch, but I'd love to find a way to pitch larger amounts.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 2413
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 05:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Pete, you have the right idea. Cover the yeast slurry with beer (any beer), and store in a sanitized, covered container in the refrigerator. I use mason jars. The yeast can be reused within a couple of weeks as-is by merely pouring off the liquid before pitching. If it has been longer than that, use the yeast to make a starter.

I recommend covering the yeast with sterile (boiled and cooled) distilled water for longer term (up to a year or more) storage, but some people report success with beer. It needs to be fermented beer (again any beer) rather than unfermented wort.
 

Nathan Jordan
New Member
Username: Njordan

Post Number: 5
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 05:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Do you transfer yeast slurry to whatever container you're using, then put unfermented wort on top, or already fermented beer?"

If you pour the slurry from the bottom of the fermenter into a new container, it will stratify into a thick layer of yeast on the bottom and a layer of beer on top. Usually the beer layer is plenty thick so I've never had to add anything to it. Even if it looks like just yeast, if it is thin enough to pour out of the fermenter there is plenty of beer in there to form a protective layer on top (once refridgerated).
 

Pete Mazurowski
Junior Member
Username: Pete_maz

Post Number: 52
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dang, how come I didn't think of this earlier? I've only been brewing for 11 years, so I guess I still have a lot to learn!

Thanks Bill.
 

Marlon Lang
Intermediate Member
Username: Marlonlang

Post Number: 444
Registered: 03-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 12:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A comment on what Nathan said:
The layer of beer atop the yeast should be clear, without "floaties". If it is hazy or has "floaties", strongly suspect that it is contaminated.
 

David Spaedt
New Member
Username: Crockett

Post Number: 27
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 03:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Do you guys tightly seal the containers (mason jars) you save the slurry in?

I have tried this twice but in both cases the slurry became infected. I was afraid to tightly seal the containers because I was worried about pressure building up but I'm guessing this is why both slurries became infected.

Thanks
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 2420
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 03:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There's no need for a tight seal on the containers. They merely need to be covered to prevent molds or bacteria from falling into and contaminating them.
 

Aaron Meyer
Junior Member
Username: Meyeaard

Post Number: 97
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 04:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've reused the last yeast cake twice after it was initially pitched (3 batches) and just left it in the primary fermentation bucket between batches covered with beer for about 3-7 days before I could brew. Between batches I had the lid sealed and airlock attached.

The second brew on the cake is almost gone and the third and final is kegged and awaiting space in the kegerator.

Should I be expecting any nasties in my beer? So far it all smells and tastes fine...
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 2423
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 04:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

There is a limit to how many times you can repitch yeast, but it varies. If you practice reasonable sanitation there is no reason you shouldn't be able to repitch at least three or four times. After that, it's a matter of the properties (flocculation, attenuation, flavor profile, etc.) "drifting" over time. As I have mentioned on a number of occasions, a brewing supervisor at Anheuser-Busch told me they typically pitch their yeast 12 times before reculturing. However, a sample of the yeast is carefully examined in the lab each time and the yeast is discarded if anything seems amiss.
 

David Woods
Advanced Member
Username: Beericon

Post Number: 513
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 05:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just reuse the same White Labs tube that I used to make the starter. I rack the beer to secondary, take sanitized "old" tube and drag it across the bottom of the primary fermenter bucket. I then tighten the lid and rinse under the faucet. There is beer on top and there is about the same amount of yeast inside as when I bought the tube initially.

The vail is already labeled with what type of yeast and it fits right back into the door of my fridge.

Works great.

David
 

Busted Still Brewery
Advanced Member
Username: Brewlabs

Post Number: 721
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 03:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm def gonna start doing this...save my self the 6 bucks for yeast :-)
 

Busted Still Brewery
Advanced Member
Username: Brewlabs

Post Number: 722
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 03:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

my last batch had a tremendous amount of cold break when I transferred to the primary...will this affect the yeast if i save it for later use?
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 2433
Registered: 01-2002
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 03:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

BSB, most people believe that the break material helps provide yeast nutrients.
 

Vince Turley
Member
Username: Vince

Post Number: 118
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 04:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This past year I started harvesting yeast from the primary... after racking, I "swirl" the carboy (yeast/trub together), and pour through a sanitized funnel into a sanitized 22oz. brown beer bottle (about 2/3 full). Top off with pre-boiled distilled water, cap, label, and toss it in the back of the fridge. I can ususally get 2-3 of these per primary.
 

Andrew Bales
Member
Username: Bales

Post Number: 243
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Saturday, February 26, 2005 - 07:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dave - Get a mason jar stopper. Your LHBS should have a big mouth stopper. I got 2 samples in mason jars too, WLP001 at the moment. My samples from the primary usually take back off again and throw a little head. You did right with the leaving the jar lid lose, but you can tighten it 3 days later (?) and just check it often for a week. Stopper is better and less likely to explode.

If I have keep it 6 weeks, it needs a starter. Just add a 1/2g starter to the fresh carboy and dump in those previous dregs the night before brewing. Others here might have better ideas, but I figure I have to clean that carboy anyway.

Guess with everyone brewing Rye IPA its my turn next week..... Good job Denny, but then you really need another pat on the from another kiss ass .

(Message edited by Bales on February 26, 2005)

(Message edited by Bales on February 26, 2005)