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kierank

yeast harvesting

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I have been trying yeast harvesting for awhile with mixed success. I have been rinsing what was left in the F,V. with cooled boiled water and pouring it into a sterilized glass jar an letting it settle overnight in the fridge. there is a clear line where the liquid settles on top but i find it hard to see where the yeast settles and the trub starts and trying to pour off what i consider to be the yeast without getting too much trub is another issue, so I came up with an idea. Pour what is in the F.V. into a soft drink bottle, turned upside down with a valve in the neck of the bottle. That way I can drain the trub away, then bottle my yeast and drain the liquid away off the top. I now have 3 very distinctive layers. my problem is the bottom layer is a nice creamy colour, the one above that is darker and then the liquid. This yeast was harvested from a pale ale. Everything I have read or seen states that the dark layer is on the bottom then the yeast then the liquid. I would hate to bottle the trub for my next brew and throw away the yeast. Any suggestions? Kieran

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Hi kierank.

 

Methods offered up for yeast harvesting can be a little bit confusing as there are two distinct methods I've noticed most people use. When describing these methods the writer often leaves out the important part of what they are separating with their offered method. pinched

 

One method is primarily about separating beer from yeast, the other is primarily about separating yeast from trub.

 

The first method is done by chilling the beer over a number of days to force the yeast & trub to compact on the bottom of the vessel. Once compacted you pour of the the liquid above the compacted line to remove the beer only, leaving behind yeast & some trub.

 

The second method is done under ambient conditions & is suited to re-using yeast slurry from a previous brew. With this method you pour off your slurry into another vessel & allow to sit for roughly 15-20 mins to allow the trub to drop while the yeast remains in suspension. You then pour off the yeast in suspension into another vessel leaving beer & trub behind. This process can be repeated with cooled boiled water a number of times in the same space of time to further separate the yeast from the remaining trub & beer it is as a part of being from slurry until the brewer is satisfied. With this method you are aiming to catch most of the yeast while still in suspension to pour off, unlike method 1 where you are aiming to force the yeast out of suspension to compact on the bottom. wink

 

IMHO method 2 suits your situation kierank.

 

For a more concise run down of how to do method 2, see Wolfy's Yeast Rinsing procedure (with pics) over on AHB.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Lusty.

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Thanks for the info Lusty. had a look at the link you suggested which was great. I suppose what I have made is a makeshift separatory funnel. As I have it stored in the fridge while it settles out I am wondering if the yeast is settling at the bottom with the trub on top of that and then the beer/ water. it definetely looks that way. I suppose I could bottle both layers seperatly and make a yeast starter from both and that should resolve the issue. kieran

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Keep in mind, some of the stuff that isn't viable yeast, will be good yeast nutrient for the next batch so don't get too concerned about washing it perfectly:

 

From http://byo.com/color/item/2043-what-are-yeast-nutrients-and-how-are-they-used

In fact, the practice of re-pitching yeast from one batch to another usually carries some autolyzed yeast with it and yeast extract is a good source of vitamins, amino acids and fatty acids.

 

That is a great idea about the bottle. Like methode champenoise!

 

I like my Harvesting yeast for dumimies technique, thread on these forums about this.

 

 

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If you try my bottle method don't forget to drill a 12mm hole in the base of the bottle fit an o ring similar to that your air lock fits in, and something to plug it off. when you want to drain what you have in the bottle remove the plug otherwise it will create a vacuum and nothing will come out. the beauty of this is that if your bottle starts to get a bit cruddy just get another bottle

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Hi Kierank,

 

There is the sloppy slurry method too. With the sloppy slurry method you don't attempt to remove anything from the slurry. It is very simple. All you do is leave about a liter of beer in the bottom of your fermenter, swirl it to suspend all of the trub and yeast, and pour about 1/4-1/3 of the slurry into a sterilized jar, then store it in the fridge and use within a couple of weeks. When you go to use it, do not decant the beer off of the top. Just shake it to re-suspend the yeast and the trub in the beer and pour the whole thing in. This is the method I use and it works great. I find that if I use the slurry the next day, 1/4 of the yeast cake is fine for an ale of similar gravity. If I am not going to brew for a week, I will save 1/3 of the yeast cake instead.

 

I don't warm the slurry to room temp, I pitch it straight from the fridge.

 

Some people will throw fresh wort on the entire yeast cake of a previous brew, without cleaning the fermenter. This is the sloppy slurry method carried to the extreme and results in over-pitching if the second brew is around the same gravity as the first. If the second brew has a lot higher gravity, then that much yeast might be appropriate.

 

Cheers,

 

Christina.

 

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If you're gonna make yeast starters you might as well just harvest the yeast from those. It's a lot easier than faffing around with fermenter trub and funnels and whatever else. All you do is make the starter bigger than necessary and when it's fermented out, tip the excess into a jar and store it. No rinsing, no funnels, no extra jars... it's easy as, which is why I like it lol

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I like Christina's 'Sloppy Slurry' method, can't get much easier than that given that you've already got sanitizer all set up on bottling day!

 

On bottling day, I sodium percarbonate soak and then Starsan a 1 litre mason jar and lid along with my bottles. When either bottling, or transferring to a bottling cube, I leave a litre or so extra beer in the fermenter. When I'm done bottling, I swirl up the yeast cake for a couple of minutes until it is well mixed with the leftover beer and at an even consistency and fill my mason jar, then store in the fridge.

 

When I want to use this stored slurry, I pour most of the beer off the top, leaving a couple of cm above the yeast cake. I then swirl this up well for a couple of minutes until it is well mixed and pitch it directly into the next batch. I don't bother to let it warm up, it gets pitched at slightly above fridge temp.

 

I like this method because the yeast have fermented actual batches of beer which I find acclimatizes them. In my experience a given culture really begins to shine from about the third pitch on. This is a probably a bizarre statement, but after a few re-pitches the beer tastes to me almost as if it was fermented more confidently, with more clearly expressed flavours.

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sounds so simple I will have to give it a go. I might give my bottle experiment another go also. I'll follow your advise but instead of tipping the lot into a mason jar I might use my bottle and let it settle out for an hour or so so the trub can settle at the bottom and I can drain most of it away and then bottle it and store it. Am I making something so simple a little more difficult??? If you use the entire contents left over from your previous brew to start your next brew would you not be over pitching [ not that I fully understand what over pitching entails] Kieran

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Using the entire contents is over pitching, but seems to work from all reports. Never tried that myself, I use this method: https://club.coopers.com.au/coopers-forum/topic/12903/ which I have probably re-posted a dozen times.. But it works a treat I think.

 

My yeast lasts a good two months plus in the fridge with no starters required unless I buy a new liquid yeast.

 

I've just tried cryopreservation of my WLP800 and WLP029 as I will probably only want to use them next spring for lagers and Kolsch.

 

Used my aldi pressure cooker as a poor mans autoclave, to autoclave some small glass jam jars, maybe 150ml. Autoclaved the jar, with 15ml of food grade glycol (glycerine) in the bottom of the jars plus lid loosely screwed on top ( left loose to prevent explosion) so heated to about 118 deg C inside the cooker for ten mins or so.

 

Then after the pressure had been released, took out jars, tightened lid and stuck in the fridge to chill to yeast temp. It weighed a tad more after this due to some hydration inside the jar.

 

Then poured in about 85g of thick yeast slurry, swirled to stir and stuck in freezer inside beer coolers to slow down the freezing rate. (better to put them to sleep slowly I hear).

 

Not supposed to go any higher than about 15% glycol by weight. In theory you can store yeast for many years this way, but if you have a freezer with a defrost cycle, you need to protect the yeasties with some insulation. I happen to have a small bar freezer that has no defrost cycle that is half full of hops, so that's perfect for a yeast bank. Need a starter to wake them up and to prove viability. Will report on here how I go with reviving these, but may not be until next spring :-)

 

 

 

 

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sounds so simple I will have to give it a go. I might give my bottle experiment another go also. I'll follow your advise but instead of tipping the lot into a mason jar I might use my bottle and let it settle out for an hour or so so the trub can settle at the bottom and I can drain most of it away and then bottle it and store it. Am I making something so simple a little more difficult??? If you use the entire contents left over from your previous brew to start your next brew would you not be over pitching [ not that I fully understand what over pitching entails] Kieran

Hi Kieran,

 

The yeast cake + the extra litre or so of beer would total up to 2.5 - 3 litres, so if you follow the method I mentioned you wouldn't be saving the whole yeast cake. Often after swirling for a couple of minutes I fill my 1 litre jar to less than full (maybe 3/4 full). Generally after everything settles in the fridge for a few days I'll have 4 - 5 cm of yeast cake at the bottom of the mason jar.

 

Cheers,

 

John

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Just had a read of this http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=451925 posted by Otto a while l back over in the Harvesting yeast for dummies thread.

 

Actually makes a llot of sense, basically explains why you should not use cooled boiled water to rinse yeast.

 

This has made me think twice about my current methods. I might have to leave a little more beer behind when I am harvesting my yeast and do away with the cooled boiled water step.

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I was going to have a go at washing yeast in a couple of weeks time.

I have never done this before, although I have read & watched YouTube videos.

 

I put on a Coopers Amber Ale yesterday using rehydrated US-05 yeast.

Now I'd like to use the yeast again for the next brew.

I'm not 100% sure what that will be though. Am I correct in thinking it

has to be another Amber Ale, or something darker?

Or could I use it for a Coopers APA?

 

Christina's sloppy slurry method sounds easy. Although if I dry hop the amber ale

won't there be hop debris in there too?

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Removing hop debris among other things is the reason for rinsing/washing the yeast harvested from the trub. I think if you do go through the process of rinsing it, then it doesn't matter if it goes into an APA next. It probably wouldn't matter anyway although I know the usual recommendation with re-pitching without rinsing is to use it in a similar style batch or darker.

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Using my chosen method, I re-use what I have harvested from anything to anything. For eg I have used my last batch of US05 for well over ten generations, have only just decided to chuck it and splurge on another pack of US05, which I have just re-hydrated and pitched into a US pale ale three days ago.

 

I didn’t ditch the multigenerational US05 for lack of performance or off flavours in any way, it was performing flawlessly, just thought it was time. I had re-used it in everything from Russian imperial stouts to session pales and back again. I was not concerned by any leftover flavours or high ABV effects from previous batches, as the harvesting method I use comes up with some pretty clean and concentrated yeast slurry. So I could not detect any influence from stouts and this RIS when pitching the yeast from those into pale ales. And there shouldn’t be considering the volumes involved. That said there’s no way I would re-use the whole yeast cake from a stout to a pale ale or an IPA to a kolsch, especially if I was hopping commando.

 

I have noticed however that I have seen a drop off in viability in stored yeast when re-used over a month from harvest, since I started using a larger amount of boiled water to re-suspend the yeast before letting settle and tapping out the yeast layer. This I suspect is a result of what that linked post is on about, the yeast is happier in a low ph (acidic) environment and adding too much cooled boiled water raises the PH to levels not favourable for storage for longer periods (like beyond two to three weeks)

 

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Christina's sloppy slurry method sounds easy. Although if I dry hop the amber ale won't there be hop debris in there too?

It honestly doesn't matter. I remember hearing an interview with an American craft brewer who repitched slurry from their IPA into all their other beers (including the less hoppy ones). The brewer said you might think there would be hop flavour carry-over, but he never experienced any.

 

And yes headmaster, from what I have read, storing under beer is better, so that's why I do what I do. As a bonus, it is easier!

 

Cheers,

 

John

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Hi Kierank' date='

 

There is the sloppy slurry method too. With the sloppy slurry method you don't attempt to remove anything from the slurry. It is very simple. All you do is leave about a liter of beer in the bottom of your fermenter, swirl it to suspend all of the trub and yeast, and pour about 1/4-1/3 of the slurry into a sterilized jar, then store it in the fridge and use within a couple of weeks. When you go to use it, do not decant the beer off of the top. Just shake it to re-suspend the yeast and the trub in the beer and pour the whole thing in. This is the method I use and it works great. I find that if I use the slurry the next day, 1/4 of the yeast cake is fine for an ale of similar gravity. If I am not going to brew for a week, I will save 1/3 of the yeast cake instead.

 

I don't warm the slurry to room temp, I pitch it straight from the fridge.

 

Some people will throw fresh wort on the entire yeast cake of a previous brew, without cleaning the fermenter. This is the sloppy slurry method carried to the extreme and results in over-pitching if the second brew is around the same gravity as the first. If the second brew has a lot higher gravity, then that much yeast might be appropriate.

Christine, is it that easy? I'm going to bottle batch #5 this week. I used US 05 for the first time and I want to try to harvest the yeast. I'm still cutting my teeth on extracts so how do I know how much to pitch? I have a Cerveza can on deck, 1 kg DME and 250gms dextrose. Also is there a way of testing the yeast that you've harvested? I assume maybe in a starter. I think you are in Canada too? East coast, I'm in Ontario.

Thanks Ted.

 

Cheers,

 

Christina.

[/quote']

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If you're mixing up and pitching into the new batch pretty well straight away then I'd say about 1/3 of the yeast cake should do it. If you're gonna leave it for several weeks then maybe take half the cake. I think you can be pretty much certain that the yeast will work though, given they are fresh from a fermentation. They don't die that fast unless exposed to temperature extremes or something.

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If you're mixing up and pitching into the new batch pretty well straight away then I'd say about 1/3 of the yeast cake should do it. If you're gonna leave it for several weeks then maybe take half the cake. I think you can be pretty much certain that the yeast will work though' date=' given they are fresh from a fermentation. They don't die that fast unless exposed to temperature extremes or something.[/quote']

 

I will use it within a week so I'll use about a third. I guess there's no point in saving the rest as you can just harvest again from the next batch.

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I recultured yeast from six pale ale stubbies for the first time and used it in a Real Ale plus BE3 brew, no other extras, just wanted to keep it simple. The brew took about 10 days to get down to FG of 1012. Sample tasted OK. Bottled at 15 days.

I then used Antiphile's tilted FV method, left about 1 cm of beer over the yeast cake, no extra water, shook it all up and waited for it to separate. Tapped off what I hope was yeast and some beer into a sanitized plastic bottle, straight into the fridge at 4C. Been there 12 days, old beer on top and white stuff (yeast?) on the bottom. However both the old beer and the beer I bottled now taste quite bitter almost vinegary. I was planning to use this yeast to do an APA can with BE3 only, once again keeping it simple.

Should I chuck it out and do a new reculture?

Peter

 

 

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Vinegar is produced by bacteria that oxidise alcohol into acetic acid (or some directly produce the alcohol and process it on to acetic acid, but don't apply to us.) Usually a good active propagation phase remove the oxygen from the wort preventing infection by such from getting a hold. It is important to produce a good strong starter when harvesting yeast from bottles, I suffered from the vinegar effect in my early attempts as well.

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