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Reviving "old" Yeast

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Trough Lolly

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Had a bit of a win during the week - well, two actually but the flowering PoR is another topic!! B)

In the back of the kegerator I found a small stubby of 1st generation Wyeast 1028 London Ale yeast with a January 2004 label...There was very little sediment in the bottom of the crystal clear sample - no more than 2mm deep in the centre. Undeterred, I made a 600ml starter in a flask last saturday with a pinch of Morebeer yeast nutrient included during the short boil, chilled, decanted the unhopped beer, swirled and pitched. The glass of 1028 "beer" reminded me of how much I like this strain!
I have a fine krausen as of yesterday (pitch +5 days) and it's fermenting well. Now I would normally suggest ditching a starter if you don't get any action for a few days, but it just goes to show that with care and a good sanitation protocol, it's possible to revive quite old yeast strains.
The fresh sack of MO is gonna cop a pounding this weekend!! :p
Has anybody else got stories of revived elderly yeast strains - that weren't plated / frozen?

Cheers,
TL
 

KillerRx4

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My 1st ever liquid yeast, wyeast 1056 was purchased in March 05.

Im stepping up a starter atm from this yeast that is probably 3rd generation & been sitting in a bottle for near on 2 years in the fridge. Ive got bottles of trub, CPA dregs, split starters etc in the fridge of varied strains most over 6-12 months old.

I have only had a couple of batched underattenuate & that was due to underpitching im sure. Now I use aeration stone in the starter & aim big, ie. stepped up 4 or 5 times to 2lt.

Now im bragging i bet this batch brings me unstuck :angry:

Edited by Moderator
 

Trough Lolly

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My 1st ever liquid yeast, wyeast 1056 was purchased in March 05.

Im stepping up a starter atm from this yeast that is probably 3rd generation & been sitting in a bottle for near on 2 years in the fridge. Ive got bottles of trub, CPA dregs, split starters etc in the fridge of varied strains most over 6-12 months old.

I have only had a couple of batched underattenuate & that was due to underpitching im sure. Now I use aeration stone in the starter & aim big, ie. stepped up 4 or 5 times to 2lt.

Now im bragging i bet this batch brings me unstuck :angry:

Edited by Moderator
I have some old 1056 that I hope to revive next up. The 1028 is nearly finished primary fermentation and I'll harvest the slurry and make some 2nd generation stubby starters from it, this weekend.

Cheers,
TL
 

DJR

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WLP036 - Exp date 11-2001, got it for free from the LHBS who had it in the fridge all that time, put it into a 500mL starter in about Sep/Oct last year, high krausen in the starter in about 36 hours!

Went on to ferment a few beers after that, one of them picked up 2 awards at the Castle Hill show. Got a free hat from White Labs sent out as well for my story.

Do i win?
 

bradmcm

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I'm going to resurrect this ancient topic with a story about ancient yeast.
Recently I smacked three packets of old Wyeast I had in the fridge. 2042 Danish, 2308 Munich Propagators and a 4632 Dry Mead Activator.
The 2042 hasn't swelled in over three weeks, so it's likely dead. Date:7-JUL-08
2308: Swelled in under 48 hours. Date: 12-MAY-08
4632: Swelled in under 72 hours. Date 10-DEC-07.
Both are in starters and fermenting and smelling great.
Not bad for 12+ year old yeast.
 

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MaggieO

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Glad this worked out for you. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Always interesting to see stories of people culturing yeast from old bottles of beer, or old packs and vials. Yeast can be surprisingly resilient. I've read of people culturing yeast from bottled beer 5+ years old, making beer with it and getting good results.

Funny though, someone says they found a two year old pack of dry yeast and people start telling them to trash it and getting new yeast.

I've used four year old dry yeast without issue.
 

nanuk

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if properly handled and stored, I think yeast can live hundreds, if not thousands of years.

reviving using step up techniques could provide us with ancient strains not yet commercially available.

Mankind has been making beer for over 5000 years, if not longer.
Somewhere, there are samples!
 

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