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Storing & Re-using Yeast Slurry

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by hughman666, 6/6/07.

 

  1. hughman666

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    Posted 6/6/07
    Hi all,

    I realise that various sections of this topic have been covered in various different topics. However, many of them are 5+ pages long and sometimes containing conflicting opinions which have made this one area of major confusion for brewers getting into liquid yeasts. for example i personally found chiller's thread confusing because of the "this jar, that jar" discussion which then went off into a disagreement about chemicals used to wash yeast with.

    I'm looking to get a definitive idea of the easiest way of storing and re-using the yeast slurry from a brew for future batches, bearing in mind that a lot of newer brewers won't have access to the chemicals that have been mentioned in previous posts for washing yeast etc. Feel free to post pics of your own process to help out others.

    This thread won't deal with splitting up new smackpacks or whitelabs vials, just storing and re-using the slurry.

    We can use my latest yeast slurry for the experiment. It's a Wyeast 3068 which has spent 8 days in primary. I collected the slurry into a 2 litre starter bottle as per below:

    P6062076.JPG

    as you can see, it has seperated out with the 3068 at the bottom.

    so, without just redirecting us to a previous thread:

    1. what's the best way to store this? can i split it up into individual bottles? do we need to remove the top bit first and if so, how?

    2. what temps do you need to store the yeast under if being used:

    within 1 week (can it stay at room temp in the starter bottle?)
    within 8 weeks

    3. finally, when it comes time to re-use the yeast, do you need a starter or can you just repitch ~100mls directly into the wort? is this determined by whether or not the yeast has been stored for a certain amount of time?

    Cheers,

    Hugh
     
  2. Screwtop

    Inspectors Pocket Brewery

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    Posted 6/6/07
    Given there is somewhere around 3 or 4 thousand brewers registered on AHB, asking for the best method is going to result in as many opinions.

    Each will have their way, this is mine. Once the beer is drained/syphoned from the fermenter, swish the remaining beer, trub and yeast around so as it mixes into a slurry. Have a couple of sanitised screw top jars (pickled onion jars or suchlike) ready to fill with the yeast slurry. Just tip the fermenter up and drain the slurry out through the tap into the jars. Stop at 250ml (roughly the 10:1 rule) in the jar if you plan to re-pitch this yeast on the day (I've kept it in the fridge and repitched up to 5 days later without problems). Fill the jars and store in the fridge. Have used yeast stored this way for 6 months and more. Always make a starter to prove the yeast's integrity before use.
     
  3. Jye

    Hop Junky

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    Posted 6/6/07
    Heres my process.

    After primary fermentation I chill down to 0C for 24 hours and then rack into a keg. To store the yeast I use 2 to 4 L pyrex bottles that have been filled with water, boiled and then cooled. The water is tipped into the fermenter and swirled around to resuspend the yeast cake. I let this sit for 10-15 min to let any trub settle and then rack the yeasty water back into the bottle, trying not to disturb the trub like you wouldnt disturb the yeast cake when racking beer. I then chuck the bottle in the fridge with the lid screwed on.

    Before use I decant the liquid and chuck the yeast cold straight into the fresh batch of wort. I generally repeat this 3-4 times before starting with fresh batch of yeast.

    I have found no problems if reusing the yeast with in a week. The last batch sat in the fridge for 2 weeks and took a bit longer to kick off but did its job in the end. Any longer than 2 weeks and I would be tempted to make a starter.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Stuster

    Big mash up

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    Posted 6/6/07
    This is my method as well. :super:

    One thing to consider with wheat beer yeasts is that they apparently do not store very well. Different yeasts will have different levels of viability after time in storage. Lagers apparently keep well, wheat beers badly. This is only what I've read though, no personal experience either way.
     
  5. therook

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    Posted 6/6/07
    Am i understanding this right.....if you are going to repitch within a week you can just add the slurry, but any longer you will need to make a starter????

    How long could you keep the slurry before it is not even worth making a starter

    Rook
     
  6. Stuster

    Big mash up

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    Posted 6/6/07
    That's right. I'd say up to two weeks is ok, but I'd probably add more yeast in that case. I'm not sure how long you could keep it in this way, but certainly a few months is possible. The number of large jars in the fridge tend to get me to use some of them before they get too old. ;)
     
  7. Cortez The Killer

    HeCameDancingAcrossTheWater

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    Posted 6/6/07
    I have put chiller's process in a numbered format so that it is easy to follow when actually doing it

    I've used this with sucess upto about 3 months after the original harvest - but it is apparently good for longer periods

    Also worth noting is that yeast stinks! :wacko: So don't be put off when reculturing the yeast - make a call whether the yeast is good by tasting and smelling the starter.

    I might see it I have time to photograph the process next time I do it

    Cheers and thanks Chiller

    ===============================================================

    1. The day before – prepare 2 litres of sterile water [boil for 15 minutes] and cool in the fridge in a sealable PET soft drink bottle.

    2. Obtain 2 x 500 ml jars, a clean beer glass and 3 x 50 - 100 ml sample vials – sanitise all of these.

    3. Transfer the beer off the cake and remove all the beer [not the yeast].

    4. Pour 500ml of your sterile water into the fermenter and give it a very good swill around to mix the yeast and water.

    5. Collect enough of the yeast solution in the beer glass to almost fill one of the jars. Shake it really well and lightly seal it with glad wrap and set it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. The heavy material will drop.

    6. You can now pour the top 3/4 of the liquid into the other jar and top up with sterile water. Shake and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

    7. Repeat above and sanitise the first jar.

    8. Repeat.

    9. Fill the sample jars 3/4 full with the milky liquid remaining, cap these and place in the fridge.

    10. What remains in the larger jar can be used for your next brew [make a starter] or discarded.

    11. Let the yeast settle out in the sample jars for 24 - 48 hours.

    12. You will now have a compact yeast layer and reasonably clean liquid on top. Remove the lid and pour off most of the liquid and replace with your sterile water. Shake well and let settle again for 24 hours.

    13. The liquid will now be quite clear, pour this off and replace with sterile water and return to the fridge.

    14. Check your samples over the next week and if the water shows any discolouration replace it with fresh sterile water.

    These samples will remain viable for at least 12 - 18 months and maybe longer. I have used a Scottish ale yeast kept in my yeast farm that was dated 3 years old. It fired up over 2 days stepping up from 50ml to 150ml to 500ml.

    I have used yeast over many generations maintained in this manner with absolutely no changes in character. Far beyond the mythical oft repeated homebrew law of 3 generations. The only danger and it is real is the danger of infection when harvesting yeast. Most All Grain brewers are competent at sanitation and the problem is small.

    Don't forget when you use the last sample repeat the procedure. Another three samples will be waiting when you need them. You will probably have 3 - 4 favourite yeasts you use on a regular basis and this method will ensure you keep a healthy supply ongoing for a very long time.
     
  8. Trough Lolly

    "Drink, Feck, Arse, Girls"!

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    Posted 6/6/07
    G'day Rook,
    I've made active starters this year from slurry (Wyeast 1028) that I bottled back in 2005...I used Chiller's method and it works fine if you don't want to go to the next level and plate out the yeast or make tubes of the stuff.

    IMHO - Any slurry thats less than 3 months old is good for a starter or if you have enough can got into the fermenter and I can confidently pour slurry directly onto the wort if it's less than a month old and have less than an hour's lag time.

    Cheers,
    TL
     
  9. Jye

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    Posted 6/6/07
    Good point, always taste any water/beer you decant off. If it smells/looks off or taste funny then dont put it in your beer.
     
  10. hughman666

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    Posted 6/6/07
    excellent stuff guys, this is exactly what i was after.

    jye, thanks for your example, that's what i'm doing at the moment.

    cortez, thanks for unscrambling chiller's process, that makes it easier.

    there should be very little confusion surrounding this subject now. perhaps this could be pinned as a simple howto?
     
  11. matti

    Swedes Bryggeri

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    Posted 6/6/07
    Nice work Cortez,
    2 questions.

    Do you check the temp on sterile water? Or are you having room temperature as you leave the yeast to settle out?

    What temperature are you storing the yeast at?

    No need to freeze the yeast if this works eh?
    matti
     
  12. Darren

    Beer Dog

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    Posted 6/6/07
    www.wyeast.com gives a simple but comprehensive explanation for brewers. Best to follow the "breweries" protocol rather than the "home brewer" protocol.

    Acid washing your yeast is very important IMHO. Unless you like infections?

    cheers

    Darren
     
  13. chris.taylor.98

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    Posted 6/6/07
    Ok thought I would add my 10c worth just to confuse you more

    Yeast storage is all about ensuring you have the best posible yeast to pitch at the start of fermentation and is:
    - In good health and has not already been "overworked"
    - Is still mostly viable and not left to wallow in its own juices for 6 months.
    - Has not regenerated over 20 times and is now somewhat different to the yeast you where expecting.

    So ... don't expect if you store yeast for 6 months it is going to be particularly viable ( some say no more than 2 weeks but it really depends on the yeast strain you are storing ). If in doubt do a starter.

    If you have already worked the yeast hard ( high gravity, under pitched, reused lots of times ) it is probably time to retire it and get a fresh batch.

    Reusing yeast if done properly will actually result in better beer after 2-3 re-uses. Comercially brewers will go up to 10 or more times.

    If you want to keep yeast long term and store a pure strain ( ie one that you can trust to be fairly close to what you want ) try yeast slants. They are a bit of stuffing around but you will end up with better quality yeast.
     
  14. chris.taylor.98

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    Posted 6/6/07
    ditto with Darren.

    Yeast re-use needs to be very carefully managed re sanitisation, and has a high potential for introducing infections. Another reason not to try and overdo it. (btw you don't have as big an issue with slants)
     
  15. kook

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    Posted 6/6/07
    Just curious, I've got some spare 1L schott bottles like that, do you boil them in a pot (like a double boiler), or do you place them directly on a stove top? Or are you doing something completely different ie microwave or pressure cooker?

    Are the blue lids able to take high temps?
     
  16. xtrabyte

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    Posted 7/6/07
    The correct link is http://www.wyeastlab.com/ ;)
     
  17. Cortez The Killer

    HeCameDancingAcrossTheWater

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    Posted 7/6/07
    I try to work with room temp

    I put the havested yeast in the fridge

    Freezing yeast from what I've read does seem to have some benefits - but does involve a little more work

    Cheers
     
  18. Kingy

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    Posted 19/6/07
    i just finishing racking a beer and was planning on reusing the yeast tomorrow. As im not prepared with sterile water etc etc. Can i just sanitize a schooner glass and a measuring cup and scoop the slurry into the glass and cover with a glad wrap and a rubber band?

    also can i boil and cool some water and make a starter with all this yeast along with 1 litre of water and 100grams of dme this afternoon by transfering into a bottle?

    hope this makes sense
    cheer,kingy

    p.s do i store in the fridge or is it ok at 12 degrees in my shed untill i plan to pich it tomorrow arvo
     
  19. Stuster

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    Posted 19/6/07
    Yep, storing it like that will be fine. Or just sterilise a glass jar, swirl the fermenter once the beer is gone, and pour the yeast cake into the jar.

    There's plenty of yeast in the yeast cake. There's no need to make a starter. Keep it in the fridge.
     
  20. Kingy

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    Posted 19/6/07
    could i split this slurry into 2 equal amounts to add to 2 differant batches (1 tomorrow and 1 on saturday) or should i use the whole lot seeing as tho this is the first reuse of the slurry. And then wait till next time round before splitting it up and storing and making starters.

    this is an area of brewing i need to brush up on as ive been forking out to many $$ on yeast lately

    cheers kingy
     

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