Yeast recovery experiment

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Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby Elderberry » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:48 am

I've done this successfully once before with ale yeast, but I thought I'd try with lager (2124) yeast this time:

1. Empty primary fermenter.
2. Sanitize a large spoon.
3. Grab a Ziplock bag. Supposedly, they're sterile.
4. Scrape yeast from trub into ziplock using sanitized spoon.
5. Store yeast in fridge. For the ale yeast, I went 2 weeks. This time, I only kept it 2 days.
6. On brewday, sanitize scissors.
7. Spray some sanitizer on outside of ziplock.
8. Cut corner of ziplock and dump contents into fresh wort.
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Re: Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby niels » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:33 am

I used sterilized jars and topped them up with sterile water. This would supposedly improve the surviving rate.

Your method seems solid if you only keep it for a short period (a few weeks). And less hassle.

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Re: Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby fy0d0r » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:37 pm

niels wrote: And less hassle.

Less indeed, UNless a bag bursts in a fridge due to some unfinished fermentation inside... :twisted:

I use urine containers for small portions of yeast, they're cheap, sterile and can be discarded after use.

Urine containers.jpg
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Re: Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby cpa4ny » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:30 am

I stopped recovering from the primary fermenter due to the need to wash the yeast and separate it from all other fermentation by-products (hop gunk, etc).

So when I do a starter from the new vial, i prepare 0.5 liters more than I need.

Say, Mr. Malty calculates my starter volume to be 1.5 liters; however, I do a 2-liter starter.

Once it ferments out, for the main 1.5l - I decant and pitch it.

The other 0.5L I also decant, transfer it to a Mason jar and top off with chilled boiled water.

I don't take credit for coming up with the above - someone on HBT suggested this method and it works like a charm.

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Re: Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby Luis Coentrao » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:19 am

The other 0.5L I also decant, transfer it to a Mason jar and top off with chilled boiled water


Hi,
For how long and at what temperature do you conserve the yeast?
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Re: Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby cpa4ny » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:26 am

Luis Coentrao wrote:
The other 0.5L I also decant, transfer it to a Mason jar and top off with chilled boiled water


Hi,
For how long and at what temperature do you conserve the yeast?


I stick the Erlenmeyer flask into the fridge overnight to ascertain that the yeast settles down.

Longer-term storage is done in the fridge as well.

Preserving yeast like that for a couple of months seems to be no problem; I date all the jars to make sure I don't keep them too long.

Some guys claimed to have used yeast after 6 or 9 months of storage with success; however, I personally would not push it that far.
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Re: Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby Elderberry » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:42 am

cpa4ny wrote:I stopped recovering from the primary fermenter due to the need to wash the yeast and separate it from all other fermentation by-products (hop gunk, etc).


You don't NEED to separate anything. This is the lazy brewer method.

cpa4ny wrote:So when I do a starter from the new vial, i prepare 0.5 liters more than I need.

Say, Mr. Malty calculates my starter volume to be 1.5 liters; however, I do a 2-liter starter.

Once it ferments out, for the main 1.5l - I decant and pitch it.

The other 0.5L I also decant, transfer it to a Mason jar and top off with chilled boiled water.


Great idea, though it definitely takes some foresight. I rarely remember to make a starter far enough in advance to decant, if at all.

So you separate the two starters AFTER you decant? How do you determine your volume/yeast count?
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Re: Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby cpa4ny » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:08 am

Elderberry wrote:
Great idea, though it definitely takes some foresight. I rarely remember to make a starter far enough in advance to decant, if at all.

So you separate the two starters AFTER you decant? How do you determine your volume/yeast count?


To me - good part of brewing is planning (I am sure Nesto will second that) :wink:

I certainly separate the two starters before I decant - otherwise all my yeast count would go haywire.

In the example above, the post-fermentation yeast count in the yeast to be stored would represent 1/4 of Mr Malty's calculated value.

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Re: Yeast recovery experiment

Unread postby Nesto » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:05 pm

cpa4ny wrote:
Elderberry wrote:
Great idea, though it definitely takes some foresight. I rarely remember to make a starter far enough in advance to decant, if at all.

So you separate the two starters AFTER you decant? How do you determine your volume/yeast count?


To me - good part of brewing is planning (I am sure Nesto will second that) :wink:

I certainly separate the two starters before I decant - otherwise all my yeast count would go haywire.

In the example above, the post-fermentation yeast count in the yeast to be stored would represent 1/4 of Mr Malty's calculated value.

:beer:

Indeed! Planning is a favorite of mine :)

I wrote a blog post about harvesting yeast a little while ago...
http://www.sycamorecreekbrewing.com/2014/03/my-billion-little-workers-or-how-i.html

I linked to a nice video of someone harvesting yeast. As I noted in my post, I do it a little differently - I harvest from a full fermenter (which you can't really do unless you have a conical) and I use beer to store it. There is a raucous HBT post I linked to about rinsing and storing yeast... almost as long as the Braumeister post on HBT! I will concede that White and Zainasheff (in their Yeast book) tell you to use water to rinse and store yeast in.

A few details I left out of the post...
1. Make sure all the jars you use have been cleaned and sanitized!

2. You can estimate your yeast count based on volume. For my first try with WLP037 (the seasonal Yorkshire Square Ale yeast) I used 210ml mason jars and calibrated so I knew each cm of yeast cake was 26ml. I used the Mr. Malty nominal value of 2.5 billion cells per ml (use the "pitch yeast from slurry" tab). I let it settle overnight before I measured and I harvested about 130 billion cells in each jar.

3. I assumed a 21% viability loss per month when calculating the starters I needed. Was able to do 3 additional brews (2 beers and a cider) over the following 2 months. So theoretically I was around 60% viability for the last brew - a barleywine. And it fermented cleanly and thoroughly from 1.096 down to 1.014.

In addition to the economic advantages, I've heard several experts say it takes a couple generations for a yeast to hit it's peak, so I plan to do more harvesting. You do kind of need to plan out your brew calendar and make a yeast plan (I sense a new spreadsheet!). I can't decide whether I'll use this method or cpa4ny's pre-harvesting method in the future. It will probably depend on how many brews I plan with a single yeast. Just doing 2, then definitely cpa4ny's method. But for something like I just did - a 4 brew run with one yeast - I'll harvest from the primary fermenter to get the increased amount of yeast. It only took about 30 minutes of actual working time to harvest, rinse and divide up among small mason jars for storage; a bit longer when you count the settling time.
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