Drying yeast at home

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MyQul

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Im sure many of you forumites have seen @David Heath 's drying yeast at home vid


So I decided to have a go. I didnt follow David's instructions exactly though. Firstly I used bottom harvested slurry rather than top croppings. Secondly I drained the water through a cone I made using a j cloth, sat in the mouth of a large jar, rather than using a fine sieve. Thirdly Ive been using my oven rather than air drying. It's more than half way through drying but it definately seems to be working
 

cushyno

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I'll follow this with interest. Things I'd like to know:
  1. Viability after drying and storing
  2. What works for storage, freezer/fridge
  3. Strains of yeast that drying works well for and which ones don't.
  4. What to dry the yeast on.
  5. Sanitisation levels necessary to ensure success
A couple of small jars of trub in my fridge is accepted, but drying might be useful for keeping more strains readily available.

Eager to see what success you have with this experiment.
 

jjsh

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Me too. If I could culture up lots of strains from bottled beer, then freeze them for up to 10 years I could see me finally moving away from dried yeast, to homemade dried yeast!
 

MyQul

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I'll follow this with interest. Things I'd like to know:
  1. Viability after drying and storing
  2. What works for storage, freezer/fridge
  3. Strains of yeast that drying works well for and which ones don't.
  4. What to dry the yeast on.
  5. Sanitisation levels necessary to ensure success
A couple of small jars of trub in my fridge is accepted, but drying might be useful for keeping more strains readily available.

Eager to see what success you have with this experiment.

I'll try to answer your questions based on the little I've learned so far and david's vid (and the comments underneath where he answers questions

1. I've yet to finish drying and then putting the dryed yeast into some starter to see if it's viable, so cant answer that yet
2. David reckons after you've dried it, you can put it in the freezer and it'll keep up to 10 years. This is what attracts me. No more jars and vials taking up space in the fridge. Just some small zip lock bags in a corner of the freezer
3. According to david it works on any strain. As an experiment to test out the method ,the strain I'm currently drying is MJ Liberty bell and it seems to be working well enough.
4. I'm drying it on some baking paper/parchment
5. Basically like anything in brewing, keep everything sanised. As a tip I came across on another vid. I did the smearing the yeast onto the baking paper next to the hob with two rings on. This supposedly creates an updraft and any microbes in the air away
 

MyQul

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Me too. If I could culture up lots of strains from bottled beer, then freeze them for up to 10 years I could see me finally moving away from dried yeast, to homemade dried yeast!
My thoughts exactly. If you remember from last year I got hold of those nine 1977 jubilee ales. I've just started culturing up the Gales bottle (I lost my original Gales strain and Fullers stopped doing bottles of HSB.)If this drying lark works, I'll have a crack a drying some out. I can then try culturing up the other seven, drying them and keeping them in my freezer
 

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Very interesting.

I listened to an episode of Experimental Brewing the other day in which they interviewed the Lallemand Regional Sales Manager for North America. He was explaining that when you dry a yeast strain it goes through genetic changes/mutations which make it perform differently from it's liquid equivalent. Hence why US-05 doesn't perform exactly the same as WLP001 or WY1056. Now this, bearing in mind, is on a commercial level.

I wonder what kind of changes a liquid strain would undergo if doing this on a home level? I can only guess they'd be greater and the risk of introducing airborne wild yeast would be a lot harder to control. Having said that, I reckon I'd definitely attempt this at some point. Would be really fun to play about with and do a side by side with a beer brewed with the original liquid strain vs home dried version.
 

MyQul

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Very interesting.

I listened to an episode of Experimental Brewing the other day in which they interviewed the Lallemand Regional Sales Manager for North America. He was explaining that when you dry a yeast strain it goes through genetic changes/mutations which make it perform differently from it's liquid equivalent. Hence why US-05 doesn't perform exactly the same as WLP001 or WY1056. Now this, bearing in mind, is on a commercial level.

I wonder what kind of changes a liquid strain would undergo if doing this on a home level? I can only guess they'd be greater and the risk of introducing airborne wild yeast would be a lot harder to control. Having said that, I reckon I'd definitely attempt this at some point. Would be really fun to play about with and do a side by side with a beer brewed with the original liquid strain vs home dried version.
I read something similar over at HBT about mutations.

Im guessing theres little to no wild yeast in my oven. So if I keep the oven door shut from the time I put the yeast in their till it's dried and I take it out, at a guess the yeast has little chance to get infected. You could perhaps even turn the oven on to sat 150C for 30 mins to kill any wild yeast. Let the oven cool down then put the yeast in to dry
 

JonBrew

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I read something similar over at HBT about mutations.

Im guessing theres little to no wild yeast in my oven. So if I keep the oven door shut from the time I put the yeast in their till it's dried and I take it out, at a guess the yeast has little chance to get infected. You could perhaps even turn the oven on to sat 150C for 30 mins to kill any wild yeast. Let the oven cool down then put the yeast in to dry
So for drying in the oven are you just running the fan with no heat presumably?
 

MyQul

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Right I see so essentially just using the oven as a 'closed' environment? Sounds sensible.
Yes exactly that. Although with this experimental batch, I keep opening the oven a little to have a look at how things are going. I also forgot to spray the baking paper with starsan. So with this batch I think I'll just put it in some starter to see if it's viable but not actually brew with. This first batch was really just for me to learn the techniques (which is why I just used some dry yeast slurry)
 

JonBrew

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Yes exactly that. Although with this experimental batch, I keep opening the oven a little to have a look at how things are going. I also forgot to spray the baking paper with starsan. So with this batch I think I'll just put it in some starter to see if it's viable but not actually brew with. This first batch was really just for me to learn the techniques (which is why I just used some dry yeast slurry)
Very much looking forward to hearing how this goes for you. I'd say if a starter get's going you should pitch it into a 5L batch and see what happens.
 

cushyno

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This does sound promising. Thanks for the replies @MyQul

I wonder if freeze storage might kill any nasties too?

It's the small ziplock bags in the freezer that could be the clincher for me. Easy to bring it out and make up a start from it.
 

MyQul

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This does sound promising. Thanks for the replies @MyQul

I wonder if freeze storage might kill any nasties too?

It's the small ziplock bags in the freezer that could be the clincher for me. Easy to bring it out and make up a start from it.
Thats a good point about freeze storage. I also like the fact you can just pull the bag out the freezer and chuck some flakes into a starter
 

Simonh82

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I've not watched the video yet but 10 years in the freezer sounds optimistic from what I know. This article on drying Kveik suggests a much shorter lifespan for practical brewing and that is using a yeast strain that has traditionally been air dried.

I'm not saying that you couldn't revive the yeast after 10 years but the viable cell count would be so low that the risks of yeast stress and mutation would be very high.
 

MyQul

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I've not watched the video yet but 10 years in the freezer sounds optimistic from what I know. This article on drying Kveik suggests a much shorter lifespan for practical brewing and that is using a yeast strain that has traditionally been air dried.

I'm not saying that you couldn't revive the yeast after 10 years but the viable cell count would be so low that the risks of yeast stress and mutation would be very high.
Having a quick scan of the article, he makes a difference between direct pitching and making a starter with the dried yeast. He states, "with a starter, this yeast should be useable in the brewery for several years" I'm guessing this is where he 10 years in the freezer comes from?
Even if it last only a couple of years n the freezer and you have to re-hydrate and re-dry, I think it's worth doing because of the convenience (if it works, for my non kvieks, thats is)
 

jjsh

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Aye, two years would still be a game changer for me. I could probably keep a bank of 10 or so yeasts going, whereas with liquid yeast stored in the fridge (assuming my current brewing frequency) this would really be two; three max, unless I was constantly making starters just to keep things going.
 
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