Harvesting yeast.

Discussion in 'Grain, Hops, Yeast & Water' started by dweb, May 12, 2018.

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  1. May 12, 2018 #1

    dweb

    dweb

    dweb

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    In all my brews,from kits to BIAB to electric boiler to my current GF set up,I`ve only ever used dried yeast sachets,due to the pure handiness,so I`ve a few questions regarding yeast.
    1.Are liquid(bought) yeasts any better?
    2.Is harvesting yeast from a brew just a money saving exercise?How do you know if the yeast cells are all live?
    3.Can harvested yeasts be used on any brew and not just the same type?
    4.Are these dumb questions?
     
  2. May 12, 2018 #2

    geigercntr

    geigercntr

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    1. Nope, but there are more varieties. I use dry for most beers, but liquid for when I'm after a particular yeast driven output
    2. You can definitely save ca$h, given that liquid yeasts are ~£7 a pop. If you're pitching onto a yeast cake, or onto recently gathered yeast, the yeast will likely be raring to go and a krausen should be visible pretty quickly. If you've stored saved yeast for a while, it might be worth reinvigorating with a starter first
    3. Technically, yes. It should ferment & you'll end up with beer of some sort. But remember that different yeasts are good for different styles, so for example you might not want to use a saison yeast in a stout. Might end up brilliant though! One thing though: yeasts gathered from very strong beers are likely to be less willing to go back to work than those gathered from weaker beers.
    4. No such thing! :thumb:
     
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  3. May 12, 2018 #3

    Zephyr259

    Zephyr259

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    1. Maybe, some people find that bitters made with a liquid strain will be a lot more flavoursome than those with a dry and like wise similar opinions with belgian strains, the liquids in general seem to be more characterful if that's what you're after, but it's all anecdote and opinion.

    2. Kinda, but is also mean you can learn how a strain behaves and if you re-use it enough it could become a house strain which may react differently than the original for your set-up. I go for the over-building starters method, so I grown up an extra 100 billions cells, decant that portion of the starter into a kilner jar and store in the fridge. When I next want that yeast I (over)build it up in another starter.

    3. As above, some styles need their own yeast so it depends what you brew. I currently have the following in the fridge, English, Lager, Saison, Abbey, Kveik. I may only brew 1 more batch from the abbey and I'm not sure if I want to keep the lager strain about. I'm enjoying the english one (Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire) it's done a bitter, a porter and a stout thus far and I have a few more planned for it.

    4. Nope, liquid yeast costs a fair bit more than dry and is extra work to keep going if you don't want to buy fresh every time so make sense to ask if its worth it.

    Good luck.
     
  4. May 12, 2018 #4

    Fil

    Fil

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    grab yourself a copy of the Yeast book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yeast-Practical-Fermentation-Brewing-Elements/dp/0937381969
    It answers all your Q's, demystifies all the science, and contains clear instructions on setting up a home yeast bank (sandwich box at the back of the fridge)

    simply keeping a jar of the sediment from your last brew in the fridge for the next brew is probably the simplest and easiest method, and probably the best solution if you usually use the same yeast.

    if you have the time to invest and have access to a pressure cooker (homebrew autoclave) for the price of a basic kit or two you can fully equip a basic home yeast lab to isolate prime yeast colonies and bank them .

    Time is the key though, as any samples you bank will have a limited bank shelf life which means you will need to propagate your samples periodically so you can again establish fresh prime colonies for banking,, So if you keep 20 samples in your bank you will be propogating about 40 cultures a year just to maintain the bank (assuming a 6 month slant life in the fridge)

    Spending money of a -80C freezer would expend the 'shelf' life of your banked samples but pulls the hobby out of the 'cheap' bracket ;)
     
  5. May 16, 2018 at 3:11 PM #5

    MogBot

    MogBot

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    Great advice above and the book recommended by Fil is well worth it if you are interested in yeast and the process of fermentation.
    Don't be phased by the equipment that is suggested by some sites and shops for 'recycling' or 'harvesting' yeast you can give it a good go with very little of this, the cake would be going in the bin/compost anyway. I currently wash and maintain 7 strains with a 2 L pickling jar, several regular jam jars, old clear beer bottles (plus caps for storage), a few rubber bands and food/freezer bags (keeps system closed and clean, expands with CO2 during fermentation). I like to wash the yeast from the beer and trub before storage so I can check for contamination and adjust my plans accordingly, hence the clear bottles.

    If you don't have space for a pressure cooker you can sterilise your glassware by baking in the oven at 125C with a little bit of water in the bottom for an hour. Foil over the openings can reduce chances of contamination once cool and out of the oven. Just a heads up put the glass in the oven before turning it on and leave to cool before handling, sterilised broken glass is just as useful as dirty broken glass in brewing.

    Best of luck and don't forget to label
     
  6. May 16, 2018 at 9:13 PM #6

    trueblue

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    Personally I think liquid yeast is superior but when I've said this before on this forum I seem to get a lot of flak. As I said it is my personal opinion but I believe dried yeast lack the character and depth of live yeast. If you can get your hands on live yeast from a commercial brewery even better.
    Rather than harvesting yeast there are other ways to get multiple brews from one liquid yeast pack. The easiest way is to split the yeast at the start. Make a starter, I use 2lt but you can use 1lt, ferment out then divide into 6 sterile containers. Keep in the fridge then make a fresh starter with one of the stored yeasts 3 days before you brew. This also answers question 4 as you can brew whatever you want with each one. Using this method also makes it comparable price wise with dried yeast. I have kept the split yeast in the fridge for at least 6 months before with no deterioration.
     

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