Poll

Do you harvest your yeast?

Yes, whenver possible.
11 (39.3%)
Sometimes.
11 (39.3%)
No, but I'm considering it.
6 (21.4%)
I have no interest in harvesting my yeast.  I'd rather brew instead.
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 28

Author Topic: Yeast Harvesting!  (Read 11634 times)

Offline Scott Ickes

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Yeast Harvesting!
« on: October 05, 2013, 09:57:16 PM »
Please feel free to add your thoughts about yeast harvesting.  I'm curious how many harvest, why they harvest, etc.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 10:44:43 PM »
By the way, I do harvest my yeast.  I only harvest out of the primary.  I will re-use yeast up to 5 generations.  I harvest and rinse.  I don't wash, as this is beyond my capabilities.  I will sometimes harvest out of bottle conditioned beers, but for the most part, I harvest the yeast cake after racking off of the primary.

I have a Nottingham Yeast (Lallemand Dry) that I'm going to harvest out of my English Pale Ale tomorrow when I rack to my secondary.  I already have some harvested Wyeast (#1028) London Ale yeast.  I want to make a 10 gallon batch of a british style ale and have the only difference be the harvested Lallemand Dry and the harvested Wyeast Liquid #1028.

I have a pint jar with about 300 billion cell yeast count (only an estimate based on the volume of slurry in the jar) WLP300 Hefeweisen yeast that I harvested from two bottles of a honey wheat that I made.  I've used yeast starters to grow it to the current volume.

I'm also going to harvest the yeast cake from the bottom of my primary on a Saison.  It's Lallemand Belle Saison.

I've had many people tell me that it's a waste of time to harvest dry yeast, but I've been quite successful at it.  If it has a good fermentation, and harvesting makes it free, why not?  I get usually enough out of the primary to pitch three batches.  Even if the dry yeast is only $3 a pack, that's still a $9 savings, with the bonus of the fun of keeping it alive and continuing on with it.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2013, 09:34:16 AM »
When circumstances permit I've been known to reserve a scoop of Fermentis US-05 sludge from the primary, hops and all, and dump it into a batch of freshly cooled wort.  Takes off immediately for a quick fermentation. Don't think I've tried more than four generations. Saves a few bucks.  I've tried washing the yeast without success.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline grathan

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2013, 10:15:47 AM »
I usually rob the starter to refill the yeast vial. Though sometimes reusing distinctive yeasts can lead to a lot of similar beers in the fridge.


Buying yeast is a great way to support your local homebrew supply shop.

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2013, 12:15:11 PM »
I usually rob the starter to refill the yeast vial. Though sometimes reusing distinctive yeasts can lead to a lot of similar beers in the fridge.


Buying yeast is a great way to support your local homebrew supply shop.

I tend to agree about supporting the local homebrew shop, however.......I think having enough yeast harvested to make three more batches and thus purchasing the grains and hops for three more batches also supports the local homebrew supply shop.

Similar beers in the fridge is also a good point.  For example, the London Ale yeast I've been using a lot of lately has resulted in a lot of English style bitters, pale ales and IPA's.  Fortunately, I love those types of beers.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline Beer_Tigger

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2013, 06:28:15 AM »
I brew up to 4 batches on the same primary yeast cake, requires planning to get recipes using the same yeast.  I will also harvest from the secondary after the first batch because thereis less trub.  No rinsing, just into a mason jar and then the frig.  My beers in the sequence go up in gravity, the previous beer makes the "starter" for the next higher gravity beer.
"Let's see if this here beer will help me to stop procrastinating." - my cousin

Offline Slurk

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2013, 09:27:55 AM »
Only when I have planned to brew some beers (same type/style) in 2-3 weekends on a row, I take the sludge from the primary and try to separate roughly the yeast layer/part.  Yesterday  I used WLP802 Czech Budejovice Lager Yeast (2nd time) from a German Pilsner batch from last weekend. It took off immediately and brought the new batch from 1049 yesterday to 1012 this morning. I've never tried more than three generations, in principle I don't wash (I roughly separate - I can't call this washing) and I don't store (I use the yeast the next day).

In all other cases I happily support the local homebrew supply shop :)

R, Slurk
Ad Fundum!

Ready to drink: Slurk Fjellbrygg, Slurk Foeyn Ale, Slurk Agurk (Cucumber Wit), Slurk Belgian Blonde, Slurk Eng (Raspberry Wit), Slurk Hav (Seaweed Wit)
Aging: Slurk Whirled White Wheat (Wit)
Fermenting:
Next brew: Slurk Hav

Offline Mtnmangh

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2013, 09:32:29 AM »
I harvest almost every time I brew, especially if I have a plan to brew somethings that uses the same type of yeast profile.  I keep seeing people saying they only use it to 3-4 generations.  I had heard that too, from somewhere or other.

Interestingly, I was talking to a couple of guys who have a local brewery that has just exploded in sales recently and they use the same yeast harvested during fermentation, pretty much since the inception of their brewery.  They say it has changed slightly, but they are happy with the changes, so on they go.
Drinking: Belgian Golden Strong ale
              Step Up Porter
              Oktoberfest
               Brown IPA

Primary:  Step up Porter

Secondary: nada

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2013, 12:31:40 PM »
All of this brings up another question.  I harvest as much of my yeast as possible, even if I'm not planning to use it for a while.  This is what I do with yeast that's been in the fridge for about a month.  Let's say I have two pint mason jars of a hefeweisen yeast.  I'll make up two huge starters (one for each mason jar).  This revitalized that yeast.  What ever was viable will take off and multiply.  I can usually turn one mason jar of yeast into two mason jars this way.

Even though I haven't brewed any beer using that yeast, I've now doubled my inventory of that yeast and it's once again very viable.

I do try to plan my brewing to use my yeasts on hand, but it isn't always that easy.  My brewing is limited to the amount of bottles I have available, so I can't always brew when I'd like to brew.  I can, though, boil up a starter and keep my yeast healthy and ready for when I do brew.

I give a lot away too, with the only stipulation being that I want to taste their beer and I want the mason jar returned.

I wonder how many stir plates my wife will let me have for Christmas this year!!
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2013, 02:45:35 PM »
Scott, at the risk of sounding a little overly critical, what is your next or other question (first sentence in your last post)?  I promise I'm not normally that message board guy, I couldn't resist though  ;D

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2013, 02:53:48 PM »
"I wonder how many stir plates my wife will let me have for Christmas this year!!"

"I wonder how many stir plates my wife will let me have for Christmas this year??"

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2013, 03:05:35 PM »
Dolt, touche Maltlicker, you got me, I failed reading comp today. 

Offline texasdan

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2013, 03:58:33 PM »
I have harvested from the primary in the past and could get 4-6 generations out of it, but I had read somewhere that you "could' possibly" get mutation or pick up off flavors from the primary.  That a good way to maintain yeast purity from would be to make a double starter and use 1/2 for brewing and save the other 1/2 for the next time.   I have now been doing that for the past few months.  It seems to work fine.
Next Up: 
Fermenting: None
Lagering:     
Conditioning: #46-Special Helles
Drinking:       #45-Klosterbier, #44-Honey Ginger Lager, #43-Oktoberfest, #42-Festbier, #40 Ayinger Style Jahrhundertbier Hell, #41-Klosterbier

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2013, 04:12:35 PM »
I have the book "Yeast".  It's a tough read, but very valuable.  I recommend it for anyone that harvests their yeast. 

From what I've learned, I think that you get less mutation when you keep the wort oxygenated (as in yeast starters), than when you're having your yeast make beer.  This is why I try to actually grow yeast out of the primary, so that I'm using yeast that are more pure and true to the original strain.

Basically, when your yeast are putting all of their energy into multiplying, instead of into making beer, they are less likely to mutate.

I did an English Bitter and harvested the London Ale Yeast out of it.  I got three pint jars of yeast, each of suitable quantity for additional batches of beer.  Instead of using them to make beer, I did a yeast starter with each.  I turned each of those three into two new jars of similar yeast count.  I basically had the equivalent of six batches of yeast out of one primary.  That yeast is $6.99 per smack pack at my local homebrew supply store.  That's $42 worth of yeast savings from one harvest.  I can make a fairly high gravity beer with those savings!  An if I harvest the yeast out of that batch, I have 6 more, bringing my supply of yeast up to 11 pint mason jars.

There is some costs though, as it requires an investment in DME of 2 cups per starter.  So it's necessary to weigh the costs of the DME in the starter, compared to no cost for only harvesting out of the primary.  DME is about $4 per pound at my local homebrew supply store.  I can make quite a few starters at $4 per pound.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline dharalson

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Re: Yeast Harvesting!
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2013, 10:20:58 AM »
I don't typically harvest my yeast, but I do yeast ranch.  I store small quantities of yeast in 10 ml vials and then propagate the yeast from a few hundred cells upto a normal pitching quantity.  It takes about 1.5 to 2 weeks to grow up the yeast to pitching size. 

 

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