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Posted: 9/12/2014 10:28:00 AM EST
Thinking of brewing the same recipe back to back and reusing the yeast cake from the previous batch. Plan is to siphon off a quart of the yeast cake into a sanitized jar when bottling and pour it directly into another carboy of fresh wort.

Will that work and if so, how many batches would I be able to do that before needing new yeast?
Link Posted: 9/12/2014 12:50:00 PM EST
YEs, that will work, a quart may be a bit big, though. I think a general rule I heard was 1/4 the yeast cake for ales (given similar gravities).

You can play with pitch rate and thickness of slurry at mrmalty.com to get an idea of what you want...
Link Posted: 9/13/2014 7:08:06 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/13/2014 7:09:20 AM EST by TaylorWSO]
why not just put the wort on the cake?

some say seven times on reuse, I just go 3-4
Link Posted: 9/15/2014 8:19:13 AM EST
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Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:
why not just put the wort on the cake?

some say seven times on reuse, I just go 3-4
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That was my first thought, but figured it would be more santitary to start with a fresh, clean carboy.
Link Posted: 9/15/2014 11:15:44 AM EST
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Originally Posted By JimEb:


That was my first thought, but figured it would be more santitary to start with a fresh, clean carboy.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By JimEb:
Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:
why not just put the wort on the cake?

some say seven times on reuse, I just go 3-4


That was my first thought, but figured it would be more santitary to start with a fresh, clean carboy.


If there is infection in the carboy, there is infection in the yeast cake...transferring may actually cause more infection...

That being said, don't pitch directly on the whole thing, shake it up and pour at least half out...the yeast needs to have some growth for the correct flavors to happen.
Link Posted: 9/18/2014 8:09:06 AM EST
I haven't bought yeast in a long time. Part of my reason for home brewing is cost savings. Having your own yeast bank and/or culturing yeast from commercial beers is a huge cost saver.

I used to do the yeast washing and harvesting method from the yeast cake but it was time consuming.

Now I just double or triple my yeast starter and pour some off into a sanitized Ball jar and put in my fridge for the next time. The yeast stays viable for quite some time.

I have Irish Ale, American Ale, Hefe, Wit, and Belgian Ale strains all stored in my fridge.
Link Posted: 9/20/2014 10:10:24 PM EST
If you are not reusing your yeasts you are throwing away money. Think of what we spend on specialty strains of brewing yeast, hell I use cheap Nottingham for most of my ales and I save that to use again and again.
Link Posted: 9/21/2014 7:47:38 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Stove_Pipe:
If you are not reusing your yeasts you are throwing away money. Think of what we spend on specialty strains of brewing yeast, hell I use cheap Nottingham for most of my ales and I save that to use again and again.
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Absolutely.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 1:47:09 PM EST
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Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:
why not just put the wort on the cake?

some say seven times on reuse, I just go 3-4
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Three to four is correct. The yeast begins to get a little mutated.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 4:24:30 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2014 4:39:21 PM EST by d_striker]
We are on gen 12 with our house ale strain at our 5bbl brewery. I'll propagate new yeast after G15. Taking it out this far requires excellent sanitation and harvesting practices though. I don't take lager yeast past 6gens. Part of the reason breweries can do this is because we can crop the select layer of yeast from the cone immediately after terminal gravity has been reached. Beer is a horrible, waste-filled environment for yeast and viability drops pretty quick.

As a homebrewer, I've gone out 8gens or so with ale yeast. Probably could have gone further but I didn't brew frequently enough to keep the yeast happy. Part of the reason I was able to consistently do this with good results and healthy yeast was my yeast harvesting/propagation practice. I never harvested yeast from the cake. I harvested it from the starter. I would make my starter larger by about 150-200B extra cells and harvest at that point. Crash cool in a mason jar, rack off starter wort/beer, and rinse with sterile distilled water.

Next time I needed to brew, I would create a starter using the harvested yeast from the previous starter and do it all over again. Looking at the cells under a microscope showed very healthy yeast with excellent viability. Almost better than the vitality/viability of the house yeast in my brewery.

IMO, yeast starts to really hit its stride after G3.

Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:10:03 AM EST
That is great advice but for the average homebrewer it is better to buy another pack of yeast for 5-8 bucks and know that the viatility of the yeast is strong rather to chance it with tired/mutated yeast. If you do not have the ability to view your yeast cells to verify strong yeast culture then I would avoid this practice.

3-4 batches on a cake maybe 5.


If one really wants to save money buy slants and yeast ranch or harvest your yeast cake in pint jars, step up cultures to appropriate pitching level and go from there.

Who wants to waste a batch of beer because they want to save 3 bucks on a packet of Safale 05?
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 12:45:53 PM EST
I've been brewing fairly regularly so I'm going to give yeast harvesting a shot. If successful it may give me the confidence to branch out from the cheaper dry yeasts.

Think I got the jist on harvesting/washing the yeast, but I have a some more reading to do on pitch rates. Seems to be an aweful lot of Kentucky Windage applied to guessing yeast cell counts, how much harvested yeast to add to starter, etc.
Link Posted: 10/2/2014 2:28:19 PM EST
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Originally Posted By JimEb:
I've been brewing fairly regularly so I'm going to give yeast harvesting a shot. If successful it may give me the confidence to branch out from the cheaper dry yeasts.

Think I got the jist on harvesting/washing the yeast, but I have a some more reading to do on pitch rates. Seems to be an aweful lot of Kentucky Windage applied to guessing yeast cell counts, how much harvested yeast to add to starter, etc.
View Quote


I am far from a pro, heck I am not sure I can even rate as a novice, but I think you can get by just fine without worrying about that stuff for most beers.

Make a starter with 1/2 to 3/4 cup light DME, a pint of water and dump in your harvested yeast. Pitch right around high krausen. Always seems to work fine for me.
Link Posted: 10/3/2014 5:48:27 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By JimEb:
I've been brewing fairly regularly so I'm going to give yeast harvesting a shot. If successful it may give me the confidence to branch out from the cheaper dry yeasts.

Think I got the jist on harvesting/washing the yeast, but I have a some more reading to do on pitch rates. Seems to be an aweful lot of Kentucky Windage applied to guessing yeast cell counts, how much harvested yeast to add to starter, etc.
View Quote


Harder to overpitch than underpitch...err on the side of bigger with your windage. Yes, it is guesstimation unless you want to get a microscope & hemycytometer and count cells.

I usually figure on 2-3 beers I would like to make with a certain yeast, make the smaller gravity first and within a couple weeks of yeast harvest, make the second larger gravity batch. This works especially well with lagers if you decide to make any because they need a TON of yeast respectively.
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