Dry hopping and reusing yeast cake

Hi all,

Question: can I dry hop and reuse the yeast cake from the brew I dry hopped?


I’m guessing you dry-hopped in the primary/while the beer was still on the yeast?

Shortest Answer: yes.

Shorter Ansnwer: yes, but you MAY have some issues.

Not Short Answer: The reason people advise against this is that the hop oils can coat the cell walls of yeast, and slow down/prevent growth, which could ultimately cause strain on the yeast, which could ultimately cause off-flavors. Personally, I don’t believe this is a huge issue on a homebrew scale, since with this type of repitch, you are borderline overpitching yeast (again, not a particular cause for concern on a homebrew scale, depending on the style of the second beer).

The other issue i suppose is if you were pitching a cake used to dry hop an IPA into a real clean style like a blonde or a pils, the hop flavor would muddle it up. IMO you can do a simple yeast rinse (google it) if you have a large, clear, sanitizable container to get around this.

I did just that. Harvested from my Rebel IPA and used it in my Smashing Pumpkin. Yeast was healthy and didn’t get the IPA or overly hoppy flavor in my Pumpkin.

Here’s my situation:

I have Dead Ringer in a primary right now sitting on a nice cake of Safale 05. I have Megalodon headed my way (should be delivered today) which I also plan on using Safale 05. I wouldn’t mind racking to a secondary to dry hop the Dead Ringer but my only 5 gallon Carboy is in use bulk conditioning an imperial stout. My options are:

  1. Don’t worry about it, just dry hop Dead Ringer in the current carboy and use the yeast cake for the Megalodon
  2. rack Dead Ringer to a 6.5 gallon secondary and dry hop there then use the yeast cake
  3. rack Dead ringer to a 5 gallon keg for dry hopping
  4. Use option 1 but wash the yeast before adding it to Megalodon.
  5. Use new yeast.


The reason i’d like to use the cake from Dead Ringer is that I believe it would be better for a brew this high in alcohol. Would 2 packets of safale 05 be better for Megalodon than using the cake from my Dead Ringer?

If it were me, I would dry-hop in another vessel (preferably a 5 gallon, in your case the keg) and put the Megaladon directly onto the US-05 yeast cake. That’s like a 1.090 beer so you may be overpitching a little but nothing over the top. And I still have yet to experience any issues with overpitching myself other than violent fermentation which you should definitely expect with this one.

Should I dry hop in the keg, do I need to worry about pressure building up in the keg since it has no airlock? This is probably a stupid question since a keg is a pressure vessel. Also, if I dry hop in the keg, will I have a bunch of hops in my beer while dispensing out of the keg or should I transfer it out of the keg (ie, bottle) when dry hopping is done?

I don’t keg so I don’t have any experience there as far as serving but pressure shouldn’t build up since your fermentation is complete. The yeast shouldn’t be producing anymore CO2 at this point. There may be some dissolved into the beer but not enough to worry about degassing.

I DH in the keg but I bag the hops in a small paint strainer bag. Some people DH in the keg then transfer to another keg to clear. I’ve never felt it was necessary for me.

I DH in the keg but I bag the hops in a small paint strainer bag. Some people DH in the keg then transfer to another keg to clear. I’ve never felt it was necessary for me.[/quote]

Same here, I don’t bother dry hopping in the carboy much anymore.

I’ve never had an issue leaving them in until the keg kicks.

Paint strainer bag? Available at local hardware?

Yep! Sanitize the bag, put in the hops, tie off the top with unflavored dental floss also sanitized, drop it in and tie it off suspended about half way down the keg. This keeps it away from the end of the dip tube and allows you to pull it anytime you want. I’ve been leaving them in until the keg kicks with no issue.

I never harvest yeast or wash yeast. Here is what I do when I have a fresh vial/pack that I wish to reuse:

  1. Make a starter to achieve approximately double the cell count (~200 billion cells)
  2. Cold crash and decant
  3. Pour half of the starter into a clean, sanitized vessel. I now have two vessels with ~100 billion cells each.
  4. Store one of the vessels for future use
  5. Use the other one make a starter for a fresh batch of beer
  6. Repeat as desired

I have read that making a starter with dry yeast is a no no. The cake I have is safale 05 from dead ringer. I did purchase the equipment necessary to make starters. I will do this for sure in the future with my liquid packs but I think i’m going to stick with the cake plan for Megalodon. Thank you everyone for the great advice.

@dannyboy58 is there a certain micron paint bag you use?

I think most bags are all about the same micron, if using pellets you may still get residual stuff in the keg, but IME all this drops out, and the first pour of the keg will purge out the particles, and the rest of the keg should be clear.

Question: When using the sanitized bag suspended by dental floss method, what do you tie it off to? Can I runt the floss through the gasket or will this cause a leak. I suspect it would cause co2 to escape. Thoughts?