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Harvesting Yeast

I harvested 2 different yeast due to the fact they are only available for a short period of time each year. Now I have a number of questions concerning the storage after harvesting.

To be exact they are Wyeast 2352 and Wyeast 1581. I intend
to use them during the rest of the year.

First is how long they can be kept before they are not any good. I store them in a temperature controlled freeze which is any where between 45 to 60 F. This is also the freeze I use to lager.

Second is a friend of my son in law who has been doing this for some time has told me that after 4 months he runs a yeast started on his harvested yeast and then puts it back in storage to keep the yeast from dieing. Is this a waste of time and is it worth the time and cost.

Last is how many times can I harvest the yeast and reuse it before it just will not ferment any more. In other words it has died.

IMO, the yeast will never “die”. Over several uses there may be some mutations that may cause undesirable outcomes.

Depending on how often you will use the yeast you can do something like this, what I do:

Make a starter and add 3-5 spoons fulls of yeast. Use that in a beer. Repeat 3-4 times. On the last beer, discard the old leftover yeast and save the new yeast in the bottom of the fermenter. This “new” yeast would be considered generation #2.

Common practice is to not use a yeast for more than 5 generations. With this process, you could actually make 4-5 beers out of each generation. For a total of 20-25 beers.

If you didn’t make it to generation 5 before the yeast is around 1 year old, discard the old yeast and save the new yeast at the bottom of fermenter.

I would store the yeast in the back of your regular fridge were the temp is at a constant, lower temp. ... ility.html

Thanks for the information. I have a small regular fridge next to my freezer that I can keep the yeast in. It will just have to share room with my beer but at least my wife won’t give me a hard time about keeping the yeast in the main fridge. Thanks again.

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