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Re using a yeast cake

Hey Guys

My Question is this when reusing a yeast cake from a beer what is the best method of doing so to protect sanition? is it better to rack the 1st beer off the yeast and then "harvest" the yeast into a sanitized mason jar and sanitize fermeter and then put new wort in with yeast. or would it be better to rack off the old beer and pitch the wort directly on yeast. the only other factor is that the 1st beer is a hoppy wheat beer, where as the new beer will be a "leftover" beer using up my hops and some other odds & ends so it will be a bit lighter. any input whould be greatly appriceated!

You’re going to get different opinions on this and in the end it’s your choice. Both ways are accepted. Personally, I think it’s just lazy and bad practice to rack a beer right on top of an old yeast cake. I don’t like the idea of all the crap left over from the first beer being involved with the second beer.

I collect and rinse the yeast and store it in mason jars. The main reason is you can get enough yeast from a cake to brew another 1-3 batches depending on size and strength.

I have pitched a porter directly onto a cake from a German alt and it turned out great. I was told that if you pitch like that, you should go from lighter to darker and less hoppy to more hoppy of a beer. I think trying different methods just makes you a better brewer in the end. Cheers!

I second collecting and rinsing your yeast instead of racking onto cake. Use Mr Malty’s repitching from slurry tab on the calc. Take into account for a 25% viability loss per month. Make a starter for anything more than a month old.

I think I am getting lazy as I grow older. I usually dump right into the fermenters and it turns out just fine. I think it would be better to harvest, wash and do it right but I make a lot of beer and try to save time and money.

i always thought that the yeast imparts alot of the flavor in the beer. i use the wyeast yeast recomended with the kits from NB. i usually buy a couple at a time. if i use the yeast from the last batch, wont the next one be different than the last time i made it with the recomended yeast? i dont make a starter i pitch from the smack pack.(two diferant beers)

Right…this is only a good idea if both the initial beer that created the cake in the carboy and the “second” beer require the same yeast.

I have done it once. I am still a novice at all this… It seemed to work just fine. As others have said…it is probably not the “best” way to do things, but if the beers are similar in style and the second is darker and a higher OG than the first it’s probably a decent shortcut.

Also, the timing has to be right in that you need to have essentially just racked off the cake and be ready to add the new wort in short order…

One good thing is that your beer starts fermenting immediately.

I generally do 3 beers in a row, racking onto the yeast cake - I’ll scoop out a cup or two to avoid overpitching - but everything has been fine taste wise. You could wash and all, but you have a sanitized fermenter all set to go…
Stephen

I do three similar beers in a row - don’t do darker heavier beers. Seems to work out just fine.

OK, I have a question on this: What is yeast washing, and what does that look like? I’m interested in re-using my yeast also.

Paul

After only 24 hours I have very little bubbling. Is this normal or should I have had added 2 yeast packs for a Irish draught ale that I had put an extra pound of honey into.?

I don’t generally pitch directly on a yeast cake, but it’s because of over-pitching concerns. If the worts are about the same volume and gravity, the yeast cake will be anywhere from 2-6 times as much as typical pitching rate. The trub from the first batch just isn’t an issue IME.

Yeast washing is using a cleaning agent (typically an acid) to separate the live yeast from most of the dead yeast and trub. Yeast rinsing is the same thing, but uses just water instead of an acid. Here’s a tutorial on yeast rinsing: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yeast- … ted-41768/

[quote=“a10t2”]I don’t generally pitch directly on a yeast cake, but it’s because of over-pitching concerns. If the worts are about the same volume and gravity, the yeast cake will be anywhere from 2-6 times as much as typical pitching rate. The trub from the first batch just isn’t an issue IME.

Yeast washing is using a cleaning agent (typically an acid) to separate the live yeast from most of the dead yeast and trub. Yeast rinsing is the same thing, but uses just water instead of an acid. Here’s a tutorial on yeast rinsing: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yeast- … ted-41768/[/quote]

Totally agree (and that tutorial is pretty good).

Yeast washing/rinsing is fine if you want to mess with it and don’t contaminate things in the process. I’ve tried the washing/rinsing and compared the results with batches where I simply repitched 1/3 to 1/2 of the yeast cake. There was absolutely no difference in performance or flavor compared to the washed/rinsed batches.

So as far as I’m concerned, 20+ years of repitching a portion of the yeast cake with no negative effect (through as many as 10 generations or more) tells me that the wash/rinse ritual just isn’t a priority or a necessity.
As always, it is best to try it both ways, and choose the course that suits your own situation.
As we like to say here, “your mileage may vary”. :mrgreen:

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