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Reusing Yeast Bed

Hi Guys:
I am new to home brewing and have brewed several NB extract kits, and in fact, just finished capping a Irish Red Ale kit. I have been craft distilling for several years now, which prompts this question. In distilling and preparing a new mash, it is very common to take the yeast bed (trub) from the batch prior and use it in the next batch of mash. In addition to saving money by not having to buy yeast, many believe it actually the quality of the new batch of mast. I will bottle a NB Mile Ale next week, and are wondering the effect of using the yeast bed for a new batch. Do home brewers ever use the yeast bed after racking to start a new batch of wort?


Re-using yeast is very common in brewing. As you point out the yeast often performs better after a few batches. Just remember to keep things sanitary. The more you reuse yeast the more chances of infection.


Do a google search for washing yeast and you’ll get a lot of info. More often than not there is significantly more yeast left over than you will need for a single batch so a lot of people will wash/rinse it with boiled and cooled water and then separate it into two or three jars, each one which will typically be enough for a batch.

If you do this you can save them in the fridge for a few months in mason jars and then make a yeast starter to get them ready to go again. It is really a great way to save money and if you really enjoy the hobby it gives you something else to do.

I often keg and brew on the same day so that I can put the new wort on the yeast cake in the fermenter from which I just took the finished beer. I usually only do this once but it is common for people to do multiple batches like this.

Thanks guys:
Is there any problem reusing the yeast bed from one kind to brew another type of beer? For example, I will have access to the yeast bed from a NB Mild Ale next week and I’m thinking about another beer next.

Also, how do you make a starter for beer? In my distilling, I often make a starter by using a small amount of yeast in a jar with some of mash I’m working on and let it work overnight, than add to mash barrel. For beer should I take some of the wort and use it. I have been adding the kit yeast as soon as the wort cools, should I start the starter when the wort cools, let it work overnight and then add starter to wort the day I boiled it?

Thanks again, Don

Occasionally I’ll do an unplanned brew and don’t have yeast, or enough yeast, ready so I’ll do what you’re suggesting - pitch the yeast into a half-gallon of the fresh, cooled wort and let the yeast get going and then pitch the entire thing to the rest of the wort in the fermenters.

Reusing yeast from one kind of beer to another isn’t a problem but if the first beer is something like a stout and the second is an IPA, I make an extra effort to remove as much of the stout as possible from the yeast and then give it one rinse to dilute the color further. It’s also good practice to go up in gravity from one batch to the next (or stay in the same ball park) and when the yeast has been used for a high-OG brew to either discard it and start over or to use a small portion of that yeast to make a starter or small batch of low-OG beer to generate fresh, healthy yeast again.

Also, how do you make a starter for beer? [/quote]

You could look around here, probably in the Yeast section is best, but basically, you use 100 grams of DME/liter of water (for ales at 1.060 OG or less, I make a 2L starter, 4L for all lagers or beers greater than 1.060 OG), boil it for 5 - 10 minutes, chill it and pitch the yeast, as if you were making beer (only no hops). You can get a stir plate and a flask to help with this (24 hours), or you can get any type of vessel that will hold this and shake it up every so often. I’ve done it both ways.

But that’s the basics.

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