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Reusing yeast

How many times can I reuse my Belgian Abbey 2 1762 yeast before I should consider buying more? and how long is it good for in the fridge between brewing?

Not by experience, but from knowledgeable people, they say reuse up to 5 generations. I’ve gotten one strain that far but I plan to keep reusing it to see how far it will really go.

I will pitch straight from the jar if it’s less than a month old in the fridge. Over a month, I’ll make a starter.

Technically speaking, as long as there is one viable cell, you can continue to propagate until you have reached a proper pitching rate.

Here’s how I’d do it. Make a starter with the smackpack, and pitch the starter. Split that batch’s yeastcake into three containers, and each will contain a pitchable amount. You can do 5 generations without many drawbacks, so you can do 121 batches off of one smackpack. Store yeast in sterile jars or bottles in the refrigerator for up to a month without a starter, 6 months with a starter, and 12 months if you do a 2-step starter.

I would agree with the posts above. I’ve read that 5 generations is what you can expect when rinsing and reusing yeast without worrying about mutations. And yes, if used within a few weeks, no need for a starter if enough yeast is collected. Over 3-4weeks, make a starter. Over 6months, step up to a bigger stater.

I tend to get anywhere from 1-4 jars of yeast when rinsing and collecting from a yeast cake. I guess it all depends on the yeast and the amount of trub in the fermentor. Some yeast just don’t rinse and collect well. Others work great. That’s the main reason Wyeast 1272 has become my house yeast for Pale Ales, IPAs and other beers. It rinses well and I always get 3 or 4 healthy jars of yeast from a cake.

5 batches seems to work well for me. 1/3 of a yeast slurry for ales; 1/2 for lagers. There are mutation issues at any point, but practically speaking, I just fear infection after too many batches. There is also something called bud scarring that can happen with reuse, but I have heard of guys going 20 batches deep with the yeast - but at that level you had better be giving the yeast some extra nutrient along the way.


Based on what I have read and heard, the pros will go 10-20 generations with the yeast, but they will harvest under very sanitary conditions and without get much it any trub. They will also use the harvested yeast within a day or maybe a week.
If you are using the same yeast often enough the 3 to 4 samples saved in the refrigerator is the simplest. I have washed the yeast and frozen it with some success, but it seemed like too much work.
I am currently storing very small quantities of my yeast in 3-4 ml of sterile water at room temperature. I take a two of drops on to a Slant to start a culture. A Slant is just a test tube or vial with a wort jello set up on an angle. The wort jello is 1.040 wort and agar. There is a lot of information on the net. If you want more just ask.
After 3-4 days I have about 500K to 1 million yeast cells. I scrap this into about 10 ml of starter wort for a couple of days, then step up to 100 ml and finally up to 1 to 1.6 L starter. This will get me to about 200 million cells to pitch.
Since my stock of yeast is dormant in the sterile water, if will not mutate and should be viable for a couple of years before I have to regenerate my master stock.

The pros will acid wash to get get rid of bacteria and old yeast.
If you just repitch without any washing 5 would be about right.
I just replaced my house yeast after 4 batches because it wasn’t attenuating as much.
I just keep reusing my house yeast till something seems off.

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