Waldo Lake Yeast

I just racked the Waldo Lake Amber to secondary. I decided (for the first time) to save the yeast. I put it in the pictured mason jar (sanitized) and stuck it in the fridge. Now I have a few questions:

-Do I need a starter with this, if I brew a similar or like beer?
-How long do I have before it goes bad?
-Do I just pitch the whole quart jar’s worth into the next batch?

I’ve always poured my used yeast down the drain, but I’m thinking I’d like to try using it again.
Any advice would be welcome.

You will notice the yeast will settle into 3 distinct layers. Bottom is trub, white second layer is yeast and the top should end up being clear beer. Search for how to wash your yeast to reduce down to a smaller container with a greater percentage of yeast. Some will say it is not worth it and just pour what you have in.

If you use that in the next two to 3 weeks, you would not need a starter. Beyond that, you probably should make one.

I have kept yeast for over a year that way. Took a while to get a starter going and it took a couple steps, but it worked. At that point, next time, I will buy new.

OK, I will look for the 3 layers. Thanks!

I should add that I did this recently with White Labs British Ale yeast. I racked off fermented beer, washed yeast, and divided washed yeast into three mason jars. I kept the jars in the fridge for several days until it settled out. Have recently brewed 2 similar styles using the leftover yeast from original batch. I still have one mason jar left. As far as I’m concerned original yeast price ($8 @ local brewery) divided by three or four or even more batches equates to just over a few bucks per batch. Cheaper than dry!

Thanks, holaday. Now all I need to do is learn how to wash yeast.

Make sure you vent that jar daily until it stops producing CO2, which can take several days / weeks. Last thing you want is a yeasty bottle bomb in your firdge.

That’s interesting you mention that — brewed a batch this past weekend with reused yeast and had a hell of a time getting the top off of the mason jar. Once removed, it sounded like a beer opening!

Will do, thanks Greg

So, I’ll just crack it every morning before I leave for work

Good thread. I’ve been too nervous to try harvesting and washing yeast, but probably without cause since I’m careful about sanitation. But I’ve been thinking about it more lately, since I tend to use 1028 quite a bit. Makes sense to cut costs further.

I feel wasteful every time I dump a yeast cake down the drain.

Same here.

Really? It definitely makes some CO2 from being stirred up…taking it from a batch that was finished and adding distilled water to it… that can really have enough CO2 to esplode?

Sometimes because Of the transfer. Mine behaved the way it did because I made a small starter way prior to putting it in the fridge.

After washing, I purge off the CO2 once a week if even that often. Besides being thrifty washing and reusing yeast encourages you to get more familiar with yeast flavors. I’ve stretched a batch of 1056 a friend bought when he wanted me to brew a beer for him. I’ve reused it in a caribou slobber and now the brick warmer. I didn’t use a starter for either and they came out great. I am going to start using a pinch of yeast nutrient cause at only $2.25 it seems worth it. Anyway, it has helped increase my understanding of yeast’s contributions to beer flavors, and that’s the best payback.

Here’s a couple of helpful links:

http://billybrew.com/yeast-washing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPYUFJ4bPD4

I’m one of the lazy guys who says dump the whole thing in the next batch. Better yet, plan accordingly and rack off the primary the same day you are brewing and put the new batch right on top of the yeast cake in the same fermenter. Us “normal sized guys” need to conserve our energy. :cheers:

So when you do it this way, you’re just dumping it right into the dirty fermenter? Do you clean the crust off the walls or anything? Does it matter?

So when you do it this way, you’re just dumping it right into the dirty fermenter? Do you clean the crust off the walls or anything? Does it matter?[/quote]No need to clean as it is already sanitized from the first batch. Now I would never do this for a third time. But it works great for those times when you are feeling lazy.


Split it 3 ways. Reuse without a starter up to a month, a 2L starter up to 6 months, after that you will probably want to step it up from 1L to a 2L to get enough yeast for pitching. Sometimes I will pitch two jars up to 2 months.

Taking yeast to the 5th generation will get you 121 batches from 1 yeast pack. Even if it’s dry yeast you can save hundreds.

I have a small refrigerator dedicated to my yeast harvests. I have a hard time pouring the 6th generation down the sink and I just imagine all those living yeasties screaming out “Just one more batch, Coach!”

I think I will try this with the next brew. Then I will try mvsawyer’s suggestion. This is new territory for me, and I’m really excited about saving money on yeast. And yes, This “normal sized guy” needs all the energy he can get!