Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Yeast harvest tip

In trying to harvest yeast, I was getting frustrated with leaving the trub behind. I would wash the yeast several times and transfer jars repeatedly trying to get good separation. I would cold crash the yeast, leave it on the counter for hours and repeat.

Good yeast was going down the drain and trub was getting transferred! Some say that hop matter and trub won’t hurt your beer, but most would prefer not to pitch them if possible.

I found something that works for me and may for you to. I used a plastic syringe from my medicine cabinet (sanitized of course). It allowed me to pull off the top layer for disposal and the middle layer for pitching.

No more pouring the good with the bad for me! Only the milky yeast goes into the beer from now on and gone will be the frustration of decanting.

Just a trip… when I rinse yeast I pour about a gallon of purified water into the fermentor and give it a swirl. I let the fermentor sit for about an hour to let some of the trub drop out. Then, i pour about a gallons worth of the liquid into a 1 gallon glass jug. I’m not super concerned with leaving all the trub behind at this point, because it will get rinsed again. I leave the glass jug sit in the fridge for about an hour. This should give enough time for most of the trub to drop out, but will still leave most of the yeast in suspension. Then I carefully pour the yeast/water mixture into a few mason jars… leaving as much of the trub behind as possible. Put the mason jars (sometimes as many as 6 or 7) in the fridge for a few days. After a few days you should have a nice layer of yeast on the bottom. I then pour off most of the liquid and consolidate the yeast from the 6-7 jars down to about 2 or 3.

If you let your containers sit for hours while rinsing, the trub will drop out then the yeast. So then you have 3 layers. Trub, yeast, beer/water. Then it’s hard to get the yeast out… like you mentioned. So don’t let it sit for hours. No more than an hour in the fridge is needed. That will insure most of the turb drops to the bottom, but most of the yeast will still be in suspension, which is what you want. Then you can pour off the yeast/beer/water slurry while leaving the trub at the bottom.

I don’t have much of a problem getting good clean American Ale yeast but it is really tough with the strongly flocculating English yeasts like 007, 1968, etc. as they so readily drop out.

+1. I couldn’t rinse 1968 either. WAAAYYY too flocculant (is that a word?).
This is that yeast on a stir plate. I thought there was something wrong at first.

:lol: Yep, that’s the stuff. Really like the beers I’ve made with it though and it certainly makes for a clear beer.

[quote=“dobe12”]Just a trip… when I rinse yeast I pour about a gallon of purified water into the fermentor and give it a swirl. I let the fermentor sit for about an hour to let some of the trub drop out. Then, i pour about a gallons worth of the liquid into a 1 gallon glass jug. I’m not super concerned with leaving all the trub behind at this point, because it will get rinsed again. I leave the glass jug sit in the fridge for about an hour. This should give enough time for most of the trub to drop out, but will still leave most of the yeast in suspension. Then I carefully pour the yeast/water mixture into a few mason jars… leaving as much of the trub behind as possible. Put the mason jars (sometimes as many as 6 or 7) in the fridge for a few days. After a few days you should have a nice layer of yeast on the bottom. I then pour off most of the liquid and consolidate the yeast from the 6-7 jars down to about 2 or 3.

If you let your containers sit for hours while rinsing, the trub will drop out then the yeast. So then you have 3 layers. Trub, yeast, beer/water. Then it’s hard to get the yeast out… like you mentioned. So don’t let it sit for hours. No more than an hour in the fridge is needed. That will insure most of the turb drops to the bottom, but most of the yeast will still be in suspension, which is what you want. Then you can pour off the yeast/beer/water slurry while leaving the trub at the bottom.[/quote]

Thanks dobe! Great info. I was waiting too long for the yeast to settle. I kept waiting longer and longer, only making the problem worse!

With your help, harvesting will be alot easier from now on. I have added a turkey baster to my brew equipement though. It helps me get more yeast and less trub

No problem. Glad to help. There can be a fine line between the trub dropping out and then the yeast. Some strains are much easier to work with like wheat yeasts and other low flocculating strains. Some floc a lot faster and are a little tougher (wyeast 1968 is impossible, I completely gave up on trying to collect that strain), but I’ve found about an hour in the fridge after the first rinse is a good starting point. Some can go longer, some floc faster and you may want to take out sooner.

:cheers:

Or you can use WLP02 and just reach in with a pair of sanitized gloves and just grab a chunk of the almost cheese like yeast layer! Most amazingly flocculant stuff I have ever seen.

The more you handle the yeast, the greater the chance of infection. I literally spoon it from the fermenter to a mason jar, refrigerate, then repitch. I don’t think the trub will hurt anything. If you only take the top layer from the fermenter, it’s mostly yeast anyway since the trub settles faster.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com