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Yeast in Cold Storage... How long is too long

Good Afternoon,

I am curious about how long is too long for yeast to sit in cold storage?

I brewed a batch of Nut Brown Ale and washed the yeast when I transferred it from Primary to the bottling bucket, placing the slurry into two separate canning jars. They have been in my fridge ever sense. (About 2.5 months)

A second question that I have is can you make a yeast starter with any container so long as it can be sanitized, and keep oxygen out?

I want to get a set of the Erlenmeyer Flasks but they are more expensive than I would like, are there any pros and cons to using say a 1 gallon carboy as the vessel to a starter rather than the flask?

Any comments would be greatly helpful!
Cheers :cheers:

I can’t speak for the viability of the yeast cause some people will say no longer than a month and others will say 6+ months no problem.

You can however create a starter in any container and you dont need to keep oxygen out. Your goal is to make more yeast cells not worry about the oxidation process which really only effects flavor of the wort you are fermenting. So hopefully you wont be drinking the “beer” created by your starter :slight_smile: Just be sure to put it in the fridge for 24-48 hours and decant off all that nasty liquid on top.

I use 1 gal. glass jugs that apple juice comes in for starter containers.

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Washing (rinsing is really the proper term) yeast is really not necessary and might even be detrimental to future performance. If you google yeast rinsing or yeast washing you’ll find lots of articles on it. Decide for yourself if it’s worth the effort. I don’t do it. I just pour directly from the carboy to a sanitized mason jar. However I do bag my hops in the boil and DH.

Your 2.5 month old yeast should be fine. You’ll want to make a starter for it. Look at and click on the pitching from slurry tab.

You can determine how much slurry to use based on age and how big your starter should be based on OG and viability.

I use a one gallon carboy for making starters. Works great! I just put a piece of sanitized aluminum foil over the top and swirl whenever I think about it.

Bumping this aptly titled old thread, as I have a similar question. I would be overjoyed if my yeast was only 2 1/2 months old like the OP. Mine is a full eight months old. It is US05 from August 2021. I think I know the answer but just curious what your thoughts are.
Make a starter and use it or dump it and order new dry yeast?

I’d dump. I mean if we were in the middle if a pandemic and could get any yeast id use it

Yep , I agree. Dump.
Putting together an order soon, will buy the dry yeast …… I had Wyeast 1450 slurry also but it’s even older. Too hot here now year round to take a chance on liquid yeast by mail.

I reuse some older yeast due to shipping. But no older than 3 weeks than i toss out

My cutoff for keeping yeast slurry is 9 months. So yours at 8 months is almost right on the edge of whether I’d throw it away and buy new vs. make a starter. The vigor of a starter would tell you how viable it still is – if it starts right up within 12 hours, it’s healthy. If not… better off getting new yeast. So you could try it, an experiment, if you like.


I agree Dave, why not at least try? Yeast genocide… Poor yeast’… :frowning_face:

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