Harvesting yeast - where's the yeast?

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Tal Orbach, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    Cool, guys, thanks for all the input. As for making the mistakes before I did, I prefer learning from other people's mistakes. :oops:

    Ok, so I think I've got both methods down (in my head at least). My harvest yesterday is looking pretty darn good today. It's got a tiny bit of off-color from being used in a dark beer, but otherwise, got lots of little yeasties going to sleep in the bottom of the jar. The yeast is about a half inch deep in a 1 quart mason jar.

    Was gonna go to the brew store today, but figured I better cut my grass since all my neighbors did this past weekend. Going tomorrow without fail and will get another English Ale recipe, perhaps just a brown to try it out, as well as try out my 2nd generation yeast from the slurry. Kinda looking forward to having more yeast active before the alcohol content gets high enough to make it go dormant, and see how much it affects a malty beer. I'll grab some extra DME to make up my starter for my next two batches too. Already have the ingredients for that. Super easy brew, especially with dry packs. Just need to see what I can do for some other citrus that plays well with orange peel. Lemon gave it an excellent tartness, so maybe this time I target the sweetness of a tangerine with one batch.

    Been admiring the Tilt monitor, too. That thing looks like it's handier than a pocket on a shirt and the best thing since sliced bread for getting a profile that will tell ya what's going on after ya put the lid on a fermenter. I just kinda watch the air locks (I prefer the 3 piece ones for cleanliness) to see when I think it might be done.
     
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  2. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    For absolute gravity, it is not terribly accurate. But to see progress and 'when it's done', damn near perfect.

    I use one all the time. For example, my most recent brew started at 1.068, but the tilt says 1.064. It now says fermentation is done, at 1.016. I bet it's off by 4 or 6 points or so. BUT I definitely know fermentation is complete.
     
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  3. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    I looked at it today, and there's a calibration routine for recommissioning after a battery change. Maybe that would fix your error?
     
  4. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    The reading a tilt, or any other electronic hydrometer will give can be affected by co2 bubbles clinging to it, or any dried krausen or hop debris dried onto it. They are excellent for showing progress, and for letting you know when it is done. When there are no changes after a few days, this proof that is done, but the reading itself is not likely to be accurate for the above reasons. One should always take a reading with a hydrometer.
     
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  5. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    What he ^^ said. Here is a screenshot taken today. See how it shows "done" (blue line)? But the actual gravity numbers, close but not exactly correct. Not a calibration issue.

    Temperature is pretty accurate though.

    B4BF17BC-4797-41E1-B604-4A18B253492E.png
     
  6. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    Oh, I'd never intended anything BUT reading with my old floating hydrometer before bottling.

    I normally take my OG reading as soon as the wort's cooled enough to pitch, but before the pitch. Then again just before I rack it to the bottling bucket. I use a thief to draw a sample from down in the batch, capping the end of it with my palm to not let any beer in until it's deep, and makin sure I don't go deep enough to get trub. That way I don't get krausen in the thief.

    Pretty amazing how sensitive it is, though. I think I could tolerate a couple points accuracy for knowing just how warm the fermenter's getting as well as seeing that flat-line at the bottom to let me know there's no point in letting it sit any longer. What interests me most is seeing the rate of fermentation versus pitch and temperature, and then finding out what it does to flavors and quality.
     
  7. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Yes, exactly. It is perfect for just that. And, your process with the hydrometer is solid. I mean, I love my Tilt, it's my version of a video game :rolleyes:

    But take a look at the blue line where it crosses the second-from-left gray vertical line: SG went from about 1.020 to 1.030 in a couple of hours, then back to 1.025. Nonetheless I'm certain that by the 3rd vertical line, fermentation was done.

    I'll try to post a photo of the Tilt after it comes out of the fermenter, it'll make the cause plainly obvious.
     
  8. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    Brew store trip pre-empted again this morning. Leaking Shark-Bite fitting on the water heater outlet was completely unexpected. Had one identical to it in EXACTLY the same place for the better part of 10 years without a drip. This morning, wet carpet (I/O scrap, actually and fortunately) in the basement on concrete. Not worried about the carpet, but don't need to add to my mold problems. So off to the big box to get a replacement line and coupling between the water heater and the hot water line. I put it in there about 10 days ago, and nary a drip. Last night or early this morning, it decides it's time to show me who's boss. "Ya never know whatcha gonna get." Don't have much choice but to put another just like it in place. It'll take forever to plumb it back in with rigid fittings, and not something I want to do anyway. I prefer flex fittings to the hot water tank. I did put it on, and then had to remove it because the pipe was slightly too long. Maybe I damaged the o-ring in that process. Whatever, a leak is not an option. I could always just sweat a male adapter on it and use a flex hose with NPT threads both ends. That's looking like the better game plan, but now I'm worried about the Shark-Bite coupling right above the cutoff valve where I spliced the repairs to the line. GRRRRR.

    I'll get that next English Ale brewing this week if it kills me. My Leffe Abbey Blonde should be ready to bottle by the weekend, too. Two empty fermenters is a crisis.
     
  9. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    Yeah, I saw that spike, and figured it a bunch of yeast sharted on the device. The 'dog hair' on the entire line isn't surprising at all, considering you're measuring something with 3 digit accuracy. A filtered shape of the "S" is more what I would be interested in, at least more so than the 'average' straight line value that the app made. Even a 10th of a degree of temperature change is going to bounce the yeasties a little bit, and, one good chunk of krausen is gonna throw off the readings for the duration of the ferment, but it won't affect the shape of the curve much at all.

    Ever the 'perfectionist'. Nothing is perfect, but always strive to make it 'perfecter'. More info where historically there isn't any can't hurt. The big boys use completely different method, but they have a lot more brew to play with and do different tests, most of which are probably mandated by the FDA and health departments.
     
  10. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    Bought a brand new Kubota LX2610SU compact last November. I've had a blast with it.
     
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  11. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Ooh it's a wee baby tractor! I bet it's handy in tight spaces.
     
  12. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    Very handy indeed, but perhaps not so much a baby. More like a teenager.
    IMG_2575[1].JPG

    Was doing a mock-up for tying the tractor down on the 14' trailer here, and figuring out where best to put some D-Rings on the trailer. It's bigger than some think it is. Sure has sped up reclaiming this lot. I've done more work with this in 3 months than I did in the last 15 years by hand. That's a 6" chipper under the blue tarp in the background. I had the loader off in this photo, but can load the tractor with the loader on plus the box blade. That's about all that will fit on the 14 footer. This thing's almost as much fun as making beer. NEITHER of which is gonna happen today. Frog stranglin' gully washer falling at the moment.

    Well, gonna go make my starter for the first batch of Rapier Wit. Empty fermenters are idle fermenters, and I'm outta stock. I have a crisis brought on by HoneyDo's.
     
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  13. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    2L starter done. Now let's see if I'm as good at this as I want to be .....
     
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  14. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    It makes sense if the unit fits, the one I have experience with is an M125X. That looks like it would be fun to use.
     
  15. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Ok..Thanks Mark! So it's to extend the batches' life...well I pulled three 24 ounce jars of slurry off my blonde tonight..I was thinking about washing two of them to build other starters...maybe do a vitality thing with them if I don't brew any time soon.
     
  16. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't "wash" them personally but no reason you couldn't.
     
  17. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    I got exactly the same answer from Kim Thomson at Alabrew yesterday when I went to get the DME for my starter and another English recipe to try my yeast harvest technique out. I got a porter, so let's see how that goes next week after I bottle the Leffe. I told him I'd pulled the trub from a dark English ale, and was looking to use it for something I hadn't tried before, and then described my rinse procedure to him. "While you were very sterile in your technique, I recommend not doing that again." His reasoning was that the more you handle it the more risk you take in infection, regardless of how sterile you are, unless you're in a completely sterile environment. The yeast you're after dont' really want the other ingredients in the slurry, and they shouldn't be any cause for concern unless the batch is super hoppy or high ABV. There's no way to mitigate airborne bacteria and wild yeasts, especially in a humid climate. Makes sense, really, that the 'sludge' makes it's own seal against that, and that one should remember the bucket was sterile when it went in. If the beer's good, the slurry's good. Pull a bit, cover it, and use it again as soon as possible. (I think that last bit was to sell me more recipe kits.) I don't do super hoppy or high IBU beers. My end stop for IBU is about 30, otherwise it tastes like liquified ear wax to me. I'm pretty meticulous about getting the hop bags out at flame-out and before cold crash. I like a good strong (high ABV) stout with a steak or hamburger dinner, though. Strong, but not bitter, if that makes any sense at all. This is where I find oatmeal (breakfast) stouts very appealing. Too much alcohol to just sit and drink, and that flavor wants some other adventures to go with it.

    What I did learn from him yesterday, is that if repitching was going to become a part of my methods, that it's better to do a blonde/light ale first, and work my way to the darker stuff to prevent off colors from the trub slurry. Again, makes perfect sense. There's not much way to 100% clean the malt particles from the wort without some expensive filtration equipment, so dark malt particles will be in the trub. Strangely enough, I haven't noticed much difference in color of the trub from one batch to the next, regardless of beer color or style. Always, a light brown/tan color. Always. I find it a lot more pasty with oatmeal adjuncts, or perhaps a lot finer and easier to disturb when I do a DME based recipe. Even the latter gets better with longer ferments, though. One of my favorites calls for a 10 day ferment. I push to 3 weeks minimum because of how difficult it is to rack without getting trub. Even then, I rack it, then let it sit for another 3-6 hours so that more sediment will go below the valve on my filler bucket. I gotta get a lot better at my handling before I'll consider going to kegs. I don't want that in my keg, I wouldn't think.

    The primary goal of the repitch with slurry is to get the yeast count up at the start of the ferment, and higher yeast count yields faster ferment. Faster ferment reduces of some of the other yeast wastes that tend to suspend in the beer and create off flavors while waiting for minimum FG. It may not be something the amateur home brewer will ever taste or notice, but it is usually a chemical analysis that the big boys do for quality assurance and for good reports to the FDA. Homebrewers don't have the same responsibilities as the pros do, but there's no reason we can't use the same fermenting targets. I'm shooting for a 1.0 target on my next Rapier Wit batch, for the sole purpose of seeing if I can taste, smell, or see the difference in a standard dry packet or smack pack pitch. I've followed recipes enough to know it really isn't rocket science to brew even the most complex of ales. Just a few more nuts and bolts to go on the rocket to hold the 8-track player in the dashboard.

    So, "To rinse, or not to rinse, that is the question". Seems something of a personal preference. Oh, btw, Kim knows Chris White, PHD, of WhiteLabs, and dispenses the advice straight from the source, so to speak. We had some really good discussions about yeast yesterday. Very informative. Again, LEARNING is why I do this hobby. I ain't happy unless I'm learning. For the purist, or maybe perfectionist is the more correct term, rinsing it is. For the hobbyist, well, if you like extra work, knock yourself out seems to be the answer. I'm not likely to ever have anything I brew served up in a 4 star restaurant, and that's never been my intent. My intentions are to have fun, meet new people, enjoy more ales/beers of the world, and stay out of my wife's hairdo as much as possible when I retire.
     
  18. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    Yeah what they said is exactly how I view it. Which means I must be an expert! Woo!
     
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  19. RoadRoach

    RoadRoach Member

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    Very short brew day today. Started at 0945, finished up at 1200. One 5 gallon batch of Rapier Wit fermenting as I write this, and making the yeast for the next batch which I'll put on in about 2 weeks. Got an all-grain English Porter (McSorley's Black and Tan is the name) to make after I bottle the Leffe this weekend. Now, what to do with the yeast from the Leffe? I think I need to get the parts for another Leffe with an extract to see just how it compares to the all-grain version I made.
     
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  20. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    That's a Kubota?
    I used to drive some wee mini versions of this when I was working stone fruit picking.
    Not much bigger than a ride on lawn mower it was but could tow a tun of peaches!
     
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