Yeast Starter/harvesting

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Daddyjax, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Daddyjax

    Daddyjax New Member

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    So I am off to a better start and having some good success. I made a starter once for one of my beers and it turned out great.

    My line of thinking is a little off from my quick research in regards to starters and harvesting. My mind says using DME would alter the flavor of the yeast. But nothing in the research supports this. Also same thing for harvesting. I would think that the yeast would change for the food it consumes and environment much like anything else in this world. Am I wrong with this train of thought?

    This is something that I am wondering because I would like to make several batches of yeast from one package by making a starter, and then another and another, one after the other to get several ready for brewing or just for a large batch of high gravity but dont want to compromise the flavor. I also dont want to have unexpected flavor profiles from a harvested batch.
     
  2. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    You're off to a great start. Yeast can be propagated (used over and over) but it will naturally drift in it's characteristics because the "pure strain yeasts" are not genetically identical, there more like a really close family. After a while certain members of the family will slowly out produce or dominate the pitch of yeast. That's why when you use the yeast over and over again the characteristics drift. Because of this most pros and homebrewers will not reuse the yeast more than 10 or so times. The other problem with reusing yeast is that, along with the yeast multiplying in numbers, so do the bacteria.

    As far as the yeast picking up a flavors from the DME in the starter, I don't think you have anything to worry about. Barley wort is the ideal food for growing yeast. I grow lager yeasts in wort at temperatures between 65-75F. The yeast produces a nasty lager at that temperature and on the high end it gets phenolic. But when the beer from the starter is decanted off the yeast and only the yeast is pitch into wort at @ 45F, it behaves beautifully and produces a super clean beer. So the yeast changes it's behavior and flavor with it's environment, especially when the temperature varies.

    If you pitch just the yeast from one beer to another, very little of the flavor of the original beer carries over. The problem comes in when someone adds a wort on top of a entire trub/yeast cake from previous beer, then a larger portion of beer, hops and trub flavors carry over to the next beer.

    As far as maker a starter to use in other starters, this can be done. Sometimes when I make a starter I will make it 1/2 liter larger than I need. I will pour of the extra into a sanitized mason jar for later and pitch the rest into a beer. I also keep packs of dry yeast and make starters for higher gravity beers with great success.

    It's important to keep in mind that proper pitch rates, aeration and temperatures will help to bring out the best of your yeast or if neglected, it will bring out the worst in your yeast.

    Happy brewing!
     
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  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Starters are a great way to get acquainted with the yeast your using as well. You get a glimpse at how vigorously they ferment that starter. I find after a few generations they don't flock as good they wanna hang around at the party instead of going to sleep:p. I love the creamy smell of a freshly spun yeast starter your nose will tell you if it's good. My last lager was a 1lt saved trub pitch where I decanted out 1 LT of previous batched slurry and pitched that toward my next batch it went off without a hitch and behaved nicely I didn't mind if the previous Sazz hops ended up milling with the Marzen hops all good.

    It's part of the process enjoy.
     
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  4. Daddyjax

    Daddyjax New Member

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    Cool, thanks guys!
     
  5. Markbrew65

    Markbrew65 New Member

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    so for keeping the yeast could you use the plastic 1kg LME containers that we get, they have a screw on lid and seem to seal.

    Just wondering if the plastic is ok
     
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  6. Markbrew65

    Markbrew65 New Member

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  7. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I don't see why not but glass is easier to clean and sterilise. I use borosilicate glasses designed for this purpose then I can boil em up and fill me with with phosphoric acid ready for use.

    See me saved 34/70 slurry in pic.
     

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  8. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    If you can clean and sanitise it I don't see why not , I often store extra yeast in spare swingtop bottles and not had problems yet .
    No such thing as too clean when it comes to brewing so be extra vigilant when storing yeast as like Ben said the bacteria multiply just as well as yeast do
     
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  9. Markbrew65

    Markbrew65 New Member

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    Thanks Trailben,

    Might give them a go as I have a lot of them

    Can you get yeast from a brew that has been crash chilled as I do that with most of my brews to clear them.
     
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  10. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    yes...It tends to go dormant and you'll want to hold it at room temp for a bit to warm it up before you pitch it on a batch or a starter (depending on how much you have in the container).
     
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  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    +2 what JA said that slurry in that borosilicate jar is cold crashed slurry swirled up and drained out the tap. No cooled boiled water added just swirled the couple hundred grams of beer still left in fermentor to mix the slurry up. Yeast keeps better under beer than water:).
     
  12. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    If the it hasn't been transferred to a secondary, it's no big deal.

    If it has been transferred to a secondary, then you are getting the least flocculant of the yeast cells and perhaps not the healthiest of the original pitch. It will also drift from the original strain quicker.
     
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  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Or are you getting the cells that have remained active when the others have given up and dropped to the bottom during primary? :D
     
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  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I usually spin a larger starter than needed and keep some aside for next brew then spin that up ect ect. But lately I've not been well enough prepared so have just pitched slurry so far so good:rolleyes:.
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Exactly: The least flocculant cells.
     
  16. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    The less flocculant yeast isn't always the healthiest or the best. A strain that is more flocculant is healthy if it flocs. The yeast cells will bind to each other when the nutrients are gone and drop out. The less floculant in that pitch will stay in suspension. The yeast that stayed in suspension will have different fermentation characteristics than the original pitch and over time will drift away from the original.

    If you want a less flocculant yeast, then chose one that matches the desired effect. Just because a yeast is more flocculant doesn't mean it won't attenuate very well. Case and point WLP007, Dry English Ale. It flocs super fast and the beer finishes dry and well attenuated.

    You can harvest yeast from the secondary, but the best yeast in in the primary.
     
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