Never wash your yeast again?

Discussion in 'Beer Making' started by jswordy, Apr 3, 2017.

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  1. Apr 3, 2017 #1

    jswordy

    jswordy

    jswordy

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    I have a friend who is a lager home brewer here. We were tipping pints at a local brewpub (http://straighttoale.com/) and talking beer when he dropped a bombshell.

    He never washes his yeast.

    Says he gets the beer off the lees, empties the lees into sanitized Mason jars, lets them sit covered a little bit to settle, carefully pours off the beer from the top, and puts them in the fridge.

    Next time he brews, he opens the jars and pours it in.

    Guy makes really good beers. Hmmmm...
     
  2. Apr 3, 2017 #2

    richmke

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    Must be all the dead yeast adding that special flavor to the batch.
     
  3. Apr 4, 2017 #3

    ceeaton

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    I now do the same thing, but only for my ales, and only when using expensive liquid cultures. If I'm using dry yeast, I just buy a new sachet. I used to maintain a yeast bank on agar slants, no more. That stated, I don't reuse the yeast much more than three times. I know I have good sanitation, but not that good. I do always rack off of the lees when my SG gets within a few points of where I think it will end up, which means the beer isn't on the lees very long in the primary. If I'm going to keep it in the secondary for a while, and it's an ale (which it usually is) I rack it a week after my original racking to keep the trub/lees to a minimum on the bottom. What is left over from that racking is what I save in the sterilized mason jar inside a plastic bag in the coldest part of the fridge.

    I never save my lager yeast and repitch, but I guess you could.

    And a PS, there isn't as much dead yeast in there as you think. Most of it is pieces/parts of grain and hops, plus viable yeast in the process of starting to take a nap. At least that is what I saw under my microscope.

    Edit: And now that I'm thinking about it, another reason I don't wash my yeast is that I suspect I have a greater chance of introducing an infection during the washing process than if I don't wash it. And weighing that idea against potential off flavors from autolized yeast, which are really just yeast nutrients if the quantities aren't really high, I choose to not wash my yeasties.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  4. Apr 4, 2017 #4

    BernardSmith

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    I imagine that in the past no one would have washed their yeast and those brewing may simply have harvested their yeast as soon as they could and dumped another barrel of wort onto the froth. Almost but not quite what they call solera brewing (the process of removing a volume of beer from a fermenter and replacing the amount removed with a fresh batch of wort). Never tried this but presumably the colony of yeast becomes massive
     
  5. Apr 7, 2017 #5

    jswordy

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    I checked again with the guy and he says he picked it up from an extended online discussion at a brewing forum. Interesting stuff in that discussion, he said, but what made him try it was when the chat veered into evidence that washing yeast actually may harm it more than help.

    Anyway, I might try it just to see. I hear ya, Craig, on the liquid yeast being pricey for single use.
     
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  6. Apr 10, 2017 #6

    jswordy

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