Re-using Yeast

While surveying the internet for kegerator-making instructions, I fell upon a now-lost (to me) web page that described an unusual process for saving some money in the brewing process by saving, then re-using yeast from previous batches. At $8/smack pack, this seems like a good way to save some coin on homebrewing, further improving the value proposition.

I’ve heard all about making yeast starters and dividing that up after adding it to wort created expressly for the purpose of breeding, but frankly, that has always sounded like a lot of work.

This lost to history web page I discovered had a simpler way to harvest yeast for re-use: simply poor the dregs of a carboy into sanitized plastic bottles after doing your kegging/bottling. Up to six months later, simply open the bottle up and dump into your wort. Even I can do that.

yeast-harvest

Anyone out there tried this method before? How did it work? For the record, the yeast I’m attempting to re-use is Wyeast 1056 American Ale.



7 Responses to “Re-using Yeast”

  1. Greg Pietsch Says:


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    I’ve heard about people doing this and having it work out pretty well. I’ve been storing my yeast on plates and slants which has worked out pretty well but it is a decent amount of effort. I pretty much just do it because I enjoy it, it’s too much effort for the $ savings.

    Here’s something similar to what you are talking about where you can actually freeze your yeast.

  2. Greg Pietsch Says:


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    http://www.schwedhelm.net/brew/yeast_harv_freeze.html

  3. Andy Says:


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    I’ve done it with glass ball jars and 12oz beer bottles that I’ve capped. I’d be nervous about using PET/PP bottles since they’ll allow air in. Shouldn’t be a problem if you use it quickly though.

  4. Albert Fernandez Says:


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    I found this website for you. I usually save my yeast in a mason jar:

    http://www.mikebeer.net/reuseyeast.htm

    The technique used is similar to what you wrote about.
    I surf the net looking for home brewing info all the time. That’s how I came across your blog….excellent resource.

  5. Dave Selden Says:


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    Albert – that’s the site I was looking for! Excellent detective work!

  6. Chris Roeleveld Says:


    Visit Chris Roeleveld

    I just started doing this. With the same yeast in fact!
    I’ve read that its recommended to “wash” the yeast once or twice.
    This link is probably overkill…but if you’re into the science behind it, it’s extremely thorough:
    http://www.maltosefalcons.com/tech/yeast-propagation-and-maintenance-principles-and-practices

  7. dj Says:


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    I do it all the time! I dump the dregs from the secondary into a ball jar with a plastic lid. I purge the airspace with CO2 by just gently blowing under the lid with the gas fitting on the CO2 tank. It most always works and I have done this with yeasts months in the fridge.


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