Repitching yeast

Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:39 am

For my first AG attempt, I thought I would take the Justin route and complicate several parameters. Right now, I've got a brown ale sitting on the yeast and trub in primary. It's the British ale yeast that I want to use for my next batch so I want to repitch after I transfer the beer to a secondary vessel. Instead of racking directly onto the yeast and trub, I thought I would try to harvest the top yeast layer into a starter (also a first) by swirling the last of the beer and pitching into some sanitary wort. Once this is going strong I can repitch. Am I complicating things? Should I just rack onto the yeast and trub in my carboy? I just worry about volume. I don't want to have to use a blow-off tube. Or what about just pitching the harvested yeast layer without a starter? Now that I think about it, I forgot to buy the damn DME to even make a starter. It wouldn't be a complete brew day unless I screwed something up.
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Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:56 am

If I remember JZ's second show talks a lot about repitching yeast (Sept last year or so).

I think he said he flames the mouth of the carboy when done racking the beer out of it then collecting the slurry in an Nalgene bottle (or other sanitary container - he sterlizes these in a pressure cooker). Store cold.

To use, pour sterlized water (boiled and cooled is fine) onto the slurry and shake it up to rouse the yeast. After 10 or 15 minutes decant the creamy stuff into your chilled and oxygenated wort.

Jamil, correct me here if I am remembering wrong... I drink, you see.

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Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:09 pm

Excellent suggestion, Push. I managed to quickly download the archived episode and listened to it on my iPod at work. It was briefly covered, but what I got out of it was enough to have a much better game plan, i.e. no starter. Thanks!
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Sat Aug 05, 2006 8:44 pm

I use the JZ method when I want to save the yeast for awhile, but most of the time I just time my brew so that I am racking off from the primary yeast during the boil for the next beer I want to ferment with that yeast. I then just rack the cooled wort directly onto the yeastcake in the carboy. I figure that if the carboy was sanitary enough for the beer I just took out of it, it is sanitary enough for the new beer going into it. Besides, I'm a lazy SOB and this way I don't have to clean the carboy for another week and a half or so.

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Sun Aug 06, 2006 3:20 am

Push describes it correctly.

I personally wouldn't go directly onto the yeast from the previous batch without adjusting for pitching rate and getting rid of the dead yeast. Overpitching and dead yeast will both contribute to off flavors and less head retention in the finished beer.

The quick rinse lets the dead yeast, hop bits, and other crud drop to the bottom of the container.

Use the pitching rate calculator at to figure out how much of the yeast cake to use in the next batch.

Two simple things, but they help make for consistent and proper fermentations.
I hope my post helped in some way. If not, please feel free to contact me.

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Sun Aug 06, 2006 1:33 pm

Where is the separation taking place, in the carboy or in the nalgene bottle? I'm a little confused on where to rinse. Am I pouring sterile water into the carboy or the nalgene, or both? And hypothetically, what happens if I forgot to flame the mouth of the carboy, ahem.

Well, what's done is done. I guess I deserve a pat on the back for finally doing an AG batch and I'm sure I'll be happy with the end result, but it's for my FFL Draft party, so I don't have to drink it all. In any case, I'm anxious to see what's happening with the fermentation when I get home from work. "Cheers" to all o' y'all that get to hang out and listen live. I have to work every Sunday night. Sux.
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Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:35 am

I just did a similar thing yesterday. I had an APA that was secondarying in my carboy and while my stout was brewing I racked and bottled the APA. Then when the stout was ready I pitched it right on to the yeast cake. We'll see how it goes...

That means I'm using WLP001 in a stout.. not ideal but we'll see how it goes. I've heard this yeast is pretty versatile so maybe it'll be drinkable :)
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Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:15 am

When you collect the yeast in your container put it in the fridge. The cold temperature will cause the yease to settle to the bottom. after a few days you will see three layers. the top will be beer, the second will be trub/dead yeast and the bottom will be the good yeast.
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