Sunday, December 12, 2010

Washin' Yeasties

It's early Sunday morning and I'm getting ready to brew an IPA. Since it's my favorite style of beer I want to master it and have a "go-to" recipe. The idea is to use a basic recipe and build upon that. This batch actually started a week ago because I decided to harvest yeast from the chocolate stout. The beer was ready to be transferred for secondary fermentation and I read this is the ideal time to do this.

I found a step-by-step instructional on how to wash yeast a while back. Bernie Brewer's thread on illustrates how easy it is. The process allows you to re-use yeast from previous batches. It's obvious how cost effective washing yeast can be considering liquid packages can be $6 per 5 gallon batch. Washing yeast can yield multiple batches because you're actually harvesting living organisms. These yeast cells can multiply with the right conditions. The key here, like most brewing techniques, guessed it...SANITATION!! I'm confident with my sanitation practices and decided to give it a shot:

Boiling and sanitizing everything.

Filled to the brim and sealed with the boiled water.

The layer of trub and yeast in suspension.

Awaiting my layers of beer, yeast and trub to settle.

The end result. The thin white layer is yeast that has been removed from the trub.

I've estimated enough yeast for about three more five gallon batches. The same amount of liquid Wyeast from the store would have cost about $20. Prost to saving money! I can't explain how easy this process was. Follow the instructions from Bernie's instructions and take your time. Almost any questions have has probably already been covered if you search.

To ensure the yeast would be viable and ready to ferment, I made a starter on Friday. This is another first for me. The hope here is to allow the yeast time to reproduce and build up their numbers. If successful fermentation should take off like a rocket. I made a 1 liter starter with 1 cup DME. Using Mr. Malty I calculated about 90mL of yeast slurry to use:

Surprise, more sanitizing.

The wort chilling after a 10 minute boil.

Yeast to be pitched. I decanted most of the extra beer. The jar on the left has already been shook to awake the yeast.

Fermentation the next morning. No stir plate, so I'm shaking the bottle every time I pass.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: The IPA has been brewed and the starter has been pitched. So far there hasn't been any noticeable activity. I'm not panicing, but definitely starting to get a little concerned. Here's hoping things are rocking when I get home.

1 comment:

  1. Have to get your uncle to look at this! Your right this could save you a bundle in the end. And lets face it, beer has been around a lot longer than little foil packets!! :-)