How to Wash Yeast




Introduction: How to Wash Yeast

In this instructable I will show you how to reclaim your yeast from your brews. This will show you how to take one package of store bought yeast and turn it into multiple packages of yeast just by saving it after your brew. Yeast is a living organism so if you keep it healthy it will continue to multiply and make more.

Isn't microbiology fun! LOL

Step 1: What You Need

You will need your primary firmenter after you have siphoned off your beer. I have included a closeup picture of the yeast cake left behind after a primary fermentation.

Other utensils will be:

1gal demijohn (glass jug)

3 to 8 1pnt mason jars with lids

1 funnel (makes transferring easier)

1gal milk jug

1 spray bottle (optional)

Step 2: Sanatize

You will need to sanitize many things. Anything that will touch the yest will need to be sanitized due to avoiding infection. I use starsan as my sanitizer but you can also use granular sanitizers as well. What ever type you use I mix mine up in 1gal milk jugs so I can mix a gallon at a time. Also I transfer some to a spray bottle for ease of applying it to any tools/utensils that may come in contact with the yeast.

Make sure and sanatize the 1gal demijohn (glass jug). Allow 30sec of contact time so the sanitizer can kill the germs.

Step 3: The Rinse

Once you have sanitized the demijohn (glass jug) pour the excess sanitizer back into your milk jug and then fill your glass demijohn with water. Once the jug is full transfer, after sanitizing the funnel, to the fermenter with the yest cake and shake up all the yeast cake so that the yeast will dissolve into the water you just added. The yeast will now be what is called "held in suspension" in the water you added.

Step 4: Settle

Now you will wait for the "trube", or stuff that is not the yeast (bits of grain, hops, etc), to settle out of the water since you do not want that. The yeast will stay "in suspension" in the water so you don't have to worry about the yeast setting out just yet since the "trube" will settle first. I lay my fermenter on it's side to help speed up this process. If you are unable to lay your fermenter on it's side you can keep it upright but it may take longer to settle. For me and this method it takes around 15 - 30min for all to settle out. You can see in the close up picture the layers of "trube" that have formed after about 15min laying on its side and the milky looking water is where all the yeast that we want is.

Step 5: Decant the Yeast Off

Once the settling has finished after about 15 - 30min you will need to decant off the milky (yeasty) water away from the trube. To do this I use, after sanitizing again for good measure, the 1 gal demijohn to pour off the liquid yeast to.

Step 6: 2nd Settle

Once I have the majority of the water and the "trube" is now left behind we do another waiting for any other particles to further settle out. Another 15min should do the trick. You can see in this picture the settled "trube" that is in the bottom of the container. It is about 1in of it in this picture. The milky water still has the yeast in it held "in suspension"

The reason for all this waiting is so we do not introduce contaminates from the "trube" as well as we don't bring with the yeast any flavoring agents for the next beer since we will be brewing again with this yeast and it may not be the same beer.

Step 7: Sanitize Mason Jars

Now we are almost done. We need to sanitize the mason jars and prepare them for transfer of the yeast. I pour some sanitizer into each jar and place the lids on them and give them a good shake. Again allow 30sec contact time so that the sanitizer has time to kill any microbes. Once this is finished I remove the lids and pour the sanitizer back into my milk jug of sanitizer and then for good measure I spray down the lids again as well as the counter just to make sure.

Step 8: Transfer and Label

Now it is time to transfer your liquid, after it has settled, to your mason jars. In this picture I show only 3 but you can fill as many as 5 - 8. Now a key is to label these with what type of yeast it is, the date you washed it, and what generation the yeast is. For my example I have written "WLP 008, 07/11/16, 2G" . The "WLP 008" is the white labs yeast that it is. The "2G" is the 2nd generation which means this is the second time I am washing this yeast. The 1G or first generation would be the first time the yeast has been reclaimed since the store bought vial that I used initially.

Step 9: Store

Finally you will store your yeast in either your keezer or in a refrigerator. The colder the better but not freezing. I have my keezer set for 34F. After the yeast sits in the refrigerated space it will slowly settle back out of the liquid to the bottom of the jar and cake. You can see this in the close up picture of the jar.

Now all you have to do to reuse this yeast is to pull it back out of the fridge on brew day, or before if you are going to make a starter, and let it warm up to room temperature. DO NOT PUT IT IN HOT WATER TO WARM UP OR IT MAY KILL THE YEAST!!!!!!! Once it is warmed up and you are ready to either pitch it into your brew or into a starter you just have to open the lid, after spraying it with sanitizer of course, and pour off about half of the liquid and then re-apply the sanitized lid and shake the yeast back up into the remaining liquid and then reopen and pitch.

This tequinque will give you from 1 yeast packet about 4 - 8 yeast packets. Awesome cost saver!!!

Happy Brewing!!!!!

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    4 years ago

    Washing yeast for years. great way to get the qualities you want. Great write up thanks for sharing!