Author Topic: Reusing my Yeast Cake  (Read 5935 times)

Offline Big B

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Reusing my Yeast Cake
« on: November 10, 2011, 10:08:32 PM »
So I have a batch of Winter Ale Fermenting, and I am planning on bottling it this weekend.  I also am planning on brewing again this weekend.  I am making a pale ale.  I used the WLP005 in my Winter Ale.  After I empty the carboy can I put a stopper on it and then funnel the fresh  cooled wort right onto the yeast cake at the bottom of the carboy?  I am somewhat interested if any of the spiced flavor of the winter ale will transfer to my Pale Ale, which might be good, but I didn't know if this could be done or should be done.  What are your thoughts?
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Offline Beer_Tigger

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2011, 06:20:25 AM »
You can do it.  I do it all the time.  Up to 3 times.
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Offline Johnnyv42

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2011, 10:15:43 AM »
I just did the same thing. I had made a batch of lower gravity 60 shilling beer. I bottled the 60 shilling directly from the fermentor (actually I transferred it to a bottling bucket 1st) and that same day I made a batch of wee heavy, target OG 1.100! The yeast are very happy in that high OG wort and have been very actively consuming those sugars for a week now. It's impressive to see them so active for so long. It definitely worked for me!
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Offline pcollins

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2011, 07:20:20 PM »
Yes, you can absolutely do this and it will work great.

If you are concerned about the spices carrying over into the new brew then I would maybe think twice about it. Normal process for me is to start with a very pale beer and move towards darker and lower abv to higher abv. But what you're doing will work fine.

Offline Big B

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2011, 10:28:54 PM »
Thanks everyone.  Do you have to clean or rinse the yeast at all or can you just go with it as is?  Should I shake it up pretty good after the new wort is introduced or would it be good to go?

Thanks again
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Offline pcollins

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2011, 06:29:00 AM »
I've done both.

I've pitched directly on to a yeast cake with no washing or anything. Takes off like a rocket and be ready for some serious blow off. I'll only do this when I'm following the procedure mentioned in my previous post of lighter beers to darker beers and lower abv to higher abv. This way the latter beer will cover up any flavours contributed by the yeast from the earlier beer.

I've also washed and pitched on that yeast and it also works fine but it took off a bit slower.


Offline Beer_Tigger

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2011, 06:16:10 AM »
My experience is the same as pcollins'.
"Let's see if this here beer will help me to stop procrastinating." - my cousin

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2011, 06:56:22 PM »
In the past I have, on days when the primary needed racking and I happened to be making a batch on the same day, used a scoop of sludge from the newly racked primary instead of a fresh packet of yeast.

I remember getting a tour of Casco Bay Brewery (Portland Maine) and the brewmaster used yeast from a previous batch to prime the one he made that day.  Of course he is using massive stainless steel conicals while I am using glass carboys, so he doesn't have the same hop bits and crap that I have. Difference between a profession and a hobby.  When I asked him about it he said they pay big bucks for a fresh strain every few months (think about what White Labs charges for yeast to ferment five gallons, and imagine what they charge for a professional sized sample), and in the mean time reuse what they've got until it gets contaminated.

Only reason I don't do it more often is a matter of planning and convenience.

I'm not so keen on the idea of racking onto a yeast cake because I like to clean and sanitize all vessels before and after use, so racking into a "dirty" container is not something I would do.
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Offline pcollins

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2011, 07:02:36 PM »
Yes! Exactly as Maine Homebrewer says.

That's exactly the process in the brewery I work in. The only exception would be that we don't reuse yeast until it gets contaminated, we reuse it only for a certain number of generations or months, whichever comes first. We don't want the yeast to get to the point of getting contaminated as that would not be very good for the beer.

I've actually been able to plan for tomorrow's brew day. I'm brewing a spiced beer for the holidays and transferred a pale ale into secondary today so I will be using that yeast cake for tomorrow's beer. Yeast, hops, trub and barm! All the goodness!

Offline tighniamh

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Re: Reusing my Yeast Cake
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 08:11:32 AM »
I will reuse the yeast up to three times, I just pitch in on the old yeast cake. I use hop bags and grain bags in my boil to contain all the bits and usually have a very clean yeast cake to work with. I wipe down the inside of my fermenter with paper towels soaked in Starsan to clean down to the top of the yeast.  I will be making an IPA this week that will follow the Pale that's fermenting right now.
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