Gowanus Brewery

Yeast Starter by Jeremy
March 25, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: yeast

Life has been keeping me busy lately, but this weekend I got around to experimenting with yeast starters.

I poured off the yeast slurry from my last two batches of wheat beer to save and reuse. The first was a German wheat yeast and the other an American wheat yeast. They’ve been sitting in sanitized beer bottles in our refrigerator for a few weeks covered with aluminum foil. By adding just the yeast that settled at the bottom of those bottles to a small amount of fresh beer wort, I can propagate these two strains indefinitely.

The primary benefit of propagating your own yeast is to save money. I haven’t done the math, but we’re talking pennies on the dollar. The second major benefit is that you gain control over the amount of yeast you pitch for your beer to achieve a more efficient fermentation. I’ve read that it is ideal to pitch yeast at a rate in the neighborhood of one part yeast slurry to ten parts wort.

This weekend, I’m brewing up another batch of the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale and I’ll pitch the yeast I grew this past weekend.  We’ll see how it goes!

3 Comments so far
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I really would suggest something with a better seal for keeping yeast in the fridge: how about a canning jar or at least a bottle with an airlock on it?
If you use a canning jar, you have to burp it every once in a while and reseal it.
If you use an airlock, make sure the yeast is still slightly active so that it won’t suck the liquid down into the bottle when it cools.

And don’t forget to flame the lip of the jar before you transfer yeast! Cheers

Comment by Seanywonton (Sean White)

Thanks Sean. That first time around I rushed to save my yeast without doing any homework. From here on out, as you suggested, I’ll use either airlocks or canning jars to protect my yeast in the fridge. And of course a little fire to keep the bottle tops free of contamination…

Comment by Jeremy

[…] grew this yeast up from a 6-ounce starter last week in about a quart of a simple wort. That lag between making the starter and pitching it will be […]

Pingback by First Yeast Starter Pitched « Gowanus Brewery

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