Thursday, 28 July 2011

Yeast Washing

After primary fermentation of my Christmas Ale, I wanted to recover and store the yeast sediment for use in a future brew.

I'll detail the process, but it's the first time I've tried this, so if anyone can tell me where/if I'm doing things wrong, leave me a note in the comments at the bottom of the post.

So after I siphoned the beer into my secondary fermenter, I was left with a thick layer of yeast and sludge in the bottom of the fermenting bin.

I boiled a mason jar in a saucepan of water for 20 minutes to sterilise it, and retained 3/4 of a jar's worth of boiling water, and left it to cool with the lid clipped down to stop any nasty bugs getting in.

Once it was at room temp I tipped the water into the fermenting bin and swirled it round to get all the sediment into suspension.  Once it was all nicely mixed up, the whole lot went straight back into the mason jar, and the lid clipped down again.

The mason jar went into the fridge for half an hour or so, to allow the suspended yeast and muck to start to settle out.

The theory is that the heavy left-overs of break material and dead yeast cells settle out quicker than the active yeast, forming a sediment at the bottom of the jar. 

The active yeast cells, still in suspension at this point, can be poured off into another sterile container.

Repeat this a couple of times to get rid of as much of the dead yeast and muck as possible.

The end result!

The end result can be kept for a while in the fridge, but will need making up into a starter before it can be used for brewing.

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