Re-Using Re-Capture Yeast after fermenting, Beer Home Brew

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This process comes under different names, re-using, re-capturing, rinsing, cleaning, etc.. etc., but basically after you remove the beer from the fermentor – there is a lot of nice and high quality yeast that is left over.  You can re-capture this yeast and use it again and again, and again……

Benefits are many!

  • save money, high quality yeast usually costs $8 a pack, so you can reduce the bill of each brew batch substantially
  • to brew a stable beer that comes out the same all the time, it is important to use the same strain of yeast to be consistent
  • you can easily make a lot more yeast than what you started out with from the packet, so if you wanted to say brew a bigger batch of beer, say 10 or 20 gallons, there is no need to buy 4 packets at $8 each – because you can easily make that your self
  • the yeast becomes better over time and creates even better beer, the more you re-capture the same yeast, the better the yeast becomes

It is best to collect yeast strain that you will use frequently, because if you collect some rare yeast that you don’t use a lot, just be prepared to use more real estate space in the fridge and potential stares from the wife (unless you have a dedicated fridge).  And so it is best to collect a house/classic strain, that works over broad temperatures.

Here is how we do it at Kodiak.  We put two clear growlers filled with water already into a nice 3 gallon cooking pot (also filled with water) and we heat that up to boiling and let it boil for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat, let it sit for a minute or two and remove the growlers out of the pot with a heat glove and put it on the side to cool.  Put caps on it but don’t tighten them, let them cool!

ALL the water that will make contact with the leftovers needs to be cool, it can’t be hot!!!

We like to transfer the bottom stuff let over from the fermentor into the cooking pot that we just used.   So pour in some water into the fermentor from the pot and shake it well, then transfer the ingredients from the glass carboy into the (empty) cooking pot, put a lid on it.  Let it sit for a good 30 minutes to separate out into layers, see below:

You will have water mixed with beer as the clear liquid on top, then a nice light layer of yeast, and a darker layer at the bottom of throb (left over beer reaction stuff)…

You want to get rid of the beer/water mix if there is an excessive amount out, and pour in the rest into 1 of the empty growlers. As you are pouring into growler #1 the lighter yeast layer towards the end of that, the throb will start (the darker stuff).  You don’t want to transfer the throb out of the pot or (however you do it), leave that behind, that’s the whole idea between doing the layer washing, leave the throb behind, the darker lowest layer.  If some transfers, that’s ok; but leave the majority of it!

Put in some clean fresh water from the boil into that and shake well and let it sit in the growler again for 30 minutes.

Here is how the growler will look after transfer, after shaking, looks like mud….

After 30 minutes pour the contents (using the same method) into the 2nd growler, let it sit there for 30 minutes.  If you have more empty clean growlers you could give it a 3rd transfer, but we at this point just leave it as is, label the growler and put into fridge!

Here is how the layer looks after separating in the 1st growler:

See that nice light layer at the bottom ?  that’s what you are after.  In this example and article, we actually didn’t even employ transferring into the 2nd growler, because this works so well!

Keep in mind that the yeast that you just recovered, there is much more of it than when you started from the yeast packet that you bought for $8 at the brew store.  Some people divide into smaller jars, where each jar = 5 gallon batch, but we just leave as is.

On the label I would also put the date of the re-capture!

Before using this yeast, make a starter!

In addition to our method others exists.

Cheers!

make your own search too!

 

Kodiak’s Belgian Dark Strong Ale – All Grain

 

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List of ingredients for a 5 gallon all-grain recipe.  This is considered a higher gravity beer, and so it requires yeast made for high gravity beers of this type.  We use Wyeast 3787 Trappist HG.

Grain fills up whole bag and is heavy, double bag it!!!!

For this beer we have also employed a yeast starter a few days ahead of brewing the beer.

Your brew store might not have the exact grains listed, ask the store folks, you can substitute as close as possible.  For example, instead of the German Wheat, we used American Wheat, since the store didn’t carry that.

On our first try the OG was 1.068, and FG 1.016, ( 1.016 – 1.068, time 131 = 6.83%, almost 7% ) we weren’t sure if this was because of some of the grain substitution or our mash method for that day, but it still worked out really good and the final beer was fantastic!

Primary fermentation will last 2 weeks, because of the higher gravity, it will just keep on working and working…  Secondary fermentation stage is HIGHLY recommended!

Also, don’t forget to re-capture the yeast from the bottom of the primary fermentor, there will be lots and lots! of great and healthy yeast that you can use for your next brew or you can share and give away to friend for their brew;  save them money!

OG 1.075 ~ 1.110 +/-
FG 1.010 ~ 1.25 +/-

ABV / Alcohol by Volume about 7 ~ 11%
IBU / 20-35
Color (SRM) 12 ~ 22

  • 12 lb of German Pilsner Malt, stores will probably sell Euro Pilsner Malt
  • 1 lb German Wheat Malt, substitute with American Wheat
  • 2 lb Crystal 20L
  • 2 lb Crystal 60 L
  • 1/2 lb Belgian Special B
  • 2 ounces East Kent Goldings (bittering, add at start of boil)
  • 2 lb Amber Candi Sugar (last 5 minutes)
  • 1 ounce Hallertauer (end of boil, 0 minutes)

BOIL for 60 minutes and add all the ingredients at the right time.

Strike the grains at 160F, and mash the grains at 152F for 75 minutes.  Re-Sparge with 170F water for 30 ~ 60 minutes (longer is better).  For this batch we mashed with 5 gallons of strike water and for re-mash we used another 4 gallons, for 9 gallons total.

AGAIN, Primary ferment at 68 ~ 71 for 2 weeks, you should rack into secondary fermentation for additional 2~3 weeks.  Primary fermentation will BE vigorous, you should consider employing a blow-off hose.

Age for 3 months any beer you brew, (some longer) its the best thing to do!  Also before serving we cold-crash our kegs that hold the beer, this helps to clear the beer and gives it a superb taste and everything else becomes much better!

Don’t forget to take the OG gravity reading and if you can take a temperature reading as well, record both into your Brewing Log.

making a yeast starters, beer brewing

 

Starters are done to wake up the yeast and get it nice and active, so that by the time it is introduced to the wort (un-fermented beer), it goes right to work.  Starters do a better job of converting all the sugars and preventing any unwanted flavors in the beer.  This generally reduces the fermenting period and just overall does a better job in making better beer.

We have made many great beers simply by pitching dry yeast over the top, but other better method do exist and this is one of them.

  • an Erlenmeyer Flask (made out of Pyrex) used is laboratories, [able to withstand extreme cold or heat temperature exchanges], cover top with aluminum foil
  • 2 cups of water
  • DME – Dry Malt Extract, 1/2 cup, the light versions don’t much affect the final beer recipe
  • yeast

Mix the water and DME in a pan, mix that all up and bring it to a rolling boil, then as soon as the boil happens, let that boil for 10 minutes, turn off.

Transfer the wort into the Erlenmeyer flask and then you can dip that into cold water with ice and cool it that way, its a small volume of wort, so won’t take long to cool, you don’t need any fancy equipment to cool it with.

If you don’t use the flask, the quick temperature exchanges of hot to cold will probably crack the glass, so that’s why you want to use it, plus it looks cool :- ) like you know what you are doing!

Get it down to about  75 F or about there.  Put your yeast into the flask, if you are OCD, then get it off the sides of the flask, so it is nice and clean.  Put some aluminum foil over it.

Leave it at room temperature just like you would your wort.

You are making basically a mini-beer, so you want to employ all sanitation principles like you would normally do with making regular beer.

This recipe is good for 5 gallon starters, if you are going to make larger batches, then you might need a bigger flask, use common sense :- ) ask people if you are not sure, join a beer forum.

Stir Plates are a good idea, most semi-serious+ brewers own and use them all the time…

 

you can buy one or make one if you want to, here is a DIY:

http://blog.makezine.com/2006/08/10/diy-magnetic-stir-plate/

Fin.

Cold-Dropping Beer

Many various techniques exists, some people drop after fermentation is over and before bottling, and yet some simply cold-drop the kegs already filled with the beer for about a week, before serving, I will explain both.

Most home-brewed beer is left in a lot of its natural state, most people don’t use filters for example, there are debates over its pros and cons.  If you don’t filter your beer, there is always going to be a small amount of yeast and other floaters that will make it out of the fermentor and into kegs or bottles (if you bottle).

Even when you can’t see it, yeast is suspended in the beer and it does affect its look, color, taste and overall body of the beer.  So what a lot of people do, is take the keg and cold-drop it, or simply put, put it into a fridge (whatever setup) as cold as possible, but still above freezing and leave the keg there for about a week.

All the yeast and other floaters that are suspended in the beer will fall to the bottom of the keg, a thin layer will form at the bottom (not in any way bad), so then all the beer that comes out will be nice and clean, crisp, nice color, taste, and everything will improve SUBSTANTIALLY.

If you were to split a batch of beer into two kegs, and cold-drop one and not the other, you would see and experience the differences, if you want to do a comparison.

If you don’t employ a cold-drop and simply put the keg into the keggenator fridge, it too will help, the cold temperature will basically do the same thing, but will take a little longer, so don’t worry if you can’t get it to almost freezing.

Some people apply this technique to the fermentor after the fermentation is done and over with, for about a week, so then when the beer is transferred to the kegs or however bottled, there too you will gain a lot of benefit.

Fin