StillDragon® Community Forum


Be part of our community & join our international next generation forum now!

In this Discussion

How do you keep and grow Yeast?

edited August 2014 in General

Hi today I was given 500 grams of yeast from a local brewery. smells great. What I need to know is how to keep it and how to grow more to keep this strain going on into the future. I'm planning on using it in a wheat whiskey and a malt extract whiskey. Thanks



  • You should be fine keeping that yeast sealed in the fridge for the next 1-2 weeks, (assuming it is fresh). As for growing it out for future uses, if you don't have a ferment ready for the next few weeks, pitch it in to a a gallon jug with a malt extract starter (you need complex sugars so the yeast strain doesn't get lazy and lose the ability to ferment them especially if you goal is grain based spirits). Check out some of the homebrew forums for more in depth discussions on yeast starters, propagation etc.

  • I'd suggest the following 4 step propagation methodology:

    Step 1: Make friends with everyone at the brewery.

    Step 2: Make sure you are always seen wearing the brewery t-shirt and hat.

    Step 3 (critical): Whoever is in charge of yeast, take him or her out for a nice steak dinner, don't cheap out. In some cases a lobster tail might be necessary to ensure success, do it now, it'll save you money long term.

    Step 4: When needed, ask for yeast and get it.

    No really, pick up a copy of White and Zainasheff's Yeast. It's good stuff. If you want to keep it long term, you are going to need to get the equipment and learn to make slants, and then how to create starters from slants. While you can probably dip off your 500ml for a few weeks, it's eventually going to die out or get infected.

    If you had a stir plate, you could probably use the 500ml to create a number of starters. Get brewing before that yeast goes to waste.

  • Wait, you said grams, is it dry?

  • pro brewers use a yeast bank that is very similar to what a lot of us use as a boiler..... google yeast bank, yeast propagation, and yeast washing. spend some hours studying and keep in mind that yes, purity is important, but not quite as important in brewing, and ancient brewers kept yeast alive on a family 'stick' hanging in their mud and thatch huts....

    also remember that that same brewery has an endless supply of fresh yeast, whereas yours will eventually change to your environment, that is what yeast do... heck, see if you can get a few buckets of 'last runnings' of wort off the mash, add some malt extract to boost the gravity... and you know the rest....

  • @grim: ymmd! :))

    StillDragon Europe - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Europe & the surrounding area

  • Use some of it to make a ujsm. Keep the ujsm going and you keep the yeast going. You can use malt barley as the ujsm base it doesn't have to have corn on it.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Hi guys, thanks for all the info. Today I put a small amount in to a flask with malt extract sugar, and dap. Tomorrow I'll set up a malt barley ujsm and a wheat ag wash. Now to do some home work on yeast propagation and be nice to the truckie to score more yeast to work with. Thanks again.

  • Not sure what strain it is but it is an ale yeast.

  • @jasse said: Not sure what strain it is but it is an ale yeast.

    That'd be pretty important to know. What kind of beer did they pull the slurry from? Like grim said, keeping it long term requires a bit if equipment and plenty of know how. If you keep repitching over multiple generations you will start to get mutants which will eventually overtake things and not in a good way, don't think pleasant house strain, more like a bunch of headaches like low attenuation, off flavors, poor flocculation, and so forth. With good procedures you can easily get five generations out of it without much degradation though.

  • edited September 2014

    I usually make a starter from the first 400ml out of the fermenter and the yeast cake. However trying to be more scientific about the process, and having some success using the steps found here. They recommend using malt because they are making beer, and the yeast is feeding off that. I find dextrose works well for a spirit wash. Also I make a couple of litres of starter. Rossco

  • What @grim said is the truth. Truly keeping your own yeast bank is not worth it for the small guy. The equipment and time alone is like taking up a new hobby and I for one, don't need that.

    Get in good with the people that brew at your local brewery. Give them some beer...a bottle of the good stuff...etc. It's nothing to them to dump a little off the fermenter. There are many local brewers here that will give out yeast for free once you get to know them. Don't bug them though. Drop off a sanitized jar with a six pack and leave it for them to fill when they transfer they're batch from fermenter to bright tank. You'll never need to do a starter if you get it fresh because the amount you'll get will be plenty, and healthy too.

  • I've done a lot of reading over the last few days and keeping a yeast bank looks a bit full on. Spoke to the boys where I got the yeast and they said when needed I'm welcome, as long as I service their cool rooms. Which should not be a problem as I'm a refrigeration mech. Thanks again.

  • Sounds like they are getting a hell of a deal.

  • Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

  • i think that punkin's plan for a UJSSM style yeast bed would be my best advice I have collected the yeast from when I am changing the grain type and then repitched it in the next fermentation and it kicked off really well. For me that would be the easiest and simplest method that would definatley work.

  • The debate rages about harvesting and re-pitching yeast.
    I've done it often and with great success. Your mileage may vary.

    Deep down, I think that your ability to keep the yeast happy and healthy and not changing the ferments' recipe is the ticket.

    I know I did over 20 generations, building up to 50 gallons per generation, starting with a single packet of yeast. Had I not left the country it certainly would have been more generations.

  • The first lot is done and came out well. Not sure if I have done the second round right, but this is what I've done -racked off first wash then cleared and distilled -soaked 5kg malt in 65c water over night(in a cheese cloth bag) then added 5kg of dextrose and a can of malt extract.Mixed well and aerated till it has cooled to 25c -added to turd in original fermenter(bag of grain included) and added 20g of dap -fitted air lock and put into temp controlled fridge at 20c. Started bubbling in about 2hours.

  • Is the grain cracked mate? If so you only need to keep it at 65 for an hour or so.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • I suppose I didn't say what I and some other brewers do. Make a starter with it, except make it larger than needed so you can draw off some yeast from it and save that to be the base of the next starter. This gives you the benefit of minimizing stress from higher gravity ferments and you don't have to worry about washing the yeast.

  • Thanks G didn't think of that. Having success with my beer washes farming the yeast. Gonna try the 1118 in the vodka wash I cube on the weekend.

  • All grain is cracked. I'll cut the cook time on the next one.

  • Recently I have done a bunch of 10ml containers to freeze. I added 30% glycerine to stop it from fully freezing and rupturing the cell walls. It turns solid but its not really frozen. It reforms to liquid within a couple of minutes after taking it out of the freezer. I have not tried to make starters with these yet but Im keen to see how long I can store viable yeast this way. Others seem to have success. Its way less work than making slants imo.

  • edited September 2014

    Gotta have visuals:)


    800 x 450 - 43K
  • edited September 2014

    Would love to know how it works out, guessing based on the density, it would save at least two steps propagating from slants, quite a bit of time, and the effort of making your own slants.

    Not sure what I would do with the rest of this agar agar.

  • Make faux turkish delight? :)

    Will keep this updated. They have been in the freezer for a month and will probably do a starter in the next week or 2. If they last me a year I will be happy.

  • Have any of you tried to just keep your origional starter going independently of your main fermentation. Not sure if that would work as a way to maintain a "pure" version of the strain. I suppose you could run a basic fermentation just to propogate the yeast, but am not sure what recipe you would use. It would have to be consistent and yeast friendly. Always keep back some of the starter to build up stock for the next fermentation.

  • You risk autolysis if you don't ferment. Anyone who's smelt that would try and avoid it in the future. ~:>

    Slants are the best way for long term storage. But you need some equipment.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Reading back through this topic I think @Grudaire mentioned the same thing. Keeping a starter going between fermentations. As opposed to harvesting yeast post fermentation. I suppose this means running 2 parallel fermentations. A smaller vol, simple recipe to maintain a starter and your main fermentation with recipe of your choice.

Sign In or Register to comment.