It was just last week a customer came in and had this brilliant idea. He told me he was going to start canning his wort for starters. You may be thinking, “Wow, great idea…” with plenty of sarcasm, but think about it for a second. By canning your wort for starters, you just made a huge shortcut for making a starter. Pretty much once your yeast gets to room temp, you are ready to go! No more hassle, no more wasted time. The key to brewing for me is learning how to cut down the time it takes to make it without diminishing the final product. This is one of those tricks that you can do that will give you that result.
Check the video below. They tell you how to do it exactly right step by step.
You can freeze yeast? You bet you can! This post really goes with the conjunction of the how to make starters post we did last week. Harvesting, and freezing yeast is simply a great way to save money on brewing beer which only means one thing – you can brew more beer. This post is my attempt in breaking down how to actually freeze your yeast so you can use it again in the future.
Why Would You Want To Freeze Your Yeast?
The reason why you would want to freeze your yeast is that you are saving about $7 for every tube that you pull out of the freezer. That means you can buy more ingredients and make more beer! This method is really meant to make 50-200 billion cells. With frozen vials of yeast, you would want to make a starter for them to ensure that you got a good fermentation (or double pitch).
Some General Supplies That You Are Going To Need
A large amount of yeast that you are going to want to save in the future – this will be made with a starter
Some tubes that you can keep your yeast in. The best are the white labs tubes. If you don’t have any you can always just buy the tubes online as well.
Collect yeast by chilling a culture that you made before with our amazing yeast starter guide. – It goes into details about how to separate the wort and yeast at the end of that post.
Pour off the wort leaving enough to just allow the yeast to be suspended in a dense mixture (aka slurry).
A quart starter can usually be reduced to 1/40th the volume giving you 100 billion cells in 25 millimeters (1.5 tablespoons of yeast per baby test tube)
Sanitize the outside of the test tubes with rubbing alcohol
Take 1.5 tablespoons of yeast and put into the baby soda bottles aka white labs yeast containers (they are listed in the supplies above)
Add an equal amount of glycerol to each of the vials (make sure the glycerol is at a 1:5 ratio with sanitized water)
Cap the tube and swirl without making it frothy.
Now fill up the remainder with 10% glycerin mixture
Make sure there is enough room for expansion because it is going to freeze
Put test tubes in test tube holder
Take gel packs and surround the yeast packages with them.
The gel packs will slow down the process of the freezing for the yeast
Gel packs will help prevent the yeast thawing when the freezer cycles
When you plan on using the yeast, take them out of the freezer
Soak them in water that is about 100 degree’s. Swirl until the yeast has thawed out
Remove the tube from the water, make a starter and pitch yeast into starter
I know this can be confusing as you read this and may seem a bit overwhelming or intimating but if I can do it – you can do it. If you have any questions just let me know. There are some other methods to freezing yeast which I have used in the past, but this method is one that gives me pretty good results every time I use it.
Personal Note: The way to think about doing this is just make a really bit starter, or a few big starters and then freeze the yeast out of that. It doesn’t make sense to do this with every type of yeast that you use but ones you know you are going to use a lot. WLP 001 is classic as well as 1056. I usually will only freeze yeast for about a year. I don’t like going over that. In the summer time if you like wheats and know you are going to make a hand full of wheats starting from April – August freeze your wheat yeast, same goes with stouts using 004 for the fall and winter or 001 for year round, I’m sure you get the picture.
If you have any tips on how to do this or would like to share your method, please let us know in the comment section below! Cheers!
As of late I hear about yeast starters. Seems as if everyone is doing one. Truth be told, I do not make yeast starters. I’ve done them so I can learn how to do them, but I just don’t make them for my beers. Call it laziness, call it product of habit, but how I learned how to brew we just never did them. If I felt in the past that there was a need to make a yeast starter, I would always just double pitch yeast. Double pitching yeast is when you just take two packets of yeast and pitch those.
Now there are reasons to make yeast starters. One of the obvious is for monetary purposes. Let’s be honest, yeast is sometimes half of the cost for a recipe. If you make an all-grain batch and it’s a cheap beer, yeast is going to be around $7.00 for liquid yeast; too bad the grains were only $15.00. So if you’re making a 10 gallon batch because it’s a cheap beer, it’s unnecessary spending.
If you are making a beer that has a gravity over 1.080 then you might consider making a starter. There are so many sugars that the yeast tends to lag out usually around the 1.030 SG mark. So having more yeast will help chug along in the fermentation process.
Also if you are planning on doing lagers, making a yeast starter is sometimes helpful. Since it is fermenting at colder temps, sometimes the yeast needs a bit more help to move along the fermentation process.
If you don’t have enough yeast, you tend to get off flavors sometimes. This is caused from the yeast just being stressed out. Stressed out yeast means weird tasting beer.
Like I said, I don’t make them. If I feel that I do need to make a yeast starter then I’ll just double pitch. But this post is not about what I do, this post is really for those that want to know how to make yeast starters. So these are the easy instructions on how to make a proper yeast starter.
Let yeast sit out at room temp until it reaches room temperature levels (you can do the same thing for dry as well).
Make starter wort
Starter wort is .5 quart water and .5 cup of dme.
This produces a wort that is about of 1.040
Boil this mini wort for 10 min
I add just a pellet or two of hops to the boil
Add .25 of yeast nutrient
Let mixture cool down to a little above room temp (should be around 75-80F)
Sanitize the outside of the yeast package (you can do this with StarSan or something like it)
2 quart juice bottles work well for this next part
Pour yeast into jar (see instruction #10)
Cover the opening with plastic wrap
Shake the starter to aerate it
Now put an airlock on the opening of the container or drill a small hole for the lid and put a grommet in with an air lock.
You should see foaming in about 24-48 hours and should start to see a yeast layer on the bottom of the container
When the yeast has settled out it is ready to pitch. However the starter is good for about 2-3 days.
Sometimes it is recommended to add another pint or so of mini wort to it to build up the starter even more.
Before you plan on pitching the yeast stick it int he refrigerator to flocculate all of the yeast.
Pour off as much of the liquid as possible so only the yeast slurry remains – then pitch the yeast slurry
And that does it! That is how you do a yeast starter. When you look at the directions on how to make a yeast starter just know that you really do have to have some planning in order for it to work out well. This is one of the obvious pit falls to yeast starters – you have to plan them out and you can’t make them the day of the brew. Of course there are other ways to make starters and you can get into some pretty involved methods, this is just the one I do when I make yeast starters sometimes. Leave your comments and questions below!