Rinsing Yeast

Two homebrews in quick succession, gave me the perfect opportunity to try reusing the yeast from the first batch in the second.

While packets of yeast aren’t the most expensive of homebrew ingredients, the cost can add up. It also seems quite wasteful to just use them once and then chuck a perfectly good yeast cake down the loo when it’s finished fermenting. I found an post on one of the Jim’s Beer Kit forums about rinsing yeast, so that it could be either repitched immediately, or stored for later use.

I was initially going to attempt to rinse the yeast from AG #12, as I wasn’t going to dry hop it, but due to being a dunce, that idea went out the window. So I decided to try a different way of dry hopping AG #13, so that I could get my hands on the yeast cake, without any dry hop debris. It was make or break, as I’d used my last packet of yeast and hadn’t ordered another with the ingredients for AG #14, so it was this or nothing.

After transferring AG #13 to another bucket, along with the dry hops, I added a litre of boiled and cooled water to the yeast cake and swilred it around to loosen everything up. After leaving it for a while to settle, I carefully decanted most of it into a litre Kilner jar and left it on the kitchen worktop for the night. In the morning, there was two distinct layers in the jar, with the top one still looking quite yeasty.

I popped the jar into the fridge and went to work, working on the theory that the chill would drop more yeast out of suspension and into the bottom layer. When I got home for work, the top layer was much clearer, so I poured it off the thick slurry and down the sink. I sterilised an old milk bottle and my small funnel and decanted the thick slurry from the Kilner jar, into the milk bottle. This was then sealed with a double wrap of cling film and put into the colder of our two kitchen fridges.

Yesterday, I pitched about half of the slurry from the milk bottle into AG #14. It’ll be interesting to see if it works and what, if any, effect it has on the resulting beer.

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