While cleaning out your fermenter have you ever wondered if you could reuse the yeast that has collected on the bottom? The answer is yes, you certainly can! You can actually often reuses your yeast 4 or 5 times with out the likelihood of having any ill effects from mutations or high quantities of alternate yeast strains impacting the flavor of your beer. Yeast isn’t cheap at around $7-$10 for a vial of the good stuff, so you might as well get your moneys worth!
Here are some basic things to consider when reusing your home brewing yeast.
It is best to reuse the yeast as soon as possible. You will probably want to consider discarding it after approximately 6 months. If you are pitching the yeast more than 30 days after harvesting it from your fermenter, I would recommend creating a starter with it to help insure viability.
Only reuse your yeast 4-5 times. Each time you reuse the yeast, mutations will occur and the probability of alternate yeast strains impacting the flavor of your beer will increase.
Do not reuse the yeast if the ABV of the beer that you harvested it from exceeds 6.5%. High alcohol levels weaken and destroy your yeast.
Do not reuse yeast from a heavily hopped beer. Like with alcohol, an over abundance of hops (from a dry hopped IPA for instance) will diminish the longevity and potency of your yeast.
Do your best to avoid harvesting the trub along with your yeast. This is most easy accomplished via a conical fermenter. It is also possible transfer the yeast slurry and then rinse and decant your yeast with sanitized water to separate it from the trub.
Harvesting Beer Yeast
Yeast should be stored at approximately 36 F in a sanitized vessel. Keep in mind that even at that temperature the yeast may still be active and can create CO2. So beware as your container may explode if too much fermentable sugar remained behind in your harvested yeast solution and the vessel is unable to vent the pressure.
If you are interested in purchasing a conical fermenter or yeast harvesting cylinder; many options can be found here:
There are right and wrong ways to store your hops to keep them as fresh as possible for future brewing and dry hopping. In this blog entry, we are going to cover some best practices for preserving the quality and potency of your hops when storing them for an extended period.
First off, it is important to be aware that hops are constantly degrading, and at best, all we can hope to do is slow the process down. As time passes, the resins, acids, and oils in the hops break down and the potential for aroma and bittering is drastically diminished. The two greatest causes of hop degradation are temperature and exposure to oxygen.
The colder you can store your hops, the better, as it will slow the rate of oxidization. Ideally, you want to store your hops in a freezer with a temperature of less than 30F. If possible, strive for a temperature closer to 20F, and do your best to make sure that the hops are vacuum sealed and free of any moisture when frozen. Oxygen is the true nemesis of hop freshness. Do your best to keep your hops properly sealed in a bag that is resistant to oxygen permeability and flushed with nitrogen. If you do not have access to a vacuum sealer, use a Ziploc bag, and remove as much oxygen out of the bag as possible.
If you have stored your hops for longer then 12-24 months, you will probably want to consider replacing them with some fresher hops. It is difficult to know how fresh the hops were when the supplier received and packaged them, so at that point they may already be 3 years old, and their bittering potential will be very difficult to predict. If the hops are brownish in color, and the aroma is faint or unusual, they should be discarded.