Questions about reviving yeast

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GCR
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Questions about reviving yeast

Post by GCR » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:35 am

Last night, I was trying out a new recipe for a hoppy tripel, and ended up with more wort than anticipated (at an OG of around 1.070), so I quickly sanitized my clear growler that I usually use as a starter, and pumped about a litre into it as the carboy was already pretty much too full.

I had this old vial of Escarpment's Ardennes ale yeast in the fridge that had expired in March 2018, and I had been meaning to use some DME to make a little starter for it to see if it was still alive... but I figured since I had this extra wort, why not throw the yeast in and put it on the stir plate. (I put a little bit of yeast nutrient in it for good measure).

So it definitely seems alive already... but I dont think I'll be able to brew anytime soon, so here's a couple Q's for you experienced folks.

1 - do you think it worth trying to save?
2 - i usually use a starter with a much lower OG - is using a higher OG starter gonna mess things up?
3 - does having hops in the starter have an impact on things?
4 - if I wanted to try saving it, could I just chill it after a couple of days, pour off the excess wort (or beer I suppose by then), and then put it in a Mason jar for later use?



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Re: Questions about reviving yeast

Post by RubberToe » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:49 am

Well if it seems alive already then 1) I'd definitely keep going with it.

I think 2) and 3) have an impact, especially 2. With a higher gravity and old yeast you may not get the growth you'd expect with a 1.038 starter and fresh yeast. Buy hey, if it's fermenting at least you've revived it.

If I were you I'd do 4) and keep it in a mason jar under as much of it's fermented beer as it can hold. Whenever you want to brew with it next you can either make a new starter with it or YOLO and pitch it as is with unpredictable results.

Congrats on saving it.

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Re: Questions about reviving yeast

Post by wcturnedec » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:30 am

Agree with RubberToe, at that age the yeast has next to no viability and with pitching into 1.070 wort the yeast is under a good amount of stress.
Would be a fun project to keep it the mason jar and build it up in a multi step starter, similar to saving dregs from a commercial bottle.
Last year I grabbed a pouch of the Unibroue yeast from Wyeast, it was free and very old. I built it up with a few low OG and volume starters then pitched into a small witbier and turned out great! It was fun but in the end a lot of work, but again this is a hobby!


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Re: Questions about reviving yeast

Post by GCR » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:33 pm

wcturnedec wrote:Agree with RubberToe, at that age the yeast has next to no viability and with pitching into 1.070 wort the yeast is under a good amount of stress.
Would be a fun project to keep it the mason jar and build it up in a multi step starter, similar to saving dregs from a commercial bottle.
Last year I grabbed a pouch of the Unibroue yeast from Wyeast, it was free and very old. I built it up with a few low OG and volume starters then pitched into a small witbier and turned out great! It was fun but in the end a lot of work, but again this is a hobby!


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Ok, so let it finish off with what's there now, then harvest, refrigerate and start all over again for 2-3 times kinda thing?

I really need to get me a proper erlenmeyer (maybe Santa will bring me one) - my growler only seems to work for 1.5 - 2 days tops before the whirlpool will no longer form... there is a slight curve in the bottom of it.

At this stage it is pretty active, so I am thinking just putting an airlock on it maybe?

Has anyone used this yeast before? It smells pretty terrific already.Image

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Re: Questions about reviving yeast

Post by RubberToe » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:25 pm

If it has decent activity I'd just keep it until you want a fresh starter for your next brew and do that vs keep stepping it up now.

I've used Ardennes before and it's quite a beast and likes to climb out the top. IIRC a great candidate for top cropping.
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