View Full Version : How to I save my yeast cake?

11-25-2014, 10:47 PM
So I just racked my first 5 gallon batch into a secondary and I wan't to save my yeast. I don't know how to save it and how long it will last. Please help :)


11-25-2014, 11:11 PM
Easiest is to pour it into a sanitized jar. You'll want at least a 5oz./150ml jar, though a 12 oz. bottle can work just as well. I find that I prefer tall slim jars to short fat ones, though pretty much anything you have around should do the trick.

Swirl the yeast cake and whatever remaining mead you have in the primary so that the yeast is well mixed. Then pour it out through your spigot if you have one, or through the top of the bucket / carboy if you don't. Sanitation is important here, as always, though if you sanitized properly before fermentation and were careful not to contaminate anything whenever you opened the fermentor until now you should be fine.

After you have your jar full of yeast, label it and put it in the fridge. If you want to reuse it 20 times you have to be extremely careful about things like how slowly it cools down. If you're only going for another 2 or 3 batches that doesn't really matter. You can just stick it in the fridge and forget about it until you need it.

That yeast will keep for a LONG time. Months, definitely, and more likely over a year. However, if you let it sit for more than a couple of weeks you will definitely need to pitch it in a starter before using it in another large batch. If you reuse it within a week or two you can just pitch it as is. (You can actually just pitch it as is for a long time without doing a starter, only the yeast will crap out on you a lot earlier and you'll end up with a mead that isn't as good as it could have been.)

Storing the yeast in mead gives you an easy way to determine whether it's still good. The yeast will settle and the mead will stay on the top over time. When you open it, give it a smell and a taste, and you will know right away if there is an infection of any kind. If there is, don't use it. If there isn't, even if it's old you should be fine.

11-26-2014, 12:03 AM
Just be aware that the higher you take the alcohol in the mead, the more stress you put on the yeast,the more it will begin to stray from original product you pitched into the original batch...

11-26-2014, 12:15 AM
I only want to use it one or two more times and I followed the 5 gallon BOMM to a tee. I used Wyeast 1388. I don't yet know how to figure my ABV, (working on that as we speak) But I started at 1.1 and ended at 1.01 and it's still going very slowly when I just racked it to secondary. I expect it will drop to full on dry as I will step feed it with honey till it craps out. So with that said I think my yeast is still happy as hell. It smells really good in the bottom of my primary !

11-26-2014, 01:09 AM
Depending on how long you need to wait you can just make a new batch of must and throw it right on top of the yeast cake. That's what I do. Third batch I wash. See youtube for some great videos on washing yeast.

11-26-2014, 08:55 PM
Depending on how long you need to wait you can just make a new batch of must and throw it right on top of the yeast cake. That's what I do. Third batch I wash. See youtube for some great videos on washing yeast.

That's what I'm doing as we speak (type). All traditionals. 1 gallon batches. First one was the lazy mazer traditional (3.75 lbs of honey in the bottom of a 4 liter jug without mixing), second is "Son of Lazy", with 3 lbs of honey mixed, which is in there now, and next will come Baby Lazy, with 2.5 lbs of honey in a 4 liter mix. Their respective ABVs are/will be: 16%, 13% and 11%.

I know that alcohol poisoning will turn the yeast bad (bad, bad yeast! Behave!), but I wanted to see if the yeast (K1-V1116) will weather the high AVB at the start, when young and strong, and still retain its qualities through subsequent, weaker batches to lessen the stress along the way.

If all three batches work out, I may dump another batch of must in with the lees after washing and see what happens. I think it'd be great to have half a dozen or so batches going one after the other. I wish I could do it with 23 liter carboys, but I've only got one of those, and a plethora of 4 liter jugs (thank you Gallo/Rossi!).


Midnight Sun
11-28-2014, 02:20 PM
Here is a yeast washing method that is similar to how I do it: click. (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/yeast-washing-illustrated-41768/) If you are making a starter, then you can also make the starter just a little larger and harvest from that. Somewhat less stressful on the yeast that way.