Bottling A Starter

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Davl22, Feb 13, 2023.

  1. Davl22

    Davl22 Maven (1,329) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire

    Has anyone ever had luck bottling a portion of a starter or washed yeast? Everything I've read is about keeping it in the fridge lightly covered to reuse within a month. My LHBS stopped selling liquid yeasts and I'm interested in trying this out to have future pitches. My plan was to make a starter for a beer, pitch what I needed, leave the remainder in the flask, let it ferment completely and then pour into a sterilized bottle and cap. Then repitch that yeast into a new starter prior to brewing in a future batch. Thoughts?
    skivtjerry likes this.
  2. PortLargo

    PortLargo Pooh-Bah (1,677) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    I do this all the time, it's easy and it works. I make a starter for all my liquid yeasts, usually 30'ish % more than I need. Pour off only what I need for the current brew day and save the rest.

    If feeling enthusiastic I will take the last-runnings of the mash, add a few tablespoons of DME, boil then cool, and add that back to the same flask (with the excess yeast.) Place this on the stir plate to grow some more of those little buggers. Once everything is finished I'll cold crash and transfer to a mason jar, then fill to brim (no airspace) with the liquid part of the starter (technically that's beer). Once it settles, the markings on the mason jar shows you exactly how many ml's you have. Usually end up with 50 - 80 ml. Estimate 2 billion cells/ml and you have a rough idea how many yeasties are ready for the next game.

    I've kept these in excess of a month, but always restart befor next brewday. Just figure the longer you wait the more will die. One advantage is less stress on these simple minded organisms rather than washed yeast. I've gone as many as five generations but 3 - 4 restarts is more typical. Sanitation is key . . . but that's nothing new.
  3. YourBeerRunner

    YourBeerRunner Aspirant (212) May 3, 2022

    Yeast can last for many months in a "live" bottled beer, and that can be recreated with better conditions. I use twist-cap airtight jars stored in the fridge.
    Davl22 likes this.
  4. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Pooh-Bah (2,061) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Yep another yeast saver here. Usually keep it in swing top bottles
    And like to use it up in 4 month or less. I have kept it longer, but it seems to lose some zip after 4 month.
  5. Naugled

    Naugled Pooh-Bah (1,820) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    There's a good tip hidden in Gorm's post. "Use swing top bottles"

    They typically have thicker glass and if pressure does build up it will usually leak through the seal before the bottle explodes. I've seen this happen with a few starters I've saved.
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  6. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Pooh-Bah (2,061) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Very true, most of these yeasts can be rather explosive when opening,so, I always open them pointing down at the fermenter while pouring in the wort
    Davl22 likes this.
  7. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Savant (1,209) Jan 13, 2016 Canada (ON)

    I do it all the time. I make a 3 liter starter from a new package of yeast, pour 1 liter in a liter Mason jar with lid, and keep that in the fridge for making my next starter. The other 2 liters of starter I use for my current brew. Since you're making a new starter from the 1 liter jar, you can use it up to months later. I wouldn't let it sit for more than about 3 months before making a new starter of it.

    You can repeat this every time you make a new 3 liter starter with the jar. Often you can repeat this 5-7 times before the yeast starts to go off a bit.

    This system of saving a jar from the starter is much better than trying to recover yeast from a brew, since you don't end up with all the trub. It's completely clean, except for some dead yeast.
    GormBrewhouse and Davl22 like this.
  8. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Savant (1,209) Jan 13, 2016 Canada (ON)

    I forgot to add - don't forget to add yeast nutrient every time you make a starter. Otherwise there likely won't be enough nutrient to make the yeast healthy.
    Davl22 and GormBrewhouse like this.