Frozen Yeast Bank

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Frozen Yeast Bank

Postby Legman » Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:00 pm

I've currently been repitching yeast into new batches of brew collected from my primary with good success. I've been storing it in glass pint jar in the fridge till I'm ready to brew again. I'm not sure how long these will keep like this and some strains I may not use again for a good while.
So, I was doing some research on long term storage and I ran across this write up. Seems like a great idea!
It would be really cool to be able to just open up my freezer and choose from a variety of strains any time of the year and without paying good money for each vial of yeast every time. I'm going to give this a try and see how well this works. Should be interesting.
Any one else trying something similar?
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Yeast_bank
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RE: Frozen Yeast Bank

Postby wottaguy » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:17 am

Hi Legman..

I am currently moving in this direction as well and am in the info gathering phase. I would love to be able to have my favorite yeasts available to me whenever I need them. I just ordered a book on this subject titled "First Steps in Yeast Culture" from Northern Brewer and am waiting for it to arrive.

I'm actually thinking of picking up a microscope to be able to isolate colonies and to create slants for storage purposes.

Would anyone know what power microscope would be needed and maybe a good inexpensive source to obtain one? I've been checking out eBay, but i'm not sure of what power to get.

Thank you for the most valuable information! I'll let you know how the book is if you're interested.

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RE: Frozen Yeast Bank

Postby Legman » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:01 pm

Wottaguy, yeah let me know how that book is or if you see any really useful info.
It sounds like you're going to get a little more involved in this than I'm wanting to. I just want to make a K.I.S.S. Yeast Bank (Keep It Simple Stupid).
The easier the better for me.
I did make a few test tubes this weekend from some trub that I had in mason jars in the fridge. The tubes I used are the same thing White Labs comes in. These were the cheapest I found. http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/pro ... e=googleps
Since I already had the trub in jars, I didn't go through the whole yeast washing process. I just filled the tube with 50% trub, 25% distilled water and 25% glycerin. I wanted to see how well that worked before making things more complex. I'll post my results from that experiment. But I probably will do a little yeast washing the next go round. If this works out, great! If not, I'll try something else.

I was surprised how little anyone was doing this. Seems like a logical thing to me. You could possibly save up to 30% of you brewing costs in a years time. Yeast is the most expensive thing in your brew.
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Postby jawbox » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:35 pm

I thought morebeer had yeast culturing kits available again in their new printed catalogue for next year.

They do have a couple of books available

http://morebeer.com/view_product/15838/102366/The_Fungus_Among_Us
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microscope

Postby slothrob » Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:38 pm

I've only picked bacterial colonies, never yeast colonies, but I don't think you would need a microscope for picking streaked yeast colonies. You would need a microscope for counting cells, if that's what you want to do.
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RE: Yeast Bank

Postby wottaguy » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:05 am

Legman,

Thanks for that url for the tubes. I'll be ordering 30 of those to get started.

Not so sure if i'll get the microscope tho...i still have to read up on these processes quite a bit...and i'm leaning more towards the kiss approach as well..

I haven't seen any yeast culturing products from NB...but that doesn't mean that they don't have anything... I'll do a better search on their site to see if i can find anything...I really wanted to create slants and store them, but using the tubes that you mentioned would be quite effective and probably a lot easier to do.

Thanks again for your insights and info.

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Yeast Kit

Postby Legman » Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:29 am

Country Wines has a yeast bank kit. It's basically a few test tubes and some "Freeze-Shield" (which I'll bet is nothing more than a glycerin and water solution).
http://www.countrywines.com/products.asp?category=150
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RE: Yeast Kit

Postby wottaguy » Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:36 am

Great! Thanks.

Would you know where i can get any smaller tubes than the one shown on either of these suggested sites? I'd really like to have tubes about half the size of these. I'd do a search today, but i'll be catching a flight to go back home today from the great white northeast. Can't wait to get back home!

Thanks again!

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Test tubes

Postby Legman » Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:57 pm

I really didn't look for anything else. I'm sure it would be real easy to find some though.
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Success!!!

Postby Legman » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:59 am

Tested out the frozen yeast this week.......and it worked!!! :D
I pulled a test tube from the freezer (frozen solid) and placed it in the fridge to thaw for about 5 days. Then made a starter from DME.
I was a bit worried at first. For about 2 days there was no activity and it looked dead. But just when I was getting ready to try something different, it began.....and it was alive! :mrgreen:

Now into it's 3rd day, things are starting to look like a normal starter. It was a little slow to start, but it looks like you can freeze yeast and bring it back from the dead! Now to build up my yeast library. This is so cool! 8)
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RE: Success!!!

Postby wottaguy » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:38 am

Congrats on your success! I should be receiving my yeast bank supplies by tomorrow and will start to collect and freeze my yeast samples soon. I'm pretty excited to do this and to grow up a collection of different yeasts! No more driving 20 miles for a vial of yeast just to find out they don't have the strain you wanted!!

Thanks for your info.

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The Process

Postby shaggyt » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:13 pm

Legman, did you follow the steps to a "T" as listed on the homebrewtalk link? If not, where did you vary?

Also, did your frozen yeast come from the primary or straight from a fresh vial (I'm assuming White Labs)?

Country Wines is my LHBS, so if this process is simple enough, I'll be picking up the Yeast Bank on my next trip. It's about $1 more than WL vials there.
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Re: The Process

Postby Legman » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:32 pm

No, I did not follow it exactly. When begining this, I wanted to make this as simple as I could and still make it work.

So here's what I did.
First I bought some of the vials just like you get White Labs in. Soaked them in sanitizer.
Next I got some glycerine (the kind used in wine making).
I mixed a 50/50 mixture of glycerine and distilled water, boiled to sanitize and placed in a mason jar.

I did a yeast washing (similiar to what Wyeast recommends) and placed the harvested yeast in the test tube, filling it about half way. Then filled the other half with the glycerine mixture. I didn't measure, just eyeballed it. This leaves the test tube with 50% yeast soloution, 25% glycerine and 25% Distilled water. The harvested yeast and gylcerine mixture had been refrigerated to maintain costant temps.

Then I placed them in small cooler with freezer packs into the bottom of my freezer. About a week before making my starter, I pulled a vial from the freezer and placed it in the fridge to thaw for about 5 days. Made a starter and pitched the yeast. It took about 2 days before I started to see any activity.

That particular vial, I had harvested from the primary. Other vials I have froze, I made a starter and harvested from that. I think that is a better way to go than from the primary.
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Sweet Info

Postby shaggyt » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:43 pm

Legman...first off, thanks for the process breakdown. It's pretty much convinced me to go forward with yeast harvesting!

I was just at my LHBS today gathering some info on the Yeast Bank. The vials in it are tiny, about the size of my index. The bigger vials like WL's would be perfect.

Here's to yeast!
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Yeast Bank

Postby Legman » Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:35 am

Yeah I didn't want to use the small vials either. I wanted to have a vial large enough that I could just make a normal starter instead of having in keep bumping it up in small increments. It did take about 4-5 days before that starter really started going good, so be sure you start it well before you intended brew day.

A 4 ounce bottle of glycerine only cost me about $3 that I ordered through my LHBS. That's enough to fill about 15 of the larger vials. It's probably cheaper to just buy the glycerine and tubes yourself as opposed to buy that yeast bank kit.

I'll have to test out some more the frozen vials, but looks like this worked out. It was really easy to do......and I didn't have to get all scientific about. Just use your best sanitation practices and you should be alright.
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