I wanted to post a more interpretable description of the presentation I was slightly under-prepared for at the January meeting regarding competition Entry Planning, which is largely based on the re-usage of yeast, aligned with your calendar. Of course, this requires a fairly flexible brew schedule to really capitalize on..
The first step is to make a list of the beer styles that you would "like" to enter in the targeted competition. Which if you have a list, it is most likely going to be recipes that you have brewed with satisfying results already.
The next thing to consider is optimal maturity, or freshness of each beer on your list, based on which end of the spectrum is most crucial for said style. For instance, I will be entering a BA Wheatwine that several of us brewed last year, and has been bottled since summer of 2017, which should be in prime condition for Brewer's Cup this year. Oppositely, the last beer I will brew for Brewers Cup will be my specialty IPA, which I plan to brew in late May (entries due in June).
As I failed to explain clearly in my presentation, my brewing pattern goes in cycles based on re-usage of yeast without washing (thanks for the tip Don Heisler). In other words, plan to brew a higher gravity beer than the original, the day you plan to keg that original. Or if that doesn't work out, I have now harvested a pint of the yeast cake in a sanitized mason jar and used it a week later with great success several times (Of course keep it refridgerated). There are two major benefits to this method: 1. Free yeast 2. You just made a 5 gal yeast starter.. brew a barleywine, imperial stout, Belgian quad, dopplebock, etc.. One exception I take to this is I do not re-use a yeast cake of a dry hopped beer, due to the additional hop sludge. With my recent 1st place/3rd Best in Show in St. Louis with my Dopplebock, my first use of 2 packs of Saflager 34/70 was a Munich Dunkel, then two weeks later I kegged it (for lagering) and brewed a Baltic Porter. Then two weeks later, I brew the Doppelbock; each brew being higher gravity than the last. I also have a personal preference to only re-use 3 times, however that is usually due to not slanting the yeast. Technically speaking, you should be able to brew on a single pack of yeast for years if you were really on your game, and were a tightwad
So once you begin a "cycle", your brew calendar should be based on how long each sequential beer needs in primary, before you can harvest that WLP 530 from your Trappist Single, and brew your Belgian Quad to re-pitch the yeast. If you have multiple fermenters, you can have 2 or more cycles going at once. I run a 2 fermenter pattern: So if I brew a Munich Dunkel with 34/70 today, and brew an American Blond with US-05 next week, than the 3rd week I would keg the Dunkel while mashing my Baltic Porter, then harvest the yeast in a flask or mason jar (until desired pitching temp is reached: usually the next day for lagers). Then the 4th or 5th week, I would keg the blond while mashing my Barleywine or Old ale.
I think I've summarized what I wanted to convey at the meeting. I realize that this isn't practical for a lot of brewers, as time is like gold for most of us, but if you can make this work it not only saves you money but allows you to brew high gravity beers with more than enough yeast cells.
If you have any questions on this, please feel free to ask!
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One time a few years back I reused US-05 eight times (yes ‘8’) with each beer getting better. At the time I heard you can get 5-10 uses without risking mutations. I did not store it, I just brewed every two weeks and kept the yeast active. I don’t recall specifics but I think I washed once or twice, but usually just put new wort right on top of yeast cake (with hops and protein trub mixed in) in same fermenter without rinsing. Theory is if the beer you just racked is fine with no infection, then the vessel is safe for next beer. Saves time and money...and I feel quality improves!
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