asking small batch brewers, how do you save money on yeast?

Post #1 made 3 years ago
I really like doing small batches. Small batches are super easy (no lifting, clean up is quick and easy) and your brewday can be accomplished on the stove and in the kitchen sink without little to no blood or sweat involved. As long as you have enough small fermentors, there is no limit to how many small batches you could do. Theoretically, I could line a shelf in my closet with small fermentors and have a solid pipeline full of variety at all times. The problem I run into is with yeast. A packet of yeast could cost as much as my grain bill on a small batch. Do I just use a 1/5 of a packet of dry yeast? But then I am limited to that one strain and to dry yeasts in general. If I'm using liquid yeasts, do I grow a starter and split it up for later use? How do I keep a variety of yeast around that can be used to make different styles of beers? I like Belgians as much as I like clean hoppy beers, or an English style beer. All need a different yeast to ferment with. Any advice on how to keep brewing small but save my money for more malts and hops?

Post #3 made 3 years ago
I love small batches as well! For most of the same reasons. Yeast is always a tough one and I end up just throwing it out. However, I saved some from a batch last week. This leftover yeast is sealed up in the freezer which is what I do with baking yeast. I am going to rehydrate it this weekend to see if it shows signs of life. I will let you know.
Rich, fellow small batch brewer

Post #4 made 3 years ago
Welcome to the forum cap and great question :salute:. Here's an idea...
The below could be a load of garbage so beware. I make sourdough bread and to do this, you need to maintain your yeast from week to week. Basically, once you have your starter going, you just keep the starter in your fridge and feed it once a week with 1 part rye flour and 1.5 parts filtered water. BUT, if you want to store it for a really long time, you can spread this batter out, very thinly, onto a tray and then dehumidify it so as it becomes completely dry and turns into a wafer. You can then keep this wafer indefinitely as long as it is kept dry.

The above to me sounds like the old brewing yeast stick that some of you may have read up on.

Here's what I'm thinking but have no time or resources to test out....

Method 1: Harvest Some Yeast Cake and Feed It

Several problems here. The first is that rye flour (any flour) already contains a lot of wild yeasts etc. If you could think of a way of killing them and bacteria before you fed your yeast cake, then I can't see too many problems here.

Method 2: Harvest Some Yeast Cake and Dehumidify it into Wafers

You can dehumidify in a box in the sun or buy a dehumidifier. As long as you don't bake the yeast then I can't think of any problems here off the top of my head. This is the method I would be most hopeful about.

...

Would love you brewers to test the above out as I too would love to do a lot of small batch brewing.

:peace:
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 18 Jan 2015, 20:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #6 made 3 years ago
Thanks for all the ideas everyone!
Without going through the trouble of making slants (I'm just too lazy of a brewer to do it right) i think I could handle some of these ideas, not need much new equipment, and brew more with less cost.
1.The easiest is pitching fresh wort onto a full yeast cake from a primary but this has obvious downfalls (trub, dead yeast, and over pitching )
2. Next easy but without any major issues is rinsing yeast and storing short term for reuse
3. Equally easy is making an extra large starter and splitting it, and storing it short term for reuse.
4. Also pretty easy is using dry yeast but once the pack is open it seems you should use it soon
After that it seems you get into more involved lab type yeast work involving more orders for new equipment which kind of defeats the purpose of trying to save a few bucks on yeast

Im gonna try them all and see what works for my brewing schedule - thanks for the help!

I might try and borrow a friends dehydrator to see if I could dry out some yeast cake .. Sounds like a fun experiment

Post #7 made 2 years ago
I use dry yeast, a new packet for each batch that I do, which is usually a 2-2.5 Gal batch.

Dry yeast is pretty inexpensive but most importantly, I can accurately measure dry yeast for the correct pitching rates.

Post #8 made 2 years ago
I bottle a batch during my boil and reserve a cup of yeast slurry.

Clean the fermenter and pitch the reserved yeast and you are good to go.

Saves time and the yeast is free. (or at least the cost is spread over several batches)
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asking small batch brewers, how do you save money on yeast?

Post #9 made 2 years ago
I primarily use liquid yeast and am always looking for ways that I can save a few dollars on a new batch.

This might involve doing progressively bigger beers on the same yeast cake but normally just involves sanitizing a few jars and scooping the yeast cake out of the fermenter and storing in the fridge. I know it isn't best practice but I just allow it to warm up to room temp before pitching and have had good results.

With smaller batches you could go the other way around. Start with a big beer and a full vial or smack pack so it is a reasonable pitch rate and then collect 4 or so even sized jars from the cake from future brews. By doing that by the third generation you could get at least a dozen brews from a vial or smack pack at about a dollar a go.

Just give the jar a smell and taste before pitching, if it tastes good it will make good beer.

Only downside is that once you had 5 or 6 strains on the go you would need a lot of fridge space to accommodate it all!

Post #11 made 1 year ago
Johnny Mac wrote:I use dry yeast, a new packet for each batch that I do, which is usually a 2-2.5 Gal batch.

Dry yeast is pretty inexpensive but most importantly, I can accurately measure dry yeast for the correct pitching rates.

I tape up the packet of unused dry yeast and put it in the fridge. I just brewed my third small ale batch over the weekend from the same packet I first opened on aug 15th - that's 10 weeks - and the morning after pitching the last batch, I observed fermentation as active as the initial batch.

I recognize there are challenges to brewing small batch BIAB, but I welcome the trade offs for the convenience of having a steady supply of different homebrews in my fridge without the equipment, space and time that full mash brews require. For now, the benefits of using dry yeast is contributing to a very positive experience for me.
Last edited by LI Mike D on 27 Oct 2016, 17:31, edited 1 time in total.
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