Clibit
From the same blog, a guide with pictures showing how to crp top yeast - another way to enable multiple uses of a single purchase of yeast.

http://blog.bracio.com/2012/09/top-cropping-yeast.html


top_crop 2.jpg 
Quote 0 0
EspeciallyBitter
I felt I had slightly derailed the Mangrove Jack yeast thread by repeatedly asking about top-cropping, so thought I'd link to the page where that conversation all started and leave the conversation to keep going here (if there's anything left to talk about).
Quote 0 0
EspeciallyBitter
Clibit helpfully posted a few links about harvesting and storing yeast.
Clibit wrote:
These Wyeast and Whitelabs articles talk about how and when to harvest yeast and about storing it...

https://wyeastlab.com/yeast-harvesting-re-pitching

https://www.whitelabs.com/beer/yeast-storage-and-maintenance-0


If using a narrow-necked FV, Pesh suggested using a blow-off tube as a way of top-cropping from an active fermentation.
Pesho77 wrote:

Have you tried using a blow off tube (im not sure this will work but it may be worth a try) lower the tube from the blow off in to where the Krausen will form but not low enough to be in the beer, the closer the better, this "should" blow off the krausen in to the blow off tube / bucket that you can the n collect, if this doesn't have the umph to be lifted through the tube you could use a syringe to suck it out, this should be a simple and clean method (not that ive ever tried it).


And as Leigh pointed out, I am probably worrying too much about contaminating the beer when reaching in the FV to top-crop.
Tigermoth wrote:

I didn't open my FV as it was already loosely on EB as I was open fermenting for a few days. I am not sure why everyone gets so paranoid about open fermentation at the start as I have done it so often for a long time now without ever getting an infection. In the very early days I just covered it and never used an air lock like I do today and still had no worries. There always seems enough CO2 to keep out the nasties and now I keep it in a chest freezer brew fridge the amount of CO2 takes your breath away when opening the lid if you get too close. That to me is an ideal way of harvesting yeast as has been done for centuries... What do you think?
Quote 0 0
EspeciallyBitter
I think the issue is having narrow necked FVs, like I do, means anything that goes in the beer gets knocked around on the edges of the neck and what have you, so I feel like it's a clumsy process and that makes me worry I might introduce something unwanted. You're right though, many people ferment in open, loosely sealed containers and make wonderful beer, and there's no infections because the environment on top of the beer (krausen and CO₂, etc.) protects it. That's pretty much how brewing across much of Britain and Europe has always been done.

I have been lately regretting my decision to get carboys as FVs, but that was largely down to borrowing one initially from a friend to get me started. When I see the ease with which people seem to churn out beer in buckets and wide fermentors (thinking of Dude's large box fermentors) I begin to think I have made life a little harder for myself than was necessary. Ah well, I'm only nine months on this journey, so I have to remind myself I am still working out the kinks. I do have one wide-mouthed FV, and I think that is the direction I will take in future when I decide to purchase more FVs. That and when the time comes that my mate wants his stuff back!

Tigermoth wrote:

Yes I get what you are saying EB, it would be hard cropping from a carboy type fermenter, I use one of those too but what I do is to do the main bulk of fermentation in the "bucket" style fermenter as you see in the photo and when the krausen has settled down a lot I then fit an airlock until it has all stopped and I have scooped off the crap and it has settled down, then I transfer it to a carboy type fermenter where I might add gelatine finings and let it rest and settle for a while and maybe drop the temperature (this is only a recent thing that I do) and let it rest for a while before bottling, this may seem like a lot of faffing around and the very slight chance of infection but that is what I do. Its not often that I have collected yeast but this time I want to retain the Ringwood yeast and have a go at drying it........why......because I like to experiment.......  


I get the impression from a lot of homebrew forums that racking to secondary is discouraged nowadays, but some of the better beers I've made involved racking to secondaries. (Although I don't use finings or drop the temperature, it's really just to get it off the yeast if I know I will be letting it condition longer before bottling.)
Quote 0 0
EspeciallyBitter
GHW wrote:
Those carboys look great but are they a pain to clean?

@GHW, they are not that hard to clean, nothing a large bottle brush can't sort out. I usually rinse and scrub mine with warm water, then leave full with cleaning solution for a few hours or overnight, then scrub again, rinse, let dry and put away so it doesn't get dusty. I have a few of those thick 3-gallon glass carboys (says made in Italy) which can be heavy when full of cleaning solution or wort. I would never think of using 5-gal. glass fermentors, I just can't imagine having to carry that around even with the various carriers you can buy now.

I have heard horror stories of people injuring themselves when glass carboys break, so I am very careful handling them. That risk is another reason I have been considering moving over to plastic buckets and PET wide-mouth fermentors.
Quote 0 0
Womble
Do you see this gun, anyone moves and they get it, this is a hijack, from now on we are talking about hydrometers ...
Multi-tasking, easy, drink beer and watch telly.
Quote 0 0
EspeciallyBitter
Womble wrote:
Do you see this gun, anyone moves and they get it, this is a hijack, from now on we are talking about hydrometers ...

😂
Quote 0 0
GHW
I’m a plastic bucket kinda guy
none of this fancy glass not steel for me!
im going to top crop my smash to retrieve the 1318. It always delivers a dense Krausen so is perfect

I’ll open the fv and scrape it off with a star sanned spoon, Chuck it in a star sanned jam jar, fridge, done.

then discover it’s contaminated and ruins three more brews
Quote 1 0
Womble
Part of the game innit ?  The odd ruined brew.
I've been cooking for well over 30 years and every now and then I just mess things up.
And if only I had invested in just one Stainless fermenter instead of the 15 plastic ones that I have accumulated downstairs over the years 🙄
Multi-tasking, easy, drink beer and watch telly.
Quote 0 0
Clibit
Bleach/vinegar is much more reliable than Starsan for me. I might have said this before....
Quote 0 0
EspeciallyBitter
Star San has worked for me so far. I usually make it from RO water so that it lasts longer and I keep a set of 2.8–4.4 test strips handy to check my sanitising solution before I use it. If it's below pH 3.5 it's still effective, even if it's gone cloudy.

GHW wrote:
I’m a plastic bucket kinda guy
none of this fancy glass not steel for me!
im going to top crop my smash to retrieve the 1318. It always delivers a dense Krausen so is perfect

Steel fermentors? STEEL?? What will they think of next?
Ah, 1318, such a good yeast. If I do get around to trying this top-cropping lark, it's going to be with that yeast.
Quote 0 0
Womble
Clibit wrote:
Bleach/vinegar is much more reliable than Starsan for me. I might have said this before....


Maybe ?  I would hazard a guess that you like beer too ...
Multi-tasking, easy, drink beer and watch telly.
Quote 1 0
Womble
Some thoughts following my on-going difficulties with packaged yeast.  This mostly concerns ale yeast. All of my packets of yeast are stored in the fridge.

Firstly, I have been through the hoops trying to work out why some batches get going relatively quickly and others do not.  I have gone down the path of temperature variations, oxygenation, re-hydration, racking the wort off the trub, pitching double packets of yeast, sanitation and even water chemistry to a certain extent. All to no avail.  Pitching a packet of dried yeast into a batch of beer is a gamble and oh too often leads to very extended lag times and sometimes to no signs of fermentation whatsoever. 

Secondly, I have been asking myself for a very long while why it is that all of the dried real-ale yeasts that I have used under-perform when compared to the liquid yeasts available.  This is particularly noticeable when bottling lighter beers.

I have come to the conclusion that despite the  received wisdom that dried yeast is pretty much bullet proof, I do not adhere to this point of view.  I have found that there appears to be a significant drop off of yeast performance in a packet that is as little as three months old.  This could be linked of course to my suppliers storing their yeast poorly, after all, it is dried and bullet proof, why do they need to look after it ?  Be this as it may, last year, I decided to make it a house policy that all of my yeast would come from a starter, if for nothing else just to make sure that it was alive.  Results were better but still not brilliant. 

And then last week, I got my first package of liquid yeast in for a long time.  I usually make a big effort to recycle as I avoid buying it in during the hot summer months.  My usual path is to rinse the yeast cake & repitch.  And then comes the light bulb moment, instead of using the yeast cake, why not just top-crop a few spoonfuls of the krausen into the starter and pitch subsequent brews from the starter.  There are a number of advantages to this approach.  One, if the yeast head has been skimmed previously, then the yeast coming off the krausen head should be pretty much pure.  Two, you are getting the vigorous, active yeast cells, the best of the batch. 

The vigorous yeast cells.  I wasn't expecting such startling results.  I have made two starters from top-cropped yeast over the last week and both have taken off like rockets. Yesterday's pushed the bottle top off the bottle and I found a puddle of yeast on the table top.  Secondly, the yeast starter that was pitched into this weekend's brew kicked off and hit high krausen within less than twelve hours.  Despite having been brewing for quite a number of years,  I found myself feeling pretty damned stupid and saying to myself "oh, so that's what it's meant to be like, why has it taken me so long to understand?"

Conclusions.  When using dried yeast, even a full packet pitched into a starter has not shown anywhere near such vitality. The yeast I have been supplied with over the last few years has been pretty mediocre stuff. And now I am wondering whether the failure of dried yeast to produce true to style results could well be down to its lack of vitality.  The next exbeeriment will be to top-crop a brew pitched with dried yeast, re-pitch and see what happens.  

The get-out clause => all of this reflects my particular set-up of course and the difficulties I have getting totally fresh yeast.   It is irrespective of manufacturer.
Multi-tasking, easy, drink beer and watch telly.
Quote 2 0
Clibit
Fresh topped cropped yeast must be the best yeast we can get. A starter made from previously topped crop yeast a close second. I'm aiming to use a starter made from harvested yeast for most of my brews now, but i often forget to top crop. Must try harder, cos it's worth it. With my latest brew i pitched M44 and i cooled some wort in a jar and added the yeast to it to check it was ok. It was active pretty quickly but didnt take off quickly in the FV though. It does feel a bit like Russian roulette with dried yeast, particularly with some strains. They mostly work ok but, like you say, fermentation isnt as good as with really healthy fresh yeast. And fermentation is so important.
Quote 0 0
Womble
My initial aim with the starter was to allow me some flexibility in the planning of the brewing, it's easy to put a bottle of yeast in the fridge.  Seeing how it reacted then got loads of thoughts going. 

I now have a bigger pressure cooker so making up multiple batches of starter wort from DME should be a lot easier.  Too many brewing plans, not enough time to do it all.
Multi-tasking, easy, drink beer and watch telly.
Quote 0 0