Piperbrew
Hers a good question that hopefully someone will know the answer to.

Ok so in my fridge I have two Wyeast packs 1010 American Wheat and 1056 American Ale. 

I want to harvest yeast to keep in my freezer as pretty sure I will be using them again. So is it better to make a large starter and take the yeast sample for freezing from that OR is it better to take it off the yeast cake at the end of the brew?

I have also found a recipe for a stout which uses the American Ale yeast and the author said it tasted exactly as the pub version. So I am going to use the exact recipe but at the back of my mind I am thinking would an Irish yeast strain be better......most likely if I like the brew I can make it again of course with the other yeast.

Finally I have yeast from the Ringwood brewery .....what beers would this be good to use in, apart from actual Ringwood clones.



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Pinto

A starter and a brew are two ways to the same thing - if anything, harvesting the cake will be slightly better as the full brew will produce more yeast cells than a starter to collect.  If you can set yourself up for making slants, then you can take a sample straight from the smack pack to ensure that you minimise genetic drift from daughter generations (eg : its' 1010 /1056 you'll start future batches from, not whatever the strain has mutated into once its been through your beer)

Ringwood is a well regarded strain  - the writeup is :

 

Wyeast ™ 1187 Ringwood yeast


A top cropping yeast strain with unique fermentation and flavor characteristics. Expect distinct fruit esters with a malty, complex profile. Flocculation is high, and the beer will clear well without filtration. A thorough diacetyl rest is recommended after fermentation is complete. 

Flocculation: Medium-High
Attenuation: 68-72%
Temperature Range: 64-75F, 18-24C
Alcohol Tolerance: 10% ABV

Blonde Ale
English IPA
Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)
Oatmeal Stout
Southern English Brown
Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Standard/Ordinary Bitter
Sweet Stout

So as you can see, you can use it for all manner of brews - specialising in darker brews and stouts

Beer is like porn - you can buy it easily enough, but its so much more fun to make it [wink]
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Piperbrew
Thanks for the reply,

So slants would be better than the glycerine / freezing method? Also I never realised the Ringwood yeast was so versatile and as I am new to all grain and the more complex side of things such as different yeast strains I am guessing that for many of the beer recipes I could do where yeasts X, Y and G are recommended it wouldn't be such a bad thing to use the Ringwood yeast then?

Cheers

Pete

Edit ....I am guessing it would be a world apart from the dried kit yeasts that I have used before, oh and which I have learnt were fermented way to higher temperature too.

Edit ... If yeasts mutate when they have been used in a wort, how do brewery's ensure their strains are tip top? Do they keep pure strains in reserve and even then do they have specialists who ensure the strains are pure?

Edit ..As home brewers how do we know if a strain is compromised ?

Interesting stuff
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Pinto
Depends on what you plan on doing with it.  Slants let you preserve the "generation 0" strain which is as close as you can get to the brewery original, and are much better for longer term storage - slants are stable, and easy to store  - but due to cell quantity, require significant stepping up to regain a pitchable quantity.  Harvested yeasts have much greater cell counts so are easier to repitch straight to another brew, but are "generation X" strains (X being the number of times it's been repitched) - each reuse will add new mutations into the next batch of recovered yeast, so the characteristics, flavours, flocculation etc can all change with each repitch.  From what I've seen, these arent always desirable changes either, so brings us back to why it's nice to have a sample of Gen 0 yeast to restart the cycle.

So in short - slant to keep the original strain, repitch if you plan on making lots of beer batches back to back [smile]
Beer is like porn - you can buy it easily enough, but its so much more fun to make it [wink]
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Piperbrew
I am guessing then the original yeast I have in the fridge in sterilised jars / water will be ok for some time and as there is around 1/3 of a jam jar volume in each I can bring them out and let them warm up over night and just pitch into the wort when I need them? Although I have made a starter from some of the yeast it was mainly for me to get the technique right. 

Additionally I can also get fresh yeast from the brewery if I give them notice so I have some good options with regards to the Ringwood yeast.

I have sent off for some vials but they are the plastic kind, so will they be OK for making slants or will I need glass? 

Regarding slants requiring stepping up, I don't mind that as part of the fun as such.

Cheers

Pete
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Piperbrew
I just noticed this.....  diacetyl rest ....in the yeast description. What does that mean?
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Pinto
During fermentation, the yeast can produce a fair amount of a compound called Diacetyl, especially if fermented cool or with lager strains - the flavour of this compound is reminiscent of butterscotch or creamed sweetcorn - in some brews (Deuchars Scottish ale comes to mind) its a desirable feature, but in many brews, it's not.  However, of at the end of the brew, raising and holding the temperature quite high (25c or thereabouts) for ~24 hours, the yeast in suspension will break down this compound and remove it from the brew - this is called a Diacetyl rest

Beer is like porn - you can buy it easily enough, but its so much more fun to make it [wink]
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Piperbrew
Ahh ok thanks for that. I intended fermenting in one of my bedrooms that is around 18-19 c ...17c min so would that be ok? I can then turn the heating up or place on a heating mat.
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Pinto
Should be fine - with the natural heating from the ferment, you should see about 22-23 degrees in the fermenter which is ideal.  Back when I used to free ferment, I found those stick on tape thermometer strips you could put on the side of the FV useful
Beer is like porn - you can buy it easily enough, but its so much more fun to make it [wink]
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Fermented Culture
Ideally for freezing you want to use yeast just after it's completed fermenting out, then after waiting 12-24 hours leave it in the fridge for at least 24 hours, 48 hours is better. You get more glycogen and trehalose which helps during the freezing and revival process. Note this is different from the best time for pitching yeast from a starter into beer, that is usually just as it enters the stationary phase. Here's a few articles on freezing yeast:


The ringwood yeast which is sold is actually just one isolate out of the multistrain which ringwood uses. You will have the original culture with many strains in it (would love to trade some yeast for that [smile]). It does make me wonder how the different strains would survive the freezing and reviving. One might be more tolerant than others and increase in % of the population. Slants and petri dishes would allow you to get the right ratios every time.

Some breweries repitch for only 8-12 times. Although if you were repitching into the same type of wort every time I doubt that would change the yeast population as much as if you were to gradually increase the ethanol every brew (the ones at the end of each fermentation should slowly be more tolerant of ethanol). I think there's a brewery, JW lees, which is on or close to about generation 5000 of repitching. They also have basic tests they test while stepping up to their pitching volume, things like petite mutants are one of the more common mutations in which show up on petri dishes - they lose the ability to respire as easily so grow smaller than the normal yeast colonies. There was a study I read about this recently showing that (something like) a lager brewery can repitch with them even though they are 4-5% of the population. They'll also test for fermentation performance, diacetyl reduction, attenuation and things like that.

As said you can just insulate your fermenter and the yeast will increase the temperature of the beer. You can find those strips on ebay, I got 10 for about ~£1.30 delivered from china 10-40°C increments of 2 (bought them for using a yeast which needs to be 30-40°C).

I keep hearing about Deuchars having diacetyl but I've never tasted it in it, I've got to pay attention next time I have a glass of it.
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Piperbrew
Thanks for the replies gents all very interesting. I might contact the brewery again and ask if it is a multi strain and once I have learnt how to store correctly you are welcome to some ferment. 

Cheers 
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Fermented Culture
Amazing, thanks very much for the offer, if you PM me I can send you a list of yeasts if you want some in exchange.

If you CTRL/CMD + F with the keyword "multi" you will find some background on it: http://2beerguys.blogspot.co.uk/2007/09/ringwood-like-it-or-leave-it.html

Lots of yeast bankers would be very interested in this strain, the only other way to get the full culture would be to acquire it from the NCYC which would cost a bomb. Although there's another brewery, I think orkney which uses this yeast and they give samples away for free also ( http://www.pugsleybrewing.com/pugsleysinstallations.php ).

You gave me inspiration to email JW Lees and they have excellent customer service. Within moments they emailed me to tell me that the yeast is on generation 4871 and has 12 strains in it!

edit: there was one yeast banker who managed to isolate the strains in the right order to produce beer, he doesn't post online often any more though.
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