How To Freeze Yeast And Save Money!

You can freeze yeast?  You bet you can! This post really goes with the conjunction of the how to make starters post we did last week.   Harvesting, and freezing yeast is simply a great way to save money on brewing beer which only means one thing – you can brew more beer.   This post is my attempt in breaking down how to actually freeze your yeast so you can use it again in the future.


Why Would You Want To Freeze Your Yeast?

The reason why you would want to freeze your yeast is that you are saving about $7 for every tube that you pull out of the freezer.  That means you can buy more ingredients and make more beer! This method is really meant to make 50-200 billion cells.  With frozen vials of yeast, you would want to make a starter for them to ensure that you got a good fermentation (or double pitch).

Some General Supplies That You Are Going To Need

  • A large amount of yeast that you are going to want to save in the future – this will be made with a starter
  • Some tubes that you can keep your yeast in.  The best are the white labs tubes.  If you don’t have any you can always just buy the tubes online as well.
  • A holder for the tubes
  • Glycerin, food grade.
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Sanitized Water
  • Cold Pack

Cold As Ice

How Do You Freeze Yeast?

*Read All Instructions Before You Start 

  1. Collect yeast by chilling a culture that you made before with our amazing yeast starter guide. – It goes into details about how to separate the wort and yeast at the end of that post.
  2. Pour off the wort leaving enough to just allow the yeast to be suspended in a dense mixture (aka slurry).
  3. A quart starter can usually be reduced to 1/40th the volume giving you 100 billion cells in 25 millimeters (1.5 tablespoons of yeast per baby test tube)
  4. Sanitize the outside of the test tubes with rubbing alcohol
  5. Take 1.5 tablespoons of yeast and put into the baby soda bottles aka white labs yeast containers (they are listed in the supplies above)
  6. Add an equal amount of glycerol to each of the vials (make sure the glycerol is at a 1:5 ratio with sanitized water)
  7. Cap the tube and swirl without making it frothy.
  8. Now fill up the remainder with 10% glycerin mixture
  9. Make sure there is enough room for expansion because it is going to freeze
  10. Put test tubes in test tube holder
  11. Take gel packs and surround the yeast packages with them.
  12. The gel packs will slow down the process of the freezing for the yeast
  13. Gel packs will help prevent the yeast thawing when the freezer cycles
  14. When you plan on using the yeast, take them out of the freezer
  15. Soak them in water that is about 100 degree’s.  Swirl until the yeast has thawed out
  16. Remove the tube from the water, make a starter and pitch yeast into starter

beer head


I know this can be confusing as you read this and may seem a bit overwhelming or intimating  but if I can do it – you can do it.  If you have any questions just let me know.  There are some other methods to freezing yeast which I have used in the past, but this method is one that gives me pretty good results every time I use it.

Personal Note:  The way to think about doing this is just make a really bit starter, or a few big starters and then freeze the yeast out of that.  It doesn’t make sense to do this with every type of yeast that you use but ones you know you are going to use a lot.  WLP 001 is classic as well as 1056.   I usually will only freeze yeast for about a year.  I don’t like going over that.  In the summer time if you like wheats and know you are going to make a hand full of wheats starting from April – August freeze your wheat yeast, same goes with stouts using 004 for the fall and winter or 001 for year round, I’m sure you get the picture.

If you have any tips on how to do this or would like to share your method, please let us know in the comment section below!  Cheers!



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