Yeast starter questions

My shipment of White Labs WLP775 English Cider Yeast was delayed this week for unknown reasons by FedEx. Instead of three days in transit, it took seven. The ice packs had thawed, the liquid yeast warmed and the packets expanded so much I thought they might burst. After a couple days in the refrigerator, however, the pressure inside the packets was reduced somewhat, but they still seem expanded more than normal. When I contacted the seller, they suggested I make a starter with the yeast (which I have not done before), and try using it. I did that today, and it appears to be active, so it looks like I’ll be able to use it after pressing my apples this weekend.

So the question is: I followed the directions for making a starter on the White Labs website, but the directions do not say how long I can keep it in the refrigerator before using it. Can someone please tell me how many days it will keep in the fridge? Thank you!

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Weeks, not days, at least. Best to not freeze it, however.

I don’t homebrew any longer, but when I did I’d save some of the lees from the secondary fermentation (much cleaner that that from the primary) and keep it in the fridge. I don’t remember how long, but quite a while.


Hey @marknmt, what did you do with those lees from secondary? Did you use it in recipes, or did you pitch it again into a fresh must for another batch? In reading Jolicoeur’s book, he says he uses his lees in recipes but does not give any recipes or say how he uses them.

Good to know I have plenty of time, “weeks, not days, at least.” THANKS, MARK!

I used to pitch into the next batch, and it worked fine.

I never did try to use brewers’ yeast in bread nor bakers’ yeast in brews, although it is known to work. As I understand it time was when the baker got all his yeast from the brewer, but that was when every town had a brewer, as it should. (Of course now we have craft breweries all over the place, but that’s a whole 'nother story!)

As I understand it there is a disease of bread that can be caused by using brewers’ yeast in bread doughs. I’ve never seen it, but it’s called rope and causes the center of a loaf of bread to be sticky and stringy: “ropy”. And it is said to be next to impossible to eradicate from a bakery once established.

(Might be worth noting that at one time Budweiser produced a lot of yeast for the bakers’ trade, but I don’t know whether it was left from brewing or whether they grew it especially for bakers.)


Yep, I have also used yeast from my previous brews secondary out to almost a month and it still took off in the new brew. Very active for me when used within a week. I put about 1 cup of it into my new brew, probably overkill when that fresh.


You might try using it for adding ‘umami.’ Look up nutritional yeast recipes and substitute your lees. I’m sure you can dehydrate it for longer term storage, but have never tried, so no suggestions as to how to do it.

Your lees will undoubtedly carry some of the flavor of the beverage. For cider lees… pork chops are begging to meet them.


Yeast is said to be a great vitamin b source and loaded with protein, so yeah, eat it. But you might net a certain amount of gas!

No doubt you can dry it - sourdough bakers often dry some of their culture and keep it for a long time. Not a bad idea.

Hadn’t thought of the flavor aspect! Obviously a gourmet to think of that.