Maintaining Your Own Yeast Bank

If you're looking here, you are probably a more advanced homebrewer, and if you're not already there, may be looking to upgrade into the world of yeast culturing and yeast maintenance. I've been maintaining my own yeast cultures since the late '90s (with a gap in there when cancer took me right out of brewing for a few years).

If you do what the average homebrewer does, you're buying new smack packs, "pitchable-quantity" packs, vials, etc., each time you brew. Have you looked recently at how much that's costing you? Add in the cost of shipping 2nd Day Air during the summer to keep the yeasties happy, along with, for some homebrew shops, charges for the ice packs they ship the yeast with (not all homebrew shops are tossing those in for free these days), and it can get add up to get really expensive really fast!

On the other hand, if you maintain your own yeast cultures, you can, in the long run, save a lot of money, while at the same time having a ready selection of yeasts to match the style you want to brew. And if you have any friends who maintain their own yeasts, you can always get together with them and exchange cultures. In this way, you and your friends build up your yeast banks, and you also back up each other's yeast banks. Once you get started, it's very simple, and most of the costs are the one-time-only kind.

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