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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Step by Step: Rehydrating Dried Yeast Using Rubbermaid TakeAlong Containers


I have used Bel-Art Lab Quality Autoclave Safe Bottles to rehydrate yeast for years.  I bought a dozen of these and have to date used.. one.  They are great bottles and have worked really well for me.  My technique for this is detailed under Tip 1 on our Tips Page.

Here's the problem... Cost.  These lab jars can cost $50 plus for a dozen.  Go together with some friends and split them up and it's a pretty good price.  Still, $50+ is a chunk of change, especially if you're not going in with others.

I've looked for a good, less costly, alternative for a while now.  I recently noticed the Rubbermaid TakeAlongs line of containers and thought they may work well for this.  They are food safe, leak proof and microwave safe.

First a look at the container...
Stock Image

In the package.  Hey: This box is different than the stock image!

Side of Box: Twist&Seal - Twist-tight, leak-proof seal.  Handles stay cool when food is hot.

On the lid: Remove lid before microwaving

Recycling code is PP 6, 2 cup/473 mL capacity, Top Rack Dishwasher Safe, Microwave Safe (symbol), Freezer Safe (symbol), Made in USA

Rehydrating Yeast Using this Container...

Disclaimer:  This process involves hot liquids and steam.  Use caution as this is a dangerous process and you could get hurt.

I used Fermentis Safale S-04 dried yeast for this process.  Here are rehydration instructions for this yeast.  Fermentis Safale US-05 directions are identical.  Check with your yeast manufacturer for specific rehydration instructions.


The instructions say to use 10 times the weight of yeast being rehydrated.  11.5 gram packet equates to 115 grams.  I used the Top Find - Fast Weight MS-500 Digital Scale to do the heavy lifting here.

Since I use US-05 quite a bit, this is a pretty common weight for me, so I marked the side of the container with an Industrial Sharpie so I don't have to weigh this out every time.

Next I placed the container in my microwave, with the lid on loosely.  Here it is post microwave with the lid loosely sitting on top.

Next I carefully attached the lid and gently and carefully shook it around to get the boiling water in contact with all surfaces.  Again: If you decide to do this, be careful and do it at your own risk.  
As the container cools, the sides will collapse a bit (as pictured).  After this was all said and done, the sides bounced back pretty well but not perfectly.  I cooled the container and water under running tap water until it reached my desired temperature.  In this case 85 deg F.  The instructions say 80 deg F + or - 6 degrees.  I took the temperature with a touch free IR thermometer.  You could also use a sanitized standard thermometer.

The next step is to sprinkle yeast in the rehydration water.  I re-attached the lid and, per the directions, let it stand for 15 minutes or so.

Picture of the sprinkled yeast from the front

The directions say to gently stir for 30 minutes.  One of the beautiful things about using a container like this, with a lid, is that you can swirl instead of stir.  That keeps airborne bacteria and wild yeast to a minimum and you're also not digging around in your yeast, with who knows what, for 30 minutes.  I swirled this occasionally and came out with this result.

End product.  Hey this looks like yeast!

At the current price of about $8 for three of these, this figures out to less than $3 each.  It's food safe and microwave safe.  The leak proof lid allows you to minimize contact with the outside air.  This worked well for me.

With a pack of three you can use one for yeast and the other two for general storage around the brewery.

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs 2-Cup Twist and Seal Containers, Pack of 3 - $7.95 + Free Shipping with $25 order

Pinned: *13 Gal Containers *Keg Deals *False Bottom *Grain Scale *$18.50!:BeerSmith


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2 comments:

  1. You could also save yourself the hassle and either sprinkle US 05 which has been shown to be just as effective, or use tap water which is for all intents and purposes bug free...

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    Replies
    1. This is a post about rehydrating yeast. If you don't want to do that... dandy. I won't debate with you on that. I will say that I don't know if I buy that tap water is essentially bug free. Maybe in some cases it is and it certainly works for some, I topped up with tap water all the time without issue when I was an extract brewer. Just because something is passable doesn't mean it's the best technique. I think it's better to do a full boil. I also think it's better to sanitize your water for things like yeast rehydrating, yeast washing and yeast storage. Why not decrease bacteria levels where you can, especially when it's so easy.

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