First time using a "smack pack"?

Yesterday was the first time I used liquid yeast. Normally I just get the dry yeast selection when ordering online. I decided to swap out the dry yeast for the liquid yeast option in a LHBS kit. I didn’t think much of it but as I look back I have a question. I used the Wyeast 1056. Do you warm up the smack pack before breaking the inner pouch? I know some people recommend smacking it pretty far in advance but I smacked and waited 3 hours and it was pretty inflated. Not rock hard but enough to expand the bottom of the pouch to its full length. I didn’t know if the dormant yeast would benefit from warming before introducing the nutrient packet. Also how do you know you’re not shocking the yeast from the difference in temp between the wort and the temp of the yeast inside the pouch?

I usually just take it out of the fridge and smack it. Sitting at room temp is enough warmth to get it going as you experienced. No real need for further effort.

Depending on the gravity of your wort you most likely should have made a starter. If it’s under 1.060 you’ll likely be fine but generally speaking you’d give the yeast a better chance with a starter.

I usually take my starters from the fridge, decant and pitch. So the yeast is going ifrom a cooler to warmer environment and will become active as they warm. Less shock, happy yeast.

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Check the date on the smack pack. My experience is the older it is, the longer it takes to blow up. When it is done the pack will feel firm.

Sometimes it is a challenge to burst the little thing. You have to chase it around and corner it. :smiley:

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Yeah I had to smack it 2 or 3 times. It has been about 24 hours since I pitched everything seems fine! Bubbling away like crazy! I don’t think I noticed such a high krausen with any of my other batches w/ dry yeast. Probably just a coincidence. With the right light and the right angle I can see through the bucket. It’s about 2 to 2.5" above the 5 gallon mark.

Is there such thing as an XL smack pack? I think I remember seeing Wyeast 1056XL at least on the LHBS barcode. I didn’t pay much attention to the actually packaging. I do remember seeing 100 billion yeast cells on package.

I believe this stems from the past when Wyeast offered a “smack pack” (aka “activator” and a “propagator” pack. They no longer sell the propagator packs as they required a starter. They now only offer the smack packs.

I had problems with smack packs in the past, so I switched to Whites and starters and never looked back. I’m not typing bad about smackers’, just my experience… Sneezles61

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