My second batch, but first yeast starter... I think I messed up


I’m on my second batch and addicted to brewing. I purchased the Scottish Wee Heavy extract kit, and got the Wyeast smack pack for it. Took it out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature. I then smacked it as instructed, or so I thought… Didn’t get the little packet inside. Tried again and finally got it to bust. I let it sit for about 6 hours and it swelled just a little bit, but I’m also using a stir-plate/yeast starter with canned wort. It was fizzing like crazy inside the bag, but didn’t swell much… Perhaps I was impatient, but I went ahead and set up my yeast starter.

Nice vortex going… and all was looking well.

But then, I tore open the smack pack to see what the guts looked like, and to my surprise there was what appears to be a double nutrient pack, and one half busted whereas the second half did not. Either that or it just has a long sleeve on one side, and it never busted at all. I thought it did… started fizzing, etc. My plan was to do a 1L starter, chill it, dump the spent wort, and step it up a second time.

It’s already spinning around in the flask, so not sure what to do… Do I just go ahead and dump that pack into it now? Or should I wait until I step it up tomorrow? Is there such thing as double nutrient packs or did it never bust at all? Right now that second pouch, or whatever it is… is in the fridge, but it did sit out long enough to get to room temp.

Obviously I’m new and don’t know what the heck I’m doing.

Thank you in advance for some advice. I’d hate to wait 3 months for this batch and the whole thing be a wasted effort.

Don’t worry. The nutrient pack is a booster for starting the yeast propagation a little faster, but is not absolutely necessary. I have heard about others finding a double pack of nutrients also. You could add the nutrient if you wanted to now or add it to the step up. Be sure to sanitize the package and scissors well if you add it.

1 Like

Yer vortex shouldn’t be to deep, looking like a tornado. Flars is always spot on, sanitize, and I would pitch to starter. Then when you git to a point to step it up, yes refrigerate it, capped with sanitized tin foil, decant the next day and hopefully you have yer second wort starter already cooled and ready to pitch. Put it on yer stir plate a let er spin! Its quite easy, and sanitize every step of the way. You can do it ! Sneezles61

1 Like

Don’t follow the directions on the back of the smack packs. I find them VERY pointless. What I do is corner the nutrient pack in one of the corners, place the smack pack on the counter/table, and use my palm with the required weight to make the nutrient pack “pop”. It will literally “pop” so you’ll know you were successful.

As far as the nutrient pack. As @flars said, it’s not necessary. It’s actually in there to proof the yeast viability. Since your making a starter this is unnecessary as you’ll be ensuring the viability with the starter.

As @sneezles61 said, be careful with the amount of vortex you use. Too much and your yeast will become shear stressed. This will create off flavors that are unwanted (often confused with oxidized wort).

1 Like

Thank you so much. Lovin’ this new hobby!

Thanks so much. As far as the vortex… I have it pretty minimal. I think the main goal is to keep it moving right? To keep the yeast suspended? Will a “quiet” vortex aerate sufficiently?

1 Like

I’ll definitely do this next time. Also, apologies as I’m new to the forums, but it just yelled at me and said to reply to multiple posts at once. My bad :slight_smile:

You are now beginning your journey on an enjoyable and lifelong hobby.

Welcome to brewing.


Hey @flars, @sneezles61, loopie_beer… I just wanted to update you all, since you’ve been very helpful. After all of my OCD and paranoia on the yeast starter, I did everything meticulously, sanitization, everything, except I failed one of the dumbest things I could have possibly failed on. I had a brand new tall boy 8 gallon kettle, shiny and new, not a speck of dust or anything visible, and for whatever stupid reason, I forgot to initially clean it. Perhaps it was the constant distractions of the day. This is rather embarrassing, as I always clean anything I buy that is related to consumption, but worried I’ll be drinking remnants of machine oil in a few months.

Curious as to what you think my chances of success are on this batch, of perhaps there’s no way to tell, or if I should hang my head and walk the plank.

Thanks again.

I think your chances of success are better than you are imagining right now. Did your boil kettle look oily and smell terrible? The kettle may have been steam cleaned before packaging. There are some companies that do that simple process for customer satisfaction.

I would also concur with Flars. I will add that the minimal amount of oil combined and possibly evaporated in the wort will help too! Keep on brew in’! Sneezles61

Yeah not a good thing but not the end of the world.

Here’s something not said much anymore:


1 Like