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Smack packs vs vials

I bought a sack of MO for my porter so with all this grain I’m going to brew an ESB. I need to get some ESB yeast. How many of you guys use the smack packs. If I need to build up the yeast anyway does anybody make starters from smack packs. Just wondering Incase my store doesn’t have 002

I make starters from both vials and smack packs. I treat them pretty much the same. However, Nottingham makes a surprisingly good esb. I’m generally not a fan of Nottingham, but this might be the one style that I might use it over 002 or 1968…

I typically make a starter with the smack packs. The packs I get are usually a month to two months old. Getting down to the low to mid 70% range in viability.

Always make a starter with liquid yeast. I’d use 1968 or 1469 in the ESB. Notty is too clean for an ESB for my taste. You’ll get much more character from the liquid yeast. I’ve used 1318 as well. My favorite is probably 1469 but it can be hard to get.

I do make a starter. From smackpack. Or vials.

I usually make a starter. I have also had good results not making one with the Activator packs(five gallons). I mostly do twenty gallon batches so I have to step it up a couple of times to get enough cells

So since those Activator packs are made to inoculate five gallons of 1.034 to 1.060 wort, why are we doing a starter?

I guess maybe if the pack is only a day old and your doing a small beer you could do 5gal with 1 pack. I grabbed a pack of 1968 yesterday planning to just do a 3 gallon esb and save the yeast. But the date was late September so I’ll need a starter even for that. My 3gal batch needs 103b/cells. Because of the date I only have 34b cells.

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Our LHBS only carries Wyeast so I’ve used a bunch of smackpacks. I make a starter except when doing an intentional underpitch with a Hefe. Even then, using a single smackpack is generally not a huge underpitch if reasonably fresh.

I would suspect a Sept. 1968 will need alot of coaxing! :slight_smile: Sneezles61


Very funny. Hey my regular store carries WL but but the store I went to yesterday had a wyeast. When I used the smacks before I let them blow up, is that really necessary if I’m using it in a starter

It isn’t necessary for the smack pack to swell before pitching into a starter wort. Letting the pack swell is just an indicator the yeast wasn’t killed by mishandling.

Not crucial but probably better to follow the instructions. The main reason to allow it to swell is to verify viability. The main reason to burst the nutrient pack is to provide for a pitch of metabolically active yeast into your starter or batch.

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That’s what I figured

Those smack packs have caused me problems in the past, so I stick to white labs, and starters… Now the new WL, seems there is just a tiny bit left and now that bothers me! Sneezles61

I don’t like their new packaging either. Another reason for me to hate on wlp800…haha

I’ve always been a Wyeast guy…

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I smack it when I get it out of the fridge and let it sit next to the cooktop while I boil water for the starter. It’s usually swollen a little by the time the starter has cooled enough to pitch.

That’s what I did swelled up within the hour. I figured since it was three months old it would take awhile but not so. I still think the vials are easier also

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