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Starter with Wyeast smack pack

Hi All,

I’ve used White Labs yeast before when making a 1L starter and had great success with the brew. My next brew is going to use Wyeast 1056 for 1.062 OG and fermenting in the low/mid 60’s* F. I want to make a starter with this yeast, but this whole smack pack thing is confusing me a little.

Do I smack the yeast pack and let it swell, then pitch it into the starter? Or do I not bother smacking it since I’m making the starter?

What does the smacking/swelling do exactly? Is it like making a mini-starter?


If making a starter, it really doesn’t matter whether you smack the pack or not. Smacking the pack opens up a small pouch with a little wort (I believe it’s wort). It’s only a tiny amount to wake up the yeast, get them producing CO2, which swells the pack. The only real purpose is to assure you have active yeast in there.

There is also yeast nutrients in there as well.

Quote from Wyeast site:

There is also yeast nutrients in there as well. [/quote]

Yeah, but not enough to really matter. The smacking is to assess viability, not to increase cell count.

Thanks for all the ideas and info, guys. Sounds like the smacking/swelling is not completely necessary when making a starter, but I think I’ll do it anyway since I’ve never used a smack pack before. In the future I probably won’t bother, though.

There’s absolutely no reason NOT to do it, but it’s also not absolutely necessary to do it. It’s a good idea to smack it to be sure you have viable yeast even if making a starter. Having said that, I’ve never had a smack pack that wasn’t viable, but I also buy local. If you have a pack shipped to you in extreme cold or warm weather, that would be a good reason to smack and see.


Understand that although they call it a “smack pack”, you don’t really smack it. Locate the inner nutrient pack by feel, then PRESS it with the heel of your hand until it pops.

Don’t ask me how I learned this!

Thanks guys! I guess I’ll always activate my smack packs since there’s really no reason not to.

FWIW, the smack pack was already activated when I received it. Must’ve got bumped around too much in shipping or something. Anyway, I made a starter with it and everything went fine. Just put it in the fridge this morning to cold crash and will be pitching it tomorrow in a porter :smiley:

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