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To use, or NOT to use is the question

Last March I ordered grains and yeast, and had brewed eight to twelve batches of all grain beer. However, I never got arund to using a vile of WLP400. I am now looking to make a Wit beer or two, and was wondering if I should pitch it out, and order new? Or should I attempt get it going on a stir plate and see if it is going to work?

What are your thoughts or experiences with aging viles of yeast? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and experiences!! :cheers:

Might as well try saving it. Start with a one-half liter wort of 1.010 SG. Test the SG after two days. If the SG has decreased there is some life in the yeast. Step up with one liter of 1.020 SG wort.

When it comes to matters like the I look at cost. By the time you make a couple stepped up starters to get the yeast viable, you could have bought a fresh vial.

Thanks for the replies, I think I’ll take both pieces of advice and work up a starter. I am sure I’ll learn a few things. Also I’ll grab a fresh vile and start my first batch, for the price its not worth ruining a batch over. Thanks again for your replies!! :cheers:

I have had poor results trying to use old yeast like that. You might bring it back from the dead, but it might not be very good quality anymore. I would recommend just throwing it out. It might turn out fine, even great. But odds are against it in my experience.

One challenge with using older cultures is determining how well it will work in the final fermentation without committing a batch. There are very likely live yeast cells in the tube, but there may also be a lot of dead yeast cells as well. The dead cells can provide nutrients for any contaminating bacteria and encourage their growth. When you pitch it into a starter you will eventually see signs of life, but it can be hard to determine if contamination is present. And tasting the starter doesn’t really help – it always seems to taste rather bad. I don’t want to discourage an experiment, testing out a starter is a fine idea. I just wanted to suggest that it can be hard to determine when to use such a starter w/o more advanced testing (microscope, test fermentation, etc).

Good luck, and have fun!

That vial of yeast you’re referring to is at least 10-11 months old. Seriously, the chances of any yeast cells being alive at all are pretty remote. My advice: throw it away and order a new one. Even if it does by some miracle still have a few remaining live yeast cells, any starter made with it is going to take a long time and isn’t likely to be optimum.

For the record, I’ve had the dubious pleasure of receiving a couple of packs of liquid yeast that were around six months old and attempted starters with both of them. The result? Nada. I’ve also tried one that was about four months old. Same thing.

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