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Wow, That Smack Pack Worked Better Than I Thought

I bought 3 smack packs in August, and one was DOA. Just didn’t make any yeast once I put it in a starter.

So today, I thought I’d smack my ESB Limited Edition from last quarter, and step it up a little at a time if it didn’t blow up real big. But it did. It’s as big as a smack pack I’ve ever seen.

So my question is, I usually make the starter on Thursday for a Saturday or Sunday Brew. Would it kill me to have a yeast starter sitting around if I made one tonight? Or can I wait until tomorrow night to make it? Is it okay in the package for another 24 hours?

If I make it tonight, I would likely put it in the fridge on Friday morning, to let it settle out. Thinking about 2000 ml starter for a 1.054 ESB.

if your making a starter why smack the pack?
you can make a starter well ahead of time but your yeast will be a little dormant, decant and add some fresh wort little before to wake them back up

I smack the pack because it lets me know that the yeast is viable. If it blows up, it’s good. If it doesn’t blow up, the yeast is dead. Therefore, I wouldn’t make a starter or brew. I’d order new yeast.

This is why, in my opinion, Wyeast > White Labs.

[quote=“jezmez68”]I smack the pack because it lets me know that the yeast is viable. If it blows up, it’s good. If it doesn’t blow up, the yeast is dead. Therefore, I wouldn’t make a starter or brew. I’d order new yeast.

This is why, in my opinion, Wyeast > White Labs.[/quote]
that’s not entirely true. I’ve made starters with packs that didn’t swell with success.

On the other hand, I just made one on Friday and I have had zero activity as of last night. This morning I may see a tiny bit, but I am about to give up.

[quote=“jezmez68”]I smack the pack because it lets me know that the yeast is viable. If it blows up, it’s good. If it doesn’t blow up, the yeast is dead. Therefore, I wouldn’t make a starter or brew. I’d order new yeast.

This is why, in my opinion, Wyeast > White Labs.[/quote]

thats not going to change anything, your just waiting longer.
Granted you are going through the time of making a starter, but I have heard of things not swelling and a starter being fine. I have never experienced it but have heard of others. Could be some type of bad nutrient pack and the yeast is fine with wyeast.
6 years of brewing and I have never had a bad yeast from wyeast or whitelabs. Do not personally know anyone that has either

Funny. My staro-prague yeast was bad, and a friend of mine (Duder) is having the same problem.

y’all have some bad luck.

how are you keeping the yeast after you buy it? getting it shipped? whats the date on the packs or bottles? Does your lhbs have a good turn over rate? Where are you located? There a numch of different reasons it could go bad

I have some 2278 Czech Pils that has been giving me fits. Made a starter last Sunday and did not have any confirmed activity until yesterday am. (Wednesday)

Shipped by NB.

They ARE my local home brew store. Don’t have a physical store within 175 miles which just happens to be how far they are from me. ONE way.

Stored in my fridge.

Might be 2 months old.

It’s going now so… I’ll brew with it tomorrow.

SHeeT happens.

Good Luck

2 months old ain’t nothing. I brewed last night with a smack pack of WY1450 from April. Started it with a 1 liter starter, then stepped it up to 3 liters. Had a lot of yeast. I think stepping it up is the way to go with old yeast packs. Unless it’s gone through extreme temperature differences, your yeast probably isn’t dead.

[quote=“Duder”]Shipped by NB.

They ARE my local home brew store. Don’t have a physical store within 175 miles which just happens to be how far they are from me. ONE way.

Stored in my fridge.

Might be 2 months old.

It’s going now so… I’ll brew with it tomorrow.

SHeeT happens.

Good Luck[/quote]

With it being it shipped and with the age I would step it up.
Its is probably always going to be a little slower taking off depending on temperature during shipment and age.

Moral of the story:

If it is old or doesn’t swell don’t give up. Make a starter. Stepping up may be necessary. If it is slow wait for it. Have a backup plan.
If you give up just because you think it is dead you may just be throwing away $6 - $10.

I always step up lager starters. Always.

No big deal just commenting on current events in the world of yeast at my house. 8)

Good Luck

I just smacked a Wyeast Trappist yeast that I had in the fridge for 10 years. I didn’t think anything would happen and thought I would throw it away. After 4 days the pack was bursting. The starter tastes fine. I haven’t brewed with It yet because I wasn’t planning any Belgian brews but I plan to step it up and use it this weekend.

Yeah, okay. Duder’s probably worked better (he was the other guy who was having trouble) because he stepped his up. Mine was from July, and I put it straight up into a 4L starter, so I dunno. Either way, I’m out $6, and it was from NB. The 1768 starter went fine - blew up big, like I said, and I waited about 36 hours before making a starter. It came out all liquid and then in like 3 clumps. Took off fine. Took about 6 hours to show activity in the bucket (5 gallons in a 7.9 bucket). Been going strong for 3 days now.

That story about the 10 year old yeast is amazing. From now on, as long as these things aren’t completely baked, I’m going to step them up if they’re old. This has probably been the best discussion around this I’ve ever seen.

Thanks!

I wouldn’t use it if it doesn’t puff up. Waste 6 bucks or a batch of beer, your choice. Another moral here is to always have back-up yeast.

Belgian Amber is done with primary and is lookin great. I guess I’m going make a few belgians now.

I saw a video somewhere, by Wyeast, that said that having a smackpack not puff up is not necessarily a problem. Give it a chance. If you make a starter, cold crash it and have no yeast layer - then - consider it dead. If you decide it is dead because it did not puff and throw it away you will never know whether you saved your beer or wasted 6 bucks.

And have a backup plan.

I keep a dry yeast on hand, I harvest yeast, I make the starter and can delay brew day, and I am starting a frozen yeast bank.

If you chose to use a starter with an unpuffed smackpack be sure to taste it to make sure it is the yeast in there that you want.

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