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WYEAST smack pack 1056

So recently I purchased a pack of WYEAST 1056 which was mailed to my house. The shipment took 2 days and arrived inside of a foil bubble wrap bag with an ice pack inside. I threw it in the fridge and waited for my brewday… which happened to be yesterday. I made an IPA with an OG of 1.065.
At the start of the brewday, I broke open the nutrient pack inside and gave it a good shake. After 3 hours, the pack had hardly inflated which I thought was odd. Gave it over 4 hours, cut the bag open and pitched it into 65DF wort. BTW there was no starter(long story, but 99% of the time I do them).
Over 12 hours later… I got nothin. Not a drop of fermentation appears to have started.
Question: Has anyone ever purchased a yeast that was either dead or otherwise so unhealthy that is wont get goin? Maybe the fluctuating temps in and out of the fridge stressed it out?
So I went down and purchased a new bag of yeast and I’m going to make a starter now. Let it run on the stir plate for 24 hrs and pitch it.

I’ve never had one completely dead, but then I usually buy from LHBS. Without a starter, though, I have had some lag… 12 hours isn’t long enough for me to worry. After 36 hours or so, I would buy more yeast, but 12 is nothing to worry about.

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Yeah I’m probably over reacting. I’m just used to heavy activity in 6-8 hours

Without a starter you will have longer lag times. Might have some other fermentation problems also. What was the packaging date on the yeast?

It’s a brand new pack… 11/17/16. I popped the nutrient inside and it didn’t swell like they normally do. I figured there was going to be issues with it when it did that. Well the conditions of the wort(oxygen, nutrients, etc), temp, and carboy are excellent. That pack never fully swelled and stayed a lot flatter than usual. I figured there would be some lag time, but even as of right now, there hasn’t been a single bubble and the airlock hasn’t moved at all.

According to the Brew United calculator you would need 226 billion cells for a 1.065 ale at 0.75 billion cells per milliliter. The smack pack was at 72% viability. A 1.5 liter starter would yield 284 billion cells.

You will have a somewhat extended lag time while the yeast multiplies in your wort. New cell propagation will continue and slowly decrease as wort reaches around 3.5% alcohol. A 1.065 wort is probably not that high that the yeast cells will stressed. Your fermentation will take off and most likely without any off flavors from stressed yeast.

Was your yeast mailed from Northern Brewer? Another source and the pack not coming partially inflated would raise some handling questions. WY 1056 arriving partially inflated is normal.

The pack came in the mail which took 2 days to ship from a nearby brew shop. I’ll wait it out till tomorrow and see what happens. If it takes and I was being a big baby for nothing, I’ll just throw the starter in the fridge and use it on my next batch. If it never goes, I’ll dump the starter in. Or you think I should just dump all or half of it in even if the yeast is ok. Sounds like I could use some more yeast anyways.

See I knew I should have just made a starter from the beginning! HA!!!:grin:

It really should be fine, but it’s a really good idea this time of year to make a starter to make sure the yeast aren’t dead. They can handle freezing, but better safe than sorry. Same thing in the summer - better to know that your yeast are alive before adding them to a batch. Never know what happened to them during transit.

Porkchop I have a spin off question for you. I have always made a starter from the WYeast pack and pitched it with great results. But if I tried to make a starter from dead yeast how would I know this before I pitched it

For the future, pick up a pkt of US-05 to have on hand for just those conditions where maybe the yeast hasn’t taken off like you think it should. Or those times you don’t have enough time to make a starter. In other words, Insurance.

Well, you wouldn’t see any yeast activity. Usually you’ll have some krausen in your starter… if you don’t get anything, and the gravity of the starter doesn’t drop after a few days, the yeast are probably toast.

I’ve only had two yeast vials fail over the past several years. One was frozen solid when it arrived, and the other sat in a ups truck over Independence Day weekend. It’s enough to make you double check the yeast before pitching.

Update… well as soon as I started reachin out to folks in a panic, the yeast kicked into gear! So the lag phase was 25 hours and I’ll see how active it is tomorrow. Being that I only pitched 100 billion cells from the pack for a 1.065 gravity beer, I’m going to dump in 1/2 of the starter I made this morning tomorrow and keep the rest on the stir plate for one more day… then crash it in the fridge for my next batch. I’ll just do a 2nd starter with that when the time comes.

Now that’s the plan… anyone have any pointers on that or does that seem okay?

Good plan. You can also harvest yeast from this current brew. I harvest yeast in two pint jars. If one would happen to get infected there is the second jar. I also over build starters to save some fresh yeast for the next starter. The harvested yeast from an IPA has a very nice hoppy aroma from the dry hop when opened later. All this yeast saving does mean throwing out some of the yeast in 4 to 6 months.

I will use yeast harvested from an IPA in any beer recipe that uses a somewhat similar hop.

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Even with a smackpack. Do make a starter. Just in case.

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So do you top crop your yeast or just wait until you empty the carboy, then wash it out of the trub?

Most of the yeasts I use aren’t suitable for top cropping. I pour the yeast out of the fermentor after bottling. I don’t rinse/wash the yeast anymore. Tried it about 8 years ago. Lost more yeast than harvested, timing consuming, and infection risk. Some of my technique here:

I pour from the boil kettle into the fermentor through a fine mesh bag to remove hop material. This is my new technique for doing the pour solo:

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That’s a good idea with the bucket and mesh bags! I’m going to start doing that…haha thanks

Wyeast Activator packs should be enough to inoculate wort up to 1.060 so your 1.065 is close but not too big IMHO.

The obvious answer is to smack it and give it a couple of days to blow up. I have used packets that were pretty old and had to wait longer for them to blow up. My LHBS gave me one that was months old because it was the only one he had of the strain I was after. It did blow up eventually but I made a starter just in case. Put my brew day off until the next weekend.

With life and work and family going on it’s tough when you are planning a brew day and your stuff arrives late.

Having a packet of dry US-05 on hand is very good advice BTW

Thanks! Yeah it ended up taking off, but I went ahead and pitched 1/2 a 2000ml starter into it just for safe measure. I saved the other half in the fridge for another beer. It’s World War III up in that carboy now!

Fermentation temperature controlled??

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