WYeast Smack Pack (n00b question)

In reading instructions on the Mild Ale brew kit I received from NB it states to smack the yeast past up to three days before brewing. I smacked it this afternoon (Thursday 2 PM CST) with the intent of brewing on Saturday.

The pack is already swollen - as much as it will swell - and it is only 2 hours later.

Should I let it go, put it in the refrigerator until Saturday, brew sooner (not ideal)?

Or maybe I am overreacting…

I am not sure how tolerant these little guys are.

I’d stick it in the fridge and pull it out the day you’re brewing. You’d more than likely be fine just leaving it out but it never hurts.

I could be wrong but I think I read somewhere that the smack pack doesn’t really do anything other than show you that the yeast is viable. It’s just enough nutrients or whatever’s in there to make it activate and puff up so there is no real need to do it days in advance. I usually pop mine the day of and leave it out until it’s time to pitch.

I’ll just tag this on since it’s a self described “n00b” question. What does matter is what you pitch into and how you take care of it after. Make sure you drop the temp down to at least seventy degrees before pitching yeast. Get a twenty pound ice bag and toss it in the bathtub with water for cooling your kettle if you don’t have a chiller of some kind. Works way better than cooling in a sink.

And then place your fermenter somewhere with a consistent temp. Ideally around 60-65* for most yeast.

[quote=“inhousebrew”]I’d stick it in the fridge and pull it out the day you’re brewing. You’d more than likely be fine just leaving it out but it never hurts.

I could be wrong but I think I read somewhere that the smack pack doesn’t really do anything other than show you that the yeast is viable. It’s just enough nutrients or whatever’s in there to make it activate and puff up so there is no real need to do it days in advance. I usually pop mine the day of and leave it out until it’s time to pitch.

I’ll just tag this on since it’s a self described “n00b” question. What does matter is what you pitch into and how you take care of it after. Make sure you drop the temp down to at least seventy degrees before pitching yeast. Get a twenty pound ice bag and toss it in the bathtub with water for cooling your kettle if you don’t have a chiller of some kind. Works way better than cooling in a sink.

And then place your fermenter somewhere with a consistent temp. Ideally around 60-65* for most yeast.[/quote]
+1
That’s correct. I usually smack a few hours before brew just to see it swell. If it swells a little you know the yeast are good.

Some more advice for future reference: The yeast in a smack pack are usually not enough to pitch into ales. You’ll need to make a starter, which is a small batch of beer, 2 Liters or so at 1.030 gravity to get the yeast to reproduce to the point there is enough for healthy fermentation. Wyeast’s instructions say you can pitch up to 1.060OG but most of us homebrewers don’t go much of 1.045.

I think you’ll be ok pitching the smack pack with this batch though.

I agree with mvsawyer to make a starter but I can say that I’ve made ales up to 1.078 with only a 1 liter starter and it was no problem. It’s just too expensive to use 2 packs of yeast. I wash mine and make a starter with it and never have any problems.

Second what was said about the starter. Look into it and make a starter kit your next purchase from Northern Brewer. I didn’t mention it because you’re doing the Mild so there is no real need but it’s always something to think about.

Speaking as a noob, and a cheap one at that, the alternative to the official starter kit is the $5 1 gallon jug and a packet of malt extract. I’m sure the flask and stir plate are wonderful, but there’s always a cheaper way…

That’s the route I’ve been going, quite successfully. You need to make a bigger starter to get the same cell count. But at ~$4/lb, DME is cheap enough that it’ll be quite a while before I’ve gone through enough more of it to equal the cost of an e-flask and a stir plate. Just remember to shake frequently.

And if you get your glass jug from the grocery store they’ll usually throw in a gallon of free apple cider to go with it. :smiley:

Good point with the expense of the starter kit. I mostly meant the flask and DME, not the stir plate. Take a look at Do It Yourself Stir Plates if you want to make one. I have literally zero electrical experience and I put one together. Going cheap it should cost you about $15 but the flask/gallon jug with just the DME should get the job done, you just need to use more of it.