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Yeast condition

Just brewed NB’s Bavarian Helles extract kit with Wyeast 2308. When I received the kit in the mail, the yeast packet had already begun to inflate a little. I smacked it yesterday and by today it was fully inflated. When I pitched it, a little liquid came out but much of it had the consistency of paste that I had to squeeze out. Will it still do it’s thing?

sounds odd…did you shake the pack? i always shake mine before opening. That may not be the issue but if it swelled then sounds like the yeast is healthy…you’ll know in a few days

Yep, shook it up good after smacking it. Probably should have bought the yeast at the LHBS. Oh well, time will tell

Were you pitching into a starter? If you’re making a lager with just a smack pack, I’d be more concerned about majorly underpitching than an activated smack pack.

No, I didnt do a starter. The OG was only 1.040. I’ve pitched single smack packs up to 1.060 without a starter with no issues. I’m more concerned about the condition of the yeast when I went to pitch.

I see. But you’re brewing a lager, right? Ideally, you’d want to pitch a lot more yeast than just the one smack pack. I’m assuming you’re doing a 5 gallon batch. I’m not sure of the production date on your pack, but here are a couple resources to check out:

Mr. Malty’s pitching rate calculator

  • according to this, even with optimum yeast health you should direct pitch 3 packs, or pitch 2 packs into a 2L starter.

I kind of prefer the Yeast Calc site
though. According to that, you could use one pack in a 2L starter and be ok.

Both yeast calculators say you’ll need ~300 billion cells to get the job done well.

However, if you’re brewing only a 1 or 2 gallon batch, you’re golden.

It’s 5 gal batch. So since I didn’t do a starter, what are my options now? Pitch another couple of packs?

What was the manufacture date on the package? What’s the beer style?

It might be worth the extra investment to pitch a couple more packs. You’re putting a lot of time into a lager, if nothing else.

You could also save the yeast slurry from this batch and repitch it on multiple future batches, and essentially recoup your cost that way.

If it were me, I might go ahead and pitch a couple more packs. I’m a relative lager newbie though, so hopefully the yeast masters will chime in here too.

I would also add more especially if you are fermenting at lager temps[48-50 deg]. I always make starters for all liquid yeasts, probably a qrt. starter for lagers. I will even use 2 pkts of dry yeast in lagers.

Similar here, except I’ll typically do a 2 liter starter for an “average” 1.050 lager. Lagers need to be clean, and that means minimizing conditions that cause yeast to produce esters. Underpitching will cause the yeast to be stressed and produce esters. Pitch an extra pack at least.

I would also suggest you consider brewing another lager timed to coincide with when this one finishes primary fermentation in 3-4 weeks. You won’t get better quality yeast than you have right after a beer has finished. Just use 1/3 to 1/2 the yeast cake if the OG of the two beers is reasonably similar.

Thanks for the advice all. This is my first lager so it’s a lesson learned. I’ll be making a trip to my LHBS today to pick up more yeast.

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