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Old 01-24-2009, 02:00 PM   #1
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Default Old White Labs Yeast

I recently found a vial of White Labs American Lager Yeast tucked away in the back of the fridge. i know the vial has a best if used before date on it, but I am assuming thats the "guarunteed to propigate if directly pitched" Date. I expect all of the veterans to say: Make a starter out of it! But how old is too old? The date stamped on this one is about 6 months ago...

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Old 01-24-2009, 06:00 PM   #2
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Should be alright, but heres my two cents: dont be fooled, that vial of yeast (and all other yeast products) are a blend of strains. And on top of that, there is always a minute amount of contamination. Of course make a starter, if it bubbles, something is still alive in there. Taste the "beer" starter before planning on adding it to any batch of wort. If it tastes good, it probably is. If there is off flavors, wild yeasts (manufactures contamination) was the only thing to survive. Wild yeasts are lions in a ***** cat beer yeast world.

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Last edited by Nanobru; 01-24-2009 at 06:00 PM. Reason: I cant say ***** cat? ok, how about kitty cat.
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Old 01-24-2009, 06:23 PM   #3
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MAKE A STARTER! there is no "too old"...there is ALWAYS the possibility of viable yeast in there. If you can culture yeast from bottles, then culturing yeast from old vials shouldn't be a problem.

or nuke it from orbit...it's the only way to be sure.

EDIT: I don't know what this BS is about ***** cats and contamination. A closed vial will not be contaminated.

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:03 PM   #4
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As stated in a simliar thread the other day...I have a HW fermenting away that I made with a WLP350 dated Nov 06...no starter...

What do you think??

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:31 PM   #5
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The "contamination" comes from the lab, it is already in the vial. If you were to do some research, you would find that every cell is not genetically identical. And some of this is actually on purpose. Some of the genetic variations you would find allow the yeast to quickly go through its respiration cycle, reach its proper attenuation... etc. And yes, there is bad contamination in the vial too. Will you notice? probably not. But when the yeast vial is past its "best by" date, the yeast cells you want may not be as populous as the strains you dont want much of, due to the differing hardy nature of living organisms. This discussion is obviously way deeper than originally intended, but interesting none the less. This is also why a brewer only repitches his yeast several times rather than indefinately.

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Old 01-25-2009, 03:37 PM   #6
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My lhbs sells out of date vials cheap...I've not had a problem once I made a starter with any of it... Using an out dated yeast and growing it is really no different then bottle harvesting yeast...building it up incrementally from whatever viable cells you have.

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Old 01-25-2009, 06:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nanobru View Post
The "contamination" comes from the lab, it is already in the vial. If you were to do some research, you would find that every cell is not genetically identical. And some of this is actually on purpose. Some of the genetic variations you would find allow the yeast to quickly go through its respiration cycle, reach its proper attenuation... etc. And yes, there is bad contamination in the vial too. Will you notice? probably not. But when the yeast vial is past its "best by" date, the yeast cells you want may not be as populous as the strains you dont want much of, due to the differing hardy nature of living organisms. This discussion is obviously way deeper than originally intended, but interesting none the less. This is also why a brewer only repitches his yeast several times rather than indefinately.
OT: correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't repitching the same yeast and washing it over and over again exactly how the different strains of yeast came to be in the first place? Like, the differences between a London yeast strain and a strain that was used for a looong time changes it's characteristics and becomes more like another one?
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:20 AM   #8
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One of the employee's at my local LHBS made a strater from a vial that was a year and a half old. Took a week to get going on a stirplate. It worked fine and made a tasty ale.
I have a twenty dollar stirplate and I buy expired yeast all the time. I get it for three bucks.

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Old 01-26-2009, 04:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
My lhbs sells out of date vials cheap...
Mine gives them to me for FREE...
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Old 01-26-2009, 04:42 AM   #10
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Mine gives them to me for FREE...
As they should!!
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