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Old 07-25-2005, 05:49 PM   #1
Driftwood
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Default Should I see activity in my starter?

Hey all,

Just tried a liquid yeast for the first time last night. Wyeast smak pak.

I didn't bother smaking it, I just made up some wort from dried malt extract, and then added both pouches to that. Left it alone for 12 hours before pitching, but I didn't see any activity all day, right up to pitching.

That was last night and still no activity in fermenter, not that thats unexpected this early.

But should I have seen some activity in my starter? Or was the yeast dead? I can't remember for sure now, but I'm fairly certain i cooled the wort to room temp before adding yeast. (At worst, it might have been a little warm)

So? should I add more yeast now or wait?

Thanks...

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Old 07-25-2005, 07:33 PM   #2
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Generally you'll see kreautsen (sp?) form on it....after all, it's just a little batch of beer. I had one that didn't, but you could see that the yeast had multiplied. As long as there were yeast in it, it should go. Next time I'd give it at least 24hrs to go.

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Old 07-25-2005, 08:09 PM   #3
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well, smacking the Wyeast pack would have prevented the extended lag time in the starter and the wort. you should see something within 24-36 hours (as long as everything was cleaned and sanitized propery, and 80 degrees or below when pitched). if not, you may want to re-pitch. like sam said, you may not see activity in the air lock, but if a head of krausen has formed on the top of the wort, it's starting to work. just try to be patient and see what happens.

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Old 07-25-2005, 09:37 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I'll give it another day or 2...

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Old 07-25-2005, 11:58 PM   #5
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Always smack the pack in the future...it's a great way to know if the yeast is good or not. I've had them not swell before, and then you know not to use them.

I always keep some dry yeast on hand for these emergency scenarios. Personally, if I weren't seeing any activity, and if it's not a beer that depends on a particularly unique yeast, then I'd pitch a dry pack in there at 24 hours. It's a bummer to lose a batch to non-viable yeast.

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Old 07-26-2005, 09:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janx
Always smack the pack in the future...it's a great way to know if the yeast is good or not. I've had them not swell before, and then you know not to use them.

I always keep some dry yeast on hand for these emergency scenarios. Personally, if I weren't seeing any activity, and if it's not a beer that depends on a particularly unique yeast, then I'd pitch a dry pack in there at 24 hours. It's a bummer to lose a batch to non-viable yeast.

Cheers
I have to disagree on the swelling part. My last batch, an altbier, used a Wyeast pack that didn't swell. I pitched it and the next day I heard a large popping noise. I opened my closet to discover that overnight, the ferment had taken off so vigourously that the krausen had pushed up into the airlock, clogged it, and blew it right out of the lid. I cleand it up, resanitized and replaced it - a few times that day, I might add (I didn't have the stuff to make a blow off tube).

So the packs don't always swell, but the yeast can be perfectly viable.
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Old 07-26-2005, 02:47 PM   #7
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I stand corrected. I tend to be a White Labs fella. I've mostly used Chico Ale yeast from Wyeast, and it swells like CRAZY. I had a Wit yeast from them that didn't swell once and I used it anyway and it didn't go. I guess it was old or mishandled. So, since then I've avoided unswollen smack packs.

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Old 07-26-2005, 08:16 PM   #8
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Well, I checked last night (24 hours after pitching) and there was still nothing...

Checked again this morning and it looks like the start of the krausen is beginning, just a faint foam on top that hasn't covered the entire surface yet (30 hours after pitch)

I'll look again after work, but it looks like everything is ok... thanks all...

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