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Old 01-10-2014, 07:08 PM   #11
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From Wyeast's own site: "The Wyeast Activator (125 ml) smack-pack is designed to directly inoculate 5 gallons of standard ale wort (O.G. < 1.060, 65-72°F). When brewing high gravity beer (O.G. >1.060) or cold fermented lagers or ales (<65°F)) additional yeast will be required. An Activator contains approximately 100 billion cells which will deliver slightly less than 6 million cells per milliliter in a 5 gallon batch of beer."

I think the whole make a starter for everything is homebrew lore. I don't even reconstitute my 05. My beers are good to pretty darn good so far.
Yes, the packs will ferment your beer... But if you search a little more you will find that technicians from both Wyeast and White Labs recommend starters.

Your "pretty darn good" beers can be even better.

Another way to go is to reuse your yeast. You can repitch on a portion of the yeast cake, wash and save for future use. Or as I do, make a starter that is larger than you need. I then take 5ml yeast, 5ml glycerin and 10ml water, mix and freeze. I make 4 vials. If I made 4 new vials each time for 4 generations, I could brew 256 batches from my original purchase. It takes only a couple of $$ to do a step starter from a frozen vial. I have used yeast that I have kept frozen for more than 1.5 years..


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Old 01-10-2014, 07:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by sablesurfer View Post
From Wyeast's own site: "The Wyeast Activator (125 ml) smack-pack is designed to directly inoculate 5 gallons of standard ale wort (O.G. < 1.060, 65-72°F). When brewing high gravity beer (O.G. >1.060) or cold fermented lagers or ales (<65°F)) additional yeast will be required. An Activator contains approximately 100 billion cells which will deliver slightly less than 6 million cells per milliliter in a 5 gallon batch of beer."
All inoculate means is that the yeast will ferment the beer, eventually. Unless you're getting fresh, pristine smack packs then I'd have to wonder just how healthy/viable the yeast that you're pitching really is. Making a starter is beyond easy, and is a very simple way to ensure that you're pitching enough healthy and active yeast for fermentation which is critical for bigger beers and lagers. Sure you can pitch a vial or pack into a high gravity beer and it'll ferment. It might also lag, and get stuck. There's a reason why the brewers that win the big awards recommend using starters for liquid yeast.

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I think the whole make a starter for everything is homebrew lore. I don't even reconstitute my 05. My beers are good to pretty darn good so far.

(The 10% beer was an RIS that fermented out to FG without ever needing the champagne yeast they always put in the kit, that one was so good I shared with friends.)
Have you sent any to a competition or have they been evaluated by anyone besides yourself and your friends? Starters are fairly standard practice. Honestly you can brew how you want, I really don't care, but you'll make the best beer you can with a yeast starter.


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Old 01-10-2014, 08:31 PM   #13
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Default Smack packs...how many do I need?

The packages say one is enough for 5 gallons of up to 1.060 wort. But that's pushing it. Are they saying a 1.059 beer will be great, but a 1.061 beer will be terrible? They put 5 gallons of 1.060 as the cut off because that's the most they think you can get away with, and they want you to buy their yeast. If a new brewer was looking at two different yeast brands, and one said it was ready to use just open the package and dump it in, and the other instructs you to buy some malt extract and prepare a starter a few days in advance, they think everyone would go with the first one.

The other thing the package says is to keep it above 70 until fermentation begins, in order to ensure gets going. That should tell you right there that they're trying to compensate for something since most brewers for most beers prefer to do the opposite, which is to start low and let it rise.

So to the OP, it's up to you. If you have the time and the willingness to make a starter, do that. If you'd rather spend the extra 7 bucks, buy more yeast. If you don't want to do either, one pack will get the job done.

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Old 01-10-2014, 08:42 PM   #14
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If I'm brewing a beer that is 5 gallons in volume at an OG of 1.059, how many smack packs do I need?
1 smack pack and a 1.5L starter. No need to buy a stir plate even, just shake the starter a little every time you walk by it. If you have/buy a stir plate, a 1L starter gets you there.

Or, use 2 smack packs.

You want to be in the neighborhood of 200 billion cells. How you get there is up to you, but only pitching 100 billion (best case with 1 fresh-off-the-line pack, but you probably have much less) will not result in the best possible beer.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by sablesurfer View Post
From Wyeast's own site: "The Wyeast Activator (125 ml) smack-pack is designed to directly inoculate 5 gallons of standard ale wort (O.G. < 1.060, 65-72°F). When brewing high gravity beer (O.G. >1.060) or cold fermented lagers or ales (<65°F)) additional yeast will be required. An Activator contains approximately 100 billion cells which will deliver slightly less than 6 million cells per milliliter in a 5 gallon batch of beer."
Standard ale pitching rates are between 750,000 and 1,000,000 cells per ml per degree plato. 6 million cells per ml would be sufficient for something like a 1.025-1.030 wort by those numbers.
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Old 01-13-2014, 10:07 PM   #16
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My smack pack said 1 pack and no starter. Seems to work just fine.

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Old 01-13-2014, 10:32 PM   #17
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I saw your posts about your first batch, and for 1 gallon batches like that you are pitching plenty of cells even without a starter.

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Old 01-17-2014, 11:22 PM   #18
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Hmm seems the general consensus is one pack with a starter thanks for the help!



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