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Old 12-16-2007, 12:28 AM   #1
bobby1212
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Default Yeast Pack Not Swelling!!

I am in the middle of brewing a batch of Oatmeal Stout and my British Ale II yeast pack is not swelling. The little packet inside broke and it has been well over hours and nothing yet.
How is this going to affect me? Will it still work or do I need another packet? I cannot get one until Monday so what else could I use?

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Old 12-16-2007, 01:21 AM   #2
debaniel
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What is the date on the package?

And how many hours has it been? Sometimes you have to wait overnight to see any swelling, if the package was produced a couple of months ago...

Since you are in the middle of brewing, you can't hurt anything by pitching the yeast as is. If you aren't seeing any fermentation by Monday, perhaps you could pick up a package of dry yeast and throw it in there...

From here on out, think about making a starter. Then you'll know plenty of time in advance as to whether your smack pack is rockin or not...

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Old 12-16-2007, 01:29 AM   #3
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The date on the packet is October 2007 so that isn't the problem. It has been over 3 hours since I activated it.

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Old 12-16-2007, 01:35 AM   #4
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How warm is it where you have the packet? 3 hours really isn't all that long especially if you didn't warm the pack up when you smacked it

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Old 12-16-2007, 01:40 AM   #5
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I had the same propblem on the last smack pack I used. It turns out that I hadn't broken the inner pack, although I was sure I had, and couldn't feel it anymore.

Try laying it on the counter, and feeling for the inner pack, just in case. Or just beat the heck out of it, beacuse it won't hurt the yeast any.

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Old 12-16-2007, 02:22 AM   #6
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It may be too late, but I wait for my yeast to show signs of swelling before I use it. I actually get my yeast (the big Wyeast pack (I think it is called Activator)) from my LHBS about 2 weeks before I want to brew. That way, I know that I will get fresh yeast in the big Wyeast pack and it only costs $1 more. Upon arrival, I smack it and divide it about equally into 2 starters and use that for 2 different 5 gallon batches.

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Old 12-16-2007, 02:40 AM   #7
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My last smack pack took more than 6 hours to show any signs of life; the manufacture date was in September.

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Old 12-16-2007, 02:45 AM   #8
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Well I pitched it so we will see what happens. The inner pouch was broken. I have never had one take so long. All the others that I have used swelled within 2 hours.

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Old 12-16-2007, 03:14 AM   #9
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Default Interesting!!!

I came across this thread searching for information on long lag times...

My brew last Sunday, (all grain, nut brown ale, wyeast london ale), similar to previous post I thought I smacked the pack the night before. But... I didn't... so, as I was about to brew I noticed a lack of swelling. I figured it wouldn't be a problem. The pack was at room temp. so I just made sure to smack it and went about brewing. I assumed I'd see some swelling by the time I finished the sparge... Wrong!!! Oh.. oh.

Well, there is no LHBS, so my choices were limited. I went ahead and pitched the yeast when the time came and hoped for the best. BTW... everything about this brew session went great, other than the yeast...

So, I didn't see much fermentation for 3 days. I've seen slow starts before, but never 3 days, so I was nervous (still am). Weighing my options, FEDEX more yeast ($50), wait (??)... I decided to wait, and search for a nearby brewery... maybe I could beg yeast.

Finally, I realized that there was a pretty decent package store, and they probably would have some bottle conditioned beer... maybe I could pitch yeast from one of those. (I wanted to try the Left Hand Smoke Jumper Porter anyway).

That was Friday... but when I arrived home... ferme
ntation had started... I can only hope that it's the Wyeast not some random wild yeast... 5 day lag. I'm cautiously optimistic...

So, back to the original post. If I had the LHBS option, I would have purchased another smack pack and re-pitched after 2 days... If you are really concerned, you could bring the wort back to a boil, then cool and repitch. This would eliminate any wild yeasts from your wort.

I've learned my lesson... I'm making starters from now on.

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Old 12-16-2007, 05:37 PM   #10
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This is exactly why you make a starter 1-2 days in advance. You'll know beforehand if the yeast is dead. It also wakes them up and increases the population to a more optimal pitching rate.

sure those smack packs and vials say "pitchable", but they are not at the ideal pitch rate.

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