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Old 07-13-2009, 10:24 PM   #1
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Default White Labs Yeast Questions

No Yeast forum so put my post here, is there a better location? Just brewed http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/monkey-mainline-127743/ and I'm like 99% sure I ordered Wyeast (I meant to) but they shipped me White Labs California Ale Yeast that expires in October 2009. It looks like a cake of what I see on top of my brew when fermentation is complete and some goldish liquid (yeast and liquid are separated of course). I have some of the wort in a starter jar and the yeast just went to the bottom of the jar like trub in a fermenter. I know nothing about yeast. Homebrew.com - Helping you make better beer and wine since 1996 told me to wait another day after waiting one already. So the questions should start becoming evident to the pro but here is a novice try?

Yes I followed the instructions.
Is the company trying to get rid of old yeast and screwing me?
Can you tell by the appearance of the yeast if it is mostly spent?
If the majority is dead will the remainder be enough to sufficiently ferment the 5 gallon batch?
How long does it normally take White Labs yeast to start creating a head, the instructions say mimimum 4 hours but it has been nearly 24?
Wouldn't fresh yeast be better than one expiring in less than 3 month? (Somewhat rhetorical but seriously what is a lifespan of yeast?)
I've never had dry yeast nor Wyeast EVER take longer than a few minutes to start excrementing CO2, why would White Labs take longer (unless it is already dead?)
Any other answers to questions that aren't here and should be are welcome, I'm spent like my grain so I will await your replies.

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Old 07-13-2009, 11:11 PM   #2
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Both White Labs and Wyeast provide excellent yeasts. October 2009 expiry? That's more than three months out; the yeast is fine, nobody is trying to screw you over.

It can take up to 72 hours to see signs of fermentation. Did you aerate the wort a lot (that is, twice as much as you think you need to)? This tends to be the most important step in short take-off times.

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Old 07-13-2009, 11:18 PM   #3
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I exclusively use White Labs, and IMHO the yeast ROCKS!

If you are making a starter, the viable yeast will reproduce. Most starters that I have made exhibit no kraeusen. Just because you don't see a foamy head doesn't mean your starter isn't growing.

On the vial it is printed that the yeast is best within four months from the date on the pkg. So if you have about 3 months and it was properly stored there shouldn't be an issue.

I don't know what your starter procedure is, but it should be well aerated and the yeast should be pitched around 70-75 degrees, and if you aren't using a stirplate, you should be swirling your yeast up periodically (as often as possible).

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Old 07-14-2009, 12:00 AM   #4
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The "Best Before" date on the vial is the latest date that White Labs recommends pitching the vial directly into 1.070 wort or below. Also the production date on the vial is generally 4 months prior of the best before date. FYI, It actually says all this on the vial of yeast.

So if the yeast was stored correctly that vial should be fine. I regularly buy the expired vials of yeast from my LHBS because they sell them for half the price. With a appropriate sized starter they are as good as new. If the vial wasn't stored properly it can take a little longer. I once bought a year old vial from the LHBS and tossed it into a starter. It didn't do anything for 4 days, so I went and bought a fresh vial. When I got back from the store the damn starter was rocking away.

You should try listening to The Brewing Network. The White brothers are regular guests on that show and have done a couple of shows on yeast. There was also an episode of Brew Strong where they covered yeast starters.

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Old 07-14-2009, 02:28 AM   #5
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I regularly use White labs, and it normal takes about 24 hours to start seeing a nice fermentation. I always thought I just didn't aerate good enough.
Brewed a batch this morning using a dry yeast and fermentation was started within a few hours. *shrug* Who knows what the difference was, I'll still use White Labs, but it's good to know it might just take a little longer to get started.

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Old 07-14-2009, 03:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpc View Post
Both White Labs and Wyeast provide excellent yeasts. October 2009 expiry? That's more than three months out; the yeast is fine, nobody is trying to screw you over.

It can take up to 72 hours to see signs of fermentation. Did you aerate the wort a lot (that is, twice as much as you think you need to)? This tends to be the most important step in short take-off times.
Yes aerated more than my first couple brews that turned out excellent.
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitzengiggle View Post
I exclusively use White Labs, and IMHO the yeast ROCKS!

If you are making a starter, the viable yeast will reproduce. Most starters that I have made exhibit no kraeusen. Just because you don't see a foamy head doesn't mean your starter isn't growing.

On the vial it is printed that the yeast is best within four months from the date on the pkg. So if you have about 3 months and it was properly stored there shouldn't be an issue.

I don't know what your starter procedure is, but it should be well aerated and the yeast should be pitched around 70-75 degrees, and if you aren't using a stirplate, you should be swirling your yeast up periodically (as often as possible).
Never swirled or stir plated but I use mainly Wyeast and dry. I typically just sanitize a container and put good clean water in it, leave it in the dark for 15, 20 minutes and into the wort. This is the first time I ever tried using wort (if you don't count the Wyeast smack packs) as a started. The wort was plenty cool, 75 or below. It wasn't too hot. The procedure I followed was from here Welcome to Homebrew Adventures
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkettle View Post
The "Best Before" date on the vial is the latest date that White Labs recommends pitching the vial directly into 1.070 wort or below. Also the production date on the vial is generally 4 months prior of the best before date. FYI, It actually says all this on the vial of yeast.

So if the yeast was stored correctly that vial should be fine. I regularly buy the expired vials of yeast from my LHBS because they sell them for half the price. With a appropriate sized starter they are as good as new. If the vial wasn't stored properly it can take a little longer. I once bought a year old vial from the LHBS and tossed it into a starter. It didn't do anything for 4 days, so I went and bought a fresh vial. When I got back from the store the damn starter was rocking away.

You should try listening to The Brewing Network. The White brothers are regular guests on that show and have done a couple of shows on yeast. There was also an episode of Brew Strong where they covered yeast starters.
Kool thanks, maybe worried because I want this batch to rock, its going to a brewfest and I've never had a yeast take this long to show some kind of activity. Guess I'll give it one last shake and toss it in tomorrow.
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadfire View Post
I regularly use White labs, and it normal takes about 24 hours to start seeing a nice fermentation. I always thought I just didn't aerate good enough.
Brewed a batch this morning using a dry yeast and fermentation was started within a few hours. *shrug* Who knows what the difference was, I'll still use White Labs, but it's good to know it might just take a little longer to get started.
Very re-assuring, thankx. I like that "started within a few hours" yeast feeling because that's what I'm use to. And I so want this one to turn out well. It tastes great unfermented. I can on imagine this one getting better by the time the festival rolls around. Might find myself withholding from the festival guests
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:40 AM   #10
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remember, aerate and also that the yeast has to be to temperature. It can take a couple of days, sanitation aside, you are fine. Shake up your carboy again just to be on the safe side. As they all say, RDWHAHB

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