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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Am I cursed? Dead white labs again?
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:13 PM   #1
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Default Am I cursed? Dead white labs again?

So, I must be cursed. my 5th (yes 5th) apparent dead vial of white labs. Yes, all with starters. On last few I've taken gravity readings and had no change after 24 hours. With Wyeast smack packs, my starters are done after 24 hours. I've done dozens of batches with Wyeast and never had a single issue. More beer, however, sells only Whitelabs, and I order from them when the deal of the day looks good.

So, either I have extremely bad luck or something else is going on. Last time, I had another vial of the same type that I pitched in with it and the beer turned out fine.

And, yes, I've had 5 vials do just fine as I would expect.

Am I just impatient? Isn't 24 hours enough for a starter? On this batch, same deal with a vial of wlp007. I have another vial, should I give it a shot?

Long story, but I have little hope of getting a replacement/refund from more beer. (Don't ask, just too long and confusing...) Most of these vials were actually replacement vials from a UPS screw-up.

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:23 PM   #2
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Most of these vials were actually replacement vials from a UPS screw-up.
This sounds like your problem... 5 vials in the same shipment suggests bad shipping conditions to me.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:25 PM   #3
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That is verry odd. White Labs makes a very high quality product. You've probably looked at the usual suspects here, but I'd look at the expiration date on the vial, was it shipped with a cool pack to keep it cool? What were the temperaures in the zones the yeast would have shipped through? If the yeast starts getting over 90 degrees you can get into trouble as that is about where they start dropping off. That is the first thing I'd try to look at.

I'd say in most cases 24 hours in a starter is enough time to see some activity or drop in gravity. What size starter, what gravity, and is the starter on a stir plate? How long did you let the starter go before you decided it was bad?

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:27 PM   #4
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This sounds like your problem... 5 vials in the same shipment suggests bad shipping conditions to me.
Well, the 5 bad weren't the same shipment. And all the vials from the known "bad shipment" weren't counted toward this 5. (They sat on a dock for like 4 days bcs someone screwed up.)
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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- but I'd look at the expiration date on the vial

couple on months away in all cases.

- was it shipped with a cool pack to keep it cool?

Yes

- What size starter, what gravity, and is the starter on a stir plate?

Usually 2 quarts at 1.040

- How long did you let the starter go before you decided it was bad?

24 hours. I can't cancel brew days when I get a chance to brew bcs, so I work around it - use a dry pack, hope I have a vial/pack of something similar, etc.

All had "bubbles" in the vial when I shook them. Of course, that's not a real telling factor.

I guess I'm that .01% guy. I'm letting this started go another day, just bcs that $7 wasted if I use my other vial of WLP007.

Never had a single issue with wyeast...

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:33 PM   #6
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I would find a retail store, even online, that is closer to you than California. White Labs ships in styrofoam packaging with ice packs and has the packinging down solid. From there you are trusting for it to be stored, repackaged, kept cold and shipped, all under ideal conditions before it gets to you.

Midwest, Northern Brewer, and Austin HBS would all be vastly closer.

Minimize the distance between the store and you.

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:39 PM   #7
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Midwest, Northern Brewer, and Austin HBS would all be vastly closer.
And they all sell wyeast, as well. Only reason I've ever bought white labs was bcs that's what B3 sells. (FWIW, the guys who came up with deal-of-the-day, but free shipping is at $59 are marketing geniuses. Like, I'll buy a small deal for $10 at a "big" discount only to spend $50 on misc. stuff.)

Every vial that turned out well made good beer, so I don't doubt the yeast quality.

I guess I'll just avoid buying yeast from B3... No offense to them, but not a good statistical bet...
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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You can't expect it to sit in a truck a long time in the summer heat and live, even with an ice pack. Did you do the free shipping from morebeer? If so it takes 8 days for them to get to Tenn.

Also you don't need to change your brew days, make your starters 3 to 4 days early in case there's a problem.

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Old 09-08-2009, 10:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakins
Well, the 5 bad weren't the same shipment.
Sorry - I read that into it.

Quote:
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All had "bubbles" in the vial when I shook them. Of course, that's not a real telling factor.

I guess I'm that .01% guy. I'm letting this started go another day, just bcs that $7 wasted if I use my other vial of WLP007.

Never had a single issue with wyeast...
What do you mean by "bubbles in the vial"? The yeast are going to be dormant when you get the vial (assuming they are not dead!), not bubbling...

And how are you telling if your starter is growing? How do you grow your starters for wyeast yeast?

TBH, I doubt if this is a White Labs problem per se.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakins View Post
Every vial that turned out well made good beer, so I don't doubt the yeast quality.
Huh? Are these the "dead" vials you are talking about here? I can't quite parse your grammar.
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