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Old 08-21-2010, 08:02 PM   #1
sha0056
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Default wyeast smack pack

fairly new to homebrewing (about 10 extract batches so far), and just got the northern brewer imperial stout extract kit with Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast. upon opening the package, the smack pack is already expanded. if I keep this refrigerated will it still be OK when I get around to brewing (likely 3 weeks from now)?

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:07 PM   #2
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Depends on if it is really expanded all the way, or just 'puffy'. Does it look like what a normally smacked pack looks like - bulging, ready to pop? Regardless, you might be able to make a starter and step it up.

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Old 08-21-2010, 08:12 PM   #3
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looks as expanded as the smack packs I've previously used (about 3 in all) after about 4 hours

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Old 08-22-2010, 10:27 AM   #4
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I would make a small starter and step it up.

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Old 08-22-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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From the Wyeast website faq page:


"7. I popped the inner nutrient pouch and the package swelled tight but I can’t use it right away. What do I do?

If you have activated a package but can’t use it right away, simply allow the package to swell and then refrigerate the package. The yeast will survive for extended periods if refrigerated. Before using, take the package out of the refrigerator and allow it to come up to room temperature before using. It is best to use the yeast as soon as possible."

link is http://www.wyeastlab.com/faqs.cfm?website=1#r20

If you got it in the fridge when you got it it's probably going to be OK, but as suprchunk said, making a starter to verify it's viability would be a good choice. I had a batch that had all sorts of problems on brew day (after I'd "smacked the pack") and I actually ended up dumping the whole thing before the boil. I let the pack sit in the fridge, after swelling, for about a week before I got new plumbing in place. I didn't do a starter and it turned out fine, but this is anecdotal evidence.

The best advice is to make a starter, and if it ferments decant the clear liquid from the top and pitch the thick slurry. If there's anything off about it or you aren't comfortable get a new yeast pack from your LHBS before you brew.

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Old 08-22-2010, 07:01 PM   #6
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thanks for the advice. put the pack in the fridge as soon as I opened it. will plan to make a starter several days before brew day to be sure I have plenty of healthy yeast

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Old 09-02-2010, 11:09 AM   #7
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had a little time last night so decided to make a starter. smacked the pack just in case and left at room temp (75 deg) for 3 hours before pitching into 3 L wort at about 1.040. got yeast pitched at midnight and evidence of krausen by 5 hours. swirling to aerate / suspend yeast every hour or so with a large release of co2 each swirl.

looks like the yeast will be just fine and plan to brew the imperial stout tomorrow night!

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Old 09-02-2010, 03:15 PM   #8
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i just made a starter with my smack pack last night and i wouldnt be able to smack it after i did the first time. when the package swells it swells a lot.

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Old 09-02-2010, 06:51 PM   #9
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this was already fairly swollen when it arrived and really didn't swell any more after I smacked it, but figured I'd give it a try anyway

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Old 09-02-2010, 09:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sha0056 View Post
fairly new to homebrewing (about 10 extract batches so far), and just got the northern brewer imperial stout extract kit with Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast. upon opening the package, the smack pack is already expanded. if I keep this refrigerated will it still be OK when I get around to brewing (likely 3 weeks from now)?
The expansion of the smack pack is just to show that the yeast is viable. It is proofing the yeast. How long was the yeast in the mail? The temperature fluctuations will have more impact of the yeast viability than the expansion of the pack.
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