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Old 07-16-2011, 05:23 AM   #1
cms
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Default Yeast vial blowout

So this morning I was in the process of making a starter for Sunday's brewday. I got a vial of WLP001 yesterday afternoon and kept it in the fridge until about an hour or so before I pitched it into my starter. I warmed it in my hands, shook it up, etc. Same thing I've done the previous 5-6 times I've use White Labs yeast, although maybe before I left a bit more time.

But anyway, this time, I twisted the cap, ready to pour it into my flask of cooler wort and it sprayed everywhere! It was foaming out of the top (still attached) so I held it over the mouth of the flask to try and catch as much as I could. I'm not sure how much I lost, but I guess about half of it was sprayed all over my kitchen, myself and the floor (which my dogs licked up, oddly enough).

My suspicion is that either I warmed it up too fast, or it was defective somehow (less likely than user error).

The good news, I think, is that I'm building a 2L starter and I can give it almost a full two days to build up before I pitch. So (and this is a wild guess) I can probably pitch the equivalent of a non-started vial in terms of # of cells but at least the yeast is warmed up and ready to go.

At this point, I think I will probably pitch the entire starter just to make sure I have enough yeast. But that's a lot of starter wort - I don't feel great about that.

So my questions are:
1. Why the heck did that vial spray yeast all over the place?
2. Should I pitch the whole starter, or chill it before pitching and try to decant (I've never pitched that much starter wort - will it make my batch taste bad)?
3. Should I dump my starter and buy a new vial?

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Old 07-16-2011, 05:30 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cms View Post
So my questions are:
1. Why the heck did that vial spray yeast all over the place?
2. Should I pitch the whole starter, or chill it before pitching and try to decant (I've never pitched that much starter wort - will it make my batch taste bad)?
3. Should I dump my starter and buy a new vial?
the yeast sprayed everywhere because after it was packaged it fermented enough to build CO2 pressure and saturate the storage medium. you shook it up and then tried to open it, so like shaking a bottle of beer, you got a gusher.

the yeast is fine, and you probably didn't really lose that much, so the starter will be fine. you should decant a portion of the liquid off of a starter... that funky oxidized beer tastes terrible, so you don't want a lot going in.

brew on my friend, brew on.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:02 PM   #3
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i had yeast stored in a flip top bottle once. apparently there were still some sugars in there somewhere so when i opened it up, i got a yeast shotgun to the face. it was hilarious.

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Old 07-18-2011, 02:26 AM   #4
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Opened my first tube of White Labs to make my first ever starter today and had that happen to me! Needless to say I was totally deflated towards starters at that point. Glad I'm not the only one that had this happen. My starter at 4hrs has no foam and a yeast cake at the bottom...so again I'm a little deflated hope everything turns out fine?

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Old 07-18-2011, 04:43 AM   #5
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It's just like beer. Takes at least 24 hours to get going. Just wait and pitch.it will be the fastest ferm you have ever had and healthy..worth the time and effort

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Old 07-19-2011, 10:10 AM   #6
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My yeast is dead 36hrs without any gravity change! My have been the box to fridge temp change or the tube explosion but i ordered another tube and I'll try again Thur?

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Old 07-19-2011, 01:48 PM   #7
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Yeast tubes - keep cold, sanitize outside, slowly open cap a bit to release pressure, close cap shake, pitch. No need to warm up, works great on a cold pitch.

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Old 07-19-2011, 01:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofoxtrot308 View Post
My yeast is dead 36hrs without any gravity change! My have been the box to fridge temp change or the tube explosion but i ordered another tube and I'll try again Thur?
How do you know the yeast is dead and not still lagging?

As the sticky says, fermentation can take 24 to 72 hours.

Lat I heard, 36 hours is less than 72.
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:06 PM   #9
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Yeast tubes - keep cold, sanitize outside, slowly open cap a bit to release pressure, close cap shake, pitch. No need to warm up, works great on a cold pitch.
You sure you want to pitch <40F yeast into ~72F starter wort? That is a good way to temperature shock those yeast. I always pull the vial out of the fridge when I start making my starter. By the time I have the flask all chilled, the yeast is up to temp and ready to pitch.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:35 PM   #10
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from Danstar:

1) Cold Pitching, Why does it seem to work? In certain brewing forums there has been much discussion related to cold pitching yeast into ale worts. Basically, about a pint of yeast is harvested from the primary of a brew batch and stored in a sealed container at refrigerator temperatures (about 45F). At some later time (perhaps as long as 1-2 months), that yeast is pitched directly from the refrigerated container into a new batch of sweet wort @ 70-75F. Based on my experience (and observations) this method works quite well, and appears to reduce lag times (from 1.5 to 4 hours). Can you help us understand why the cold pitching process works? Or have we just been lucky?

-Mike Zapolski

RESPONSE:

1. I have not seen any studies done using this protocol. If I had to take a guess it would be centered around the Trehalose content in the yeast cell. Trehalose seems to be an all around stress related factor. Almost immediately upon the cold storage of the yeast, trehalose begins to build up to help the yeast to adapt to its new environment. Upon pitching this stress factor assists the yeast to adapt to its new environment; warmer temperature and higher osmotic pressure. If the pitching yeast is allowed to warm up for any appreciable time before pitching the carbohydrate reserve, trehalose being one of them will be quickly used up as an energy source. The yeast would then take a longer time adapting to its new environment in the wort thus increasing the lag phase.

Something similar happens when using Active Dry Yeast. The factory builds into each yeast cell an abundance of the stress factor; trehalose. Our recommendations is to rehydrate the yeast in warm water and pitch into the wort (or must) within 30 minutes, because the yeast will begin to metabolize its carbohydrate reserve including trehalose immediately upon reactivation and weaken the yeast if it is not in the presence of a new supply of energy. It will have also used up the stress factor that would have assisted it in adapting to the new osmotic environment. I am sure that there is more to the explanation than I have given.

Dr. Clayton Cone

btw - I am pitching the yeast cold into the starter and then I pitch the decanted starter cold into the wort.

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