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Old 08-06-2012, 11:12 PM   #1
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Default Wyeast 4184 smack pak

I cracked this about 4 hrs ago and it still has not swelled. Is this typical for this strain? Do I need to wait some additional time before pitching? Is this a bad package? Ive used other wyeast strains for ales and the package has always swelled within an hour or so.

Manufacutre date is 3/19, so I'm still within the 6 month time frame on the package. Its been refrigerated since received. Sitting 72/73 F for the past 4 hrs.

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Old 08-07-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
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Sure. Give it more time. I'd make a starter with that either way to ensure a quicker ferment in a relatively nutrient poor media.

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Old 08-07-2012, 12:49 AM   #3
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thanks, ill let it sit overnight and make a starter tomorrow morning. if it doesnt swell do i need a new package?

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Old 08-07-2012, 01:20 AM   #4
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When do you plan on making the mead? Depending upon the gravity of the mead, I'd make at least 2 starters to make sure you have enough yeast to pitch in the mead.

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Old 08-07-2012, 02:18 AM   #5
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thanks for the advice. im making a bochet, boiling tomorrow night.

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Old 08-07-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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Wyeast sweet mead can be finicky (feel free to do a search, or just check out the "similar threads" at the bottom of the page), and swelling of the packet isn't necessarily the best indicator of activity in general.

Regardless, you should definitely make a starter with liquid yeast regardless of whether the pack swells...unless you are making a particularly low gravity bochet, you need more than the ~100 billion cells that come in the packet. How much/how big/do you need to even step up the starter more than once, depends on the volume of mead and your OG, but doing *any* starter is better than none.

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Old 08-09-2012, 04:16 AM   #7
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I was real wary about this strain after reading some of the comments by prior users and my experience with the smakpak, but I am very happy with the activity so far. I have decent fermantion activity so far, much more than I expected after a 24 hour starter.

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Old 08-09-2012, 02:15 PM   #8
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FWIW, the one time I used this strain (for a cider, actually, not a mead) it worked well, and made a good product, so I've never personally experienced any of the problems that have been related to the strain. Granted, the cider was only starting at ~ 1.063 OG, and finished dry at 0.999, and at only 8.something% ABV, it was well within the tolerances of the yeast.

As an aside, my current orange blossom mead (OG ~1.110-1.120) using the White Labs sweet mead strain is also going strong, after a pretty quick start (< 12 hrs). Granted, I made a 4 liter starter, and oxygenated with pure O2 both in the starter and in the batch... I do really think all that good fermentation management is the key to avoiding problems, especially with some of these more finicky strains...

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Old 08-16-2012, 05:14 AM   #9
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Update: the yeast was starting to drop on my orange blossom mead done with the White Labs Sweet Mead strain (WLP720). I checked gravity tonight, and it's down to 0.999! (easily 14+% ABV...) There's a little alcoholic heat, but not unpleasant, and the orange blossom comes out nicely...this one will age well! I think I'm going to stabilize and backsweeten to mid-semi-sweet (~1.014 or so).

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