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Old 04-13-2009, 11:01 PM   #1
KatoBaggins
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Default Dead Smack Pack???

Hello Gentlemen,

In my enthusiasm to find Wyeast 3068 at my LHBS, I didn't look at the manufacture date on the pack. Last night when I was about to start my Apfelwein, I looked and found that the pack was about 2 years old. I smacked the pack and have had no change at all in almost 24 hrs. (i.e., no swelling whatsoever.)

I'm pretty sure my LHBS will order another one for me or make it good in some way to me. So, I'm not too worried about that.

I read an article a couple weeks ago about a professor that made a home brew with 8 million year old yeast he harvested out of a piece of amber.

Questions:

1) Is the yeast completely dead, or is there a way to get a starter going from this old pack.

2) Has anyone ever tried reviving an old pack like this before? If so, please tell me your successful actions. Or let me know if you weren't successful.



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Old 04-13-2009, 11:03 PM   #2
Parker36
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I'm sure that you can get some yeast out of it if you are willing to put in the time, especially if it has been refrigerated for the duration. I would guess the LHBS guy would be less enthused to replace it if you opened the package, though. I would just return it and get another - I would think most decent LHBS would have that strain in stock, especially this time of year.



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Old 04-13-2009, 11:07 PM   #3
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I have a similar story. I had a dead smack also. I added it anyway...waited 5 days, measure sg, no change. Went back to my LHBS, he gave me another one added it and fermented as usual. Bad part of story- this was the only brew that I have ever had to dump, it came out phenolic and it just gets worse with age. Now I'm sure ppl with chime in with their opinions about phenolic taste and what causes it and thats fine, I'm just saying that the only time I used a dead smack was the only bad batch of beer that I have ever made.

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Old 04-13-2009, 11:12 PM   #4
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Yes, if its been refrigerated then there is a better than even chance that you can harvest out the yeast you want from the slurry BUT - it will take you at least 5-7 days to get any decent activity to the point that you can then step it up to a standard starter. Dump the slurry (usual precautions) into sterile wort (about 100ml), you don't have to have a stir plate but do shake it up every once in a while. When you get good foaming you can dump it all into a full size starter. Count on having at least 2 weeks from the time you try to harvest from the original pack to the day that you plan on brewing (if it doesn't work then head out to the LHBS 2 days before etc)

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Old 04-22-2009, 12:07 AM   #5
KatoBaggins
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The LHBS emailed Wyeast about the above and got a reply back saying that there isn't any expiration date on the yeast. The customer service rep at Wyeast said simply to pitch it to a starter. My LHBS made no effort to replace the pack.

So, with that, I had nothing to lose. I made a 500ml starter and pitched it. Today it finally came to life. I'd been about 3-4 days with nothing happening. I was beginning to wonder if it was totally dead.

It smells just like a wheat beer yeast should, so I'm pretty happy. I don't have anything I'm going to pitch it into soon, so my plan is to build it another step or two then harvest and freeze per http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/guide-making-frozen-yeast-bank-35891/.

I just thought I'd let you all know that it can be done with 2 year old yeast.



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