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Old 10-03-2008, 03:49 AM   #1
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Default Did she kill my yeast?

So when I got home this evening I was planning on brewing so the first thing I did was take my smack pack out, smack it, and set it in a warm spot in the kitchen, on the stove... you can see where this is going.

I come back into the kitchen about 30 minutes later and see the horror of my girlfriend putting dinner in the oven. I bowl her over to rescue my yeast but I think it may be too late. The pack was very hot so I cooled it down under water, but it didn't grow over the next hour or so.

Is it still viable? How can I make a starter with table sugar or brown sugar to see? Would using that on a cream ale impart any off flavors? Do I need to suck it up and buy new yeast?

Oh yeah, should I refrigerate until I'm ready to try a starter? It's been sitting at room temp for about 4 hours now.

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Old 10-03-2008, 04:12 AM   #2
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If your yeast was sitting on the stovetop and your significant other turned on the oven, nothing would happen to your yeast other than they'd activate a little faster than normal. I frequently raise dough on the stovetop while I preheat the oven. The extra warmth gives the yeast a nice head start.

If your yeast was on or near a hot burner, then you might have some cause for concern. If your yeast was over 90° while on the stovetop, you might have some cause for concern. Otherwise, make sure the smack pack is well and truly smacked and put the thing on the countertop to see if it inflates. My guess is that it just needs a little more time. Three hours is optimal, but 4, 6, 8, or even 24 are not unheard of. Depends on the manufacture date.

The short version is that your girlfriend did no harm by turning on the oven. Unless she put your yeast directly on a burner or in the microwave, whatever "inflation" problems you might or might not be having are between you, your yeast pack and your personal physician

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Old 10-03-2008, 04:23 AM   #3
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Smack packs are a pain in the ASS! IMO anyway. But, like Chad said it should be fine. This is another reason to keep some dry yeast on hand, 'cause ya just never know....

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Old 10-03-2008, 04:48 AM   #4
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ive had smackpack sit for 6 hours and they never swell but when i create a starter- a few days and there fine. Make a starter with sugar or DME to a starting grav of 1.040 or so and then give it a few days. if nothing happens after 5 then ide say you killed it.

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Old 10-03-2008, 01:27 PM   #5
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I would estimate the temperature of the pack around 120-150 when I found it. It was HOT to the touch, not just warm.

I only have access to brown sugar or table sugar until I make another online order. How would I make a starter with either of these?

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Old 10-03-2008, 01:29 PM   #6
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I would estimate the temperature of the pack around 120-150 when I found it. It was HOT to the touch, not just warm.

I only have access to brown sugar or table sugar until I make another online order. How would I make a starter with either of these?
DON'T use sugar. Use some malt extract. (You are using some extract for your beer, right? Take 1/2 cup out of that).
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Old 10-03-2008, 01:36 PM   #7
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I would estimate the temperature of the pack around 120-150 when I found it. It was HOT to the touch, not just warm.

I only have access to brown sugar or table sugar until I make another online order. How would I make a starter with either of these?

+1 Regular sugar/brown sugar is the worst thing you can do when making a starter. Not good at all!
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Old 10-03-2008, 01:40 PM   #8
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So using 1/2 cup LME from my kit won't hurt my SG for my wort?

EDIT: Just remembered (duh) I have priming sugar that was included with my kit. Could I use that as my starter?

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Old 10-03-2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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EDIT: Just remembered (duh) I have priming sugar that was included with my kit. Could I use that as my starter?
No. As a couple others already have said, do not use sugar for your starter. That includes priming sugar. I don't want to sound rude, but I do want to be clear. Use malt extract. You can use some from your kit, but then you need to be extra careful with that starter, because you probably want to pitch the whole starter. Be sure and account for that volume.

Since your smack pack got hot to the touch, I really am concerned that your yeast is dead or greatly harmed. Brewing yeasts aren't made to get that hot. As soon as you get over 90F, bad things can start to happen, and you will kill them off around 110F. There are not many brewing yeasts that like temperatures over 85F.

In the future, you do not need to put a smack pack or starter in a warm spot unless your room is exceptionally cold (i.e., below 65F). These yeasts are ready, willing, and able to do great things at cooler temperatures. Things may happen a little more slowly at cooler temperatures, but that's not really bad.


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Old 10-03-2008, 01:53 PM   #10
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So what proportion LME to water will get me close to my target SG for a starter?

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