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BillTheSlink 04-14-2009 08:12 AM

How long is "Smack Pack" yeast good for in the fridge and someothers

I got all my supplies to start from Northern Brewer, but I just couldn't resist and ordered some new stuff and two kits tonight. This time I went with "Smack Packs". This is what I have ahead of me:

Irish Red with dry yeast
Scottish 80 with dry yeast
Cream Ale with "Smack Pack"
Bavarian Hefeweizen "Smack Pack"

I already had a glass 6 1/2 primary and 5 gal secondary, but I thought I'd try better bottles and got a 6 gal primary 5 gal secondary.

So this means I can get two batches in primaries right away. I absolutely want the Hefeweizen down first, and hopefully go with the Scottish 80 the first go round. But I need to know how long liquid yeast lasts in the fridge so I know I can hold off on the cream ale a few weeks. How long is dry yeast good for BTW?

I did have them shipped with ice packs. Northern Brewer puts their extract in milk jugs and covers the cap in tape. I put these in the fridge too. How long is extract usually fresh for?

Thanks for all the answers,

944play 04-14-2009 08:15 AM

The Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator estimates viability by production date.

Chad 04-14-2009 11:06 AM

Six months is usually okay, but as noted above, viability decreases over time. I just used a smack pack of Wyeast 1318 that was nine months old. It was a little slow to inflate but came back nicely in a 2L starter. The special bitter that I brewed with it is chugging along in the fermenter just as it should.


Brewmasters Warehouse 04-14-2009 11:30 AM

Wyeast guarentees viability for 6 months from production date. The production date is at the top of the package. Yeast that have went past the 6 months, are going to be a little slow to start, but will ferment just fine once they start reproducing.


BillTheSlink 04-14-2009 03:17 PM

OK Super! A couple to four week wait should be OK then. I'll be using a starter for the liquid yeast so all should be fine.

Thanks for the input,

davesrose 04-14-2009 04:11 PM

If you're really concerned about viability of the smack pack, I'd go ahead and do those starters.....that way you can be sure the yeast is still decent and you'll have a bigger cell count for brew day. At least with my experience, I tend to just stick with dry yeasts with Northern Brewer now. I got a couple smack packs with their kits awhile ago.....and even though I had them shipped with ice, one turned out DOA. But I don't blame NB directly....this was during summer and who knows what extreme temps the package went through on its way to Georgia. Just taught me that dry yeast is quite a bit safer for long transits.

The kits themselves are good quality and should have a good shelf life.

Hopheader 04-14-2009 05:56 PM

Yes, I've learned my lesson now that a starter is a good idea. Used a June 2008 smack pack recently and it showed no activity. Had I made a starter, might have had better luck. I just dumped in as per usual and went about my business. It was as much a 'date test' as anything, so now I've gained more knowledge again.

camiller 04-14-2009 08:47 PM

I used one nearly a year old, basically I worked it through two starters. First 1 qt starter took a week or so, then I cooled for a couple days it to settle out the yeast, decanted the liquid, and dumped in another quart. The second one fermented out in about 36 hours. From that I prepped and froze 4 vials per the frozen yeast bank thread and pitched the rest in my Fat Tire clone. Oh, it was the VSS Fat Tire Ale Yeast from the fourth quarter of '07 I used it thanksgiving week '08. Then I washed the trub per the yeast washing thread.

KatoBaggins 04-14-2009 10:26 PM

I bought a two year old smack pack by accident. No signs of action the last 50 hrs after smacking it.

I'm going to call the LHBS I bought it from to see if they want it back unopened. If the don't then, I'm going to try and revived it in a starter just to see if I can.

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