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Old 08-04-2010, 10:53 PM   #1
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Default Old yeast

I will be making a belgian ale on Sat using the WYeast belgian strong ale yeast. I got all the stuff about 6 weeks or so ago but have procrastinated until now. About a week ago I decided to buy some more yeast, so I got the same stuff from an online retailer. So now I have two packets of yeast, and I am going to make a yeast starter tonight. Question: should I use both packs, or just the freshest one?

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Old 08-04-2010, 10:58 PM   #2
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If you're going to brew another batch of beer using the belgian ale yeast soon, I would use the oldest and save the newest til later. If not use them both. Since you are making a starter, yeast age isn't really an issue. You are going to be reproducing the viable cells.

If you're stepping up with a starter, then the age of a yeast isn't really an issue.

Bobby M did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes.

I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.

With any stored, old yeast you just need first to apply the "sniff test" if it smell bad, especially if it smells like week old gorilla poop in a diaper left on the side of the road in the heat of summer.

Then make a starter, and if it takes off you are fine. The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.

If yeast can be grown from a tiny amount that has been encased in amber for 45 million years, 45 million year old yeast ferments amber ale we really don't need to sweat too much about how old a yeast is, if it's properly stored.

we just need to think in terms of making starters. Viability isn't really an issue if you are reproducing a lot of healthy cells. Which is what you are doing when you make a starter.....

Really even with "old yeast" if there is a few cells, they will reproduce.

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Old 08-05-2010, 02:52 AM   #3
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Very helpful reply, thank you so much!!

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Old 08-10-2010, 09:22 PM   #4
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Really great answer! Lots of great points.

so why do you think the manufacture prints the exp date on the vial? (Wlabs)

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Old 08-10-2010, 10:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palaemon View Post
Really great answer! Lots of great points.

so why do you think the manufacture prints the exp date on the vial? (Wlabs)
They post the expiration because that is the outside viability date for the yeast to ferment a 5gal batch directly without a starter as advertised. Like Revvy said, if you are using a starter it is not that big of a deal because you are reproducing the yeast and increasing the cell count.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palaemon View Post
Really great answer! Lots of great points.

so why do you think the manufacture prints the exp date on the vial? (Wlabs)
For the same reason Budweiser puts "born on" dates on their beers.

Don't forget, both they and wyyeast also claim that one spack pack/tube is pitchable for every size beer, when we and mr malty know differently.

The point is, it doesn't really matter whether they date their yeast or not. We can and have successfully used old yeast....If you make a starter you grow any viable yeast from the smallest amount in the bottom of a bottle, to a few cells in a less than new tube... AND we don't have to be so quick to count our yeast out.
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