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Old 04-15-2012, 03:52 PM   #1
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Default Question about Wyeast

I used a bag of Wyeast for the first time yesterday. I felt around for the packet inside and gave it a solid smack to try to break it. I wasn't sure if I got it, but couldn't really find it inside again. So I assumed so. A couple hours later I was ready to pitch the yeast. It did seem to swell up a bit. When I ripped the bag open, I found a starter packet (?) that hadn't been broken and what I guess was another one attached to it that was broken. Is this normal? I just punctured the starter packet with a sterile thermometer tip and dumped everything into my beer. What should I have done?

This doesn't seem like a super easy way to start yeast. It's hard to even feel the packet in there. Heck, maybe one was already broken when I bought it? Who knows...

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Old 04-15-2012, 04:00 PM   #2
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I agree, it's a somewhat clumsy method. It's easier if you get to the smack-pack before it swells. Then feel around - I know it can be hard to find.

OTOH, if you make a starter, which is the preferred method, you can ignore the above and just pitch the yeast into the starter wort. You don't need to worry about smacking the pack, just add it to the starter wort.

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Old 04-15-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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The same thing has happened to me a few times and you did about the only thing you can do.

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Old 04-15-2012, 04:05 PM   #4
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Does each pack normally come with two starter packets inside? Again, this is my first time using them.

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Old 04-15-2012, 04:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frazier View Post
I agree, it's a somewhat clumsy method. It's easier if you get to the smack-pack before it swells. Then feel around - I know it can be hard to find.

OTOH, if you make a starter, which is the preferred method, you can ignore the above and just pitch the yeast into the starter wort. You don't need to worry about smacking the pack, just add it to the starter wort.
+1 on the starter

I'm generally able to verify before it starts to swell up that I've broken the little nutrient packet, but every once in a while I find out I missed it. Never had 2 nutrient packets at once though. But either way, it all goes into a starter anyway so I just don't worry about it.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:21 PM   #6
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Do you have to break the packet at all? Sorry, but I'm pretty new to the whole hobby and really don't even know what that packet is. I just know it starts the yeast before pitching....but I think it's not entirely necessary anyway?

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Old 04-15-2012, 04:22 PM   #7
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Never seen 2 packs.

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Old 04-15-2012, 04:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firebirdude View Post
Do you have to break the packet at all? Sorry, but I'm pretty new to the whole hobby and really don't even know what that packet is. I just know it starts the yeast before pitching....but I think it's not entirely necessary anyway?
You dont have to break the packet. The yeast will do just fine without it, it just gives them a little head start. If you are making a starter anyway its not going to make a difference if you break the packet from what I understand. It seems to me that the packet is more for the direct pitch folk.
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:29 PM   #9
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From Wyeast

Quote:
Activator™ packages include a sterile liquid nutrient pouch that, when “smacked”, releases its contents into the yeast slurry and “activates” the package. The available nutrients initiate the culture’s metabolism which in turn generates CO2 and causes swelling of the package. This process will reduce lag times by preparing the yeast for a healthy fermentation prior to inoculation. Activation also serves as a viability test of the culture. Expansion of the package is an indicator of healthy (viable and vital) yeast. Although beneficial, cultures do not need to be activated prior to inoculation.
They don't need to be "activated" with the nutrients, especially if you're making a starter (which if you're paying attention to proper pitching rates you should be doing anyway unless you're only making really low gravity beers or really small batches)
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Old 04-15-2012, 04:30 PM   #10
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As a side question.... I would certainly assume you don't dump the inside starter packet into your beer. But yet they make a point to mention sanitizing the outside of the whole pack, then they expect you to reach your hand in there and fish out the starter packet before pitching?!?! How retarded...

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