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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Why to the yeast gods hate me?
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Old 09-03-2007, 12:08 AM   #1
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Default Why to the yeast gods hate me?

I was planning on brewing my first somewhat-authentic hefe-weisen today. I went for it and chose Wyeast 3333 (German Wheat). Yesterday I went to work on the starter; here's what happened:

I smacked the pack, and let it sit at room temp (~73F) for approx 4.5 hours. Very little to no swelling of the pack occurred.

I pressed ahead and made the starter wort as usual, no issues. Pitched the yeast and set the starter in the closet over night. No activity. None. It's been over 24 hours now...

I'm coming to grips with the fact that the yeast was probably dead from the start. What sucks is that all that money spent is wasted.

That, and I don't have any backup dry yeast! I hope the LHBS is open tomorrow (Labor Day) so I can go pick some up, otherwise this weekend will be wasted!!

Did I do anything wrong? Am I just not being patient enough?

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Old 09-03-2007, 12:33 AM   #2
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I'll provide my $0.02 worth here.

When I make starters (which has been all of 4 times now, but I've learned a lot over this short time) I smack the pack, and let it sit until it expands all the way out. That way I know the yeasties are munching away with the included wort/nutrient pack (or whatever is in it) If that never happens, at the 24 hour mark I get ready for the next step. At this point in time, I pull out the flask, and pour in a premade baggie of wort. Boil that, chill it in the sink real quick, sanitize my kitchen shears and smack pack, cut it open, pitch into my flask, throw sanitized stir rod in, and place on my stirplate.

Next thing is I go into the freezer, grab another frozen premade baggie of wort, and set that on the counter to thaw. Next day when it's thawed, I repeat the process, except I put the prior made starter into a half gallon growler.

I'll do a 3 part step, the initial starter, plus two bumps. Right before I'm ready to pitch into whatever beer I'm making, I'll fill 3/4 of a bottle up with yeast, then pitch the rest into the beer....that way I have some for later.

My next project is freezing yeast, but I have to do that within the next month so what I have is still really good.

Does any of that help?

Also, what was the date on the smack pack? Have you had bad smacks, he he, from your LHBS before?

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Old 09-03-2007, 01:36 AM   #3
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So you're saying I should make another starter and dump what I have into that?

The manufacturer's date is 31 Jul 2007. I should be good.

This is the first time using liquid yeast. All the other (dry) yeast I've bought from my LHBS has worked like a charm.

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Old 09-03-2007, 04:27 AM   #4
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How are you monitoring activity? Airlock? Krausen formation? I usually see bubbles in my airlock pretty quick, but if you just have foil over the top and are looking for krausen, that can take a while to form.

I've used a Wyeast pack that was 7 months old with no problems. It, too, never swelled, but once I made a starter, it was good to go.

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Old 09-03-2007, 05:59 AM   #5
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No bubbles in the airlock. No krausen.

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Bottle Conditioning: Apfelwein + Blueberry
Kegged/Drinking: Partigyle Brown Ale
Conditioning: New House Barley Wine
Conditioning: Ghetto canned kit bitter (Surprisingly getting better w/ age)
Just Finished: Edwort's Apfelwein
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:29 AM   #6
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Time for a dry yeast - Safale or Nottingham are usually safe bets.

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Old 09-03-2007, 03:35 PM   #7
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I suspect the ferment will get going, it's just taking a long time for the yeast to multiply. Switching from dried to liquid without a starter can be traumatic, since you are starting with 1/10th the cells. This adds a day to the startup.

I'd let it ride until Tuesday.

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Old 09-03-2007, 03:45 PM   #8
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so this is your first smack pack then?

I'd bet you never got the inner seal broken, since nothing swelled.

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Old 09-03-2007, 05:12 PM   #9
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The nutrient packs did break. I think that something just happened to the yeast (heat?) that seriously diminished their numbers.

The good news is that now, almost 40 hours later, I'm beginning to see some activity, however small. what I'm seeing is some tiny bubbles on the surface of the wort. No krausen yet though.

I guess I'll just wait this out and see if the yeast make it. I'm pretty tempted to just go with Nottingham and be done with it.

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Primary 1: House Ale (yay!)
Primary 2: empty
Primary 3: empty
Primary 4: empty
Bottle Conditioning: Apfelwein
Bottle Conditioning: Apfelwein + Blueberry
Kegged/Drinking: Partigyle Brown Ale
Conditioning: New House Barley Wine
Conditioning: Ghetto canned kit bitter (Surprisingly getting better w/ age)
Just Finished: Edwort's Apfelwein
Up next: More House Ale ?!?
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Old 09-03-2007, 06:26 PM   #10
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Swirl it around every so often. Remove the airlock if you have one and go with foil on the top. It will help with oxygen uptake in the wort.

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