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Old 04-04-2013, 08:53 PM   #1
rockymountainredneck
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I recently got a couple of beer kits, a Scottish ale and a coffee stout, but I got them in the mail a long time before I'm able to actually brew them (I just got too excited about it and bought before I thought). I am a college student out of state and won't have a chance to brew them until June. Will the wyeast still be good to go if it sits in the fridge for 2 months? And when I do get a chance to brew, how long before I brew should I break the nutrient pack?

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Old 04-04-2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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The viabilty of the yeast will be lowered by waiting three months for sure. Mr. Malty or any of the other calculators can tell you the actual cell count.
I would think that stepping up a starter from that yeast will work, but check for yourself with a yeast calculator.
If you don't have access to a stir plate or yeast starting stuff, you may need to buy a second fresh pack, and add the two together.
Again, figure out how many cells you need per recipe, calculater what you will have after three months, and go from there.
BTW, (assuming 5 gallon batch) one pack was not going to be enough anyway.

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Old 04-04-2013, 09:31 PM   #3
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Some of the yeast will die. No problem, just make a big starter (or step it up).

You don't need a fancy flask or a stir bar - I use a sanitized plastic sweet tea jug.

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Old 04-05-2013, 12:48 AM   #4
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A mere two months shouldn't be a big deal, if from manufacture date. If the yeast is old when you got it, then it may be another story. I've made very good beer with single packs that are 4 months or more from manufacture date.

A starter is always a good idea even with fresh yeast, but especially if your going to tempt fate. If you go the route of the starter, you don't need to wait, just break the activator and dump it all into the starter wort. Make the starter the night before and pitch to the wort at high krausen (18 to 24h after mixing it up). It may be a big laggy starting the fermentation, I have had them take up to 40 hours to get going on old yeast.

If you just want to use the pack, what I have heard is to pop the activator 1 day prior to pitching for each month from manufacture, up to 6 months. So six month old yeast would be six days prior to brew. I don't know if that is good advice or not, because I always go with a starter.

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Old 04-05-2013, 01:12 AM   #5
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The yeast will be fine but with a less viable cell count. You will definitely need a starter so while you are waiting learn how to make them! Your beer will improve greatly!

I would plan on getting none going a week prior to brew day and no, you don't have to smack the pack prior to making a starter, you can if you want though.

Visit Www.yeastcalc.com and plug the numbers and the date with which you think the age will be when you brew so the viability is correct. The site will tell you how many steps you need and what size starter needed to achieve the proper cell count for your gravity

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Old 04-05-2013, 09:05 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the advice! It looks like I should be ok with a starter then? I'm definitely new to the beer brewing, I've only done one batch so far and it went bad. Really pissed me off. Something in the secondary fermenter went wrong. But I am really excited to get these batches going as soon as I finish up this semester of school. Any tips on making a good starter?

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Old 04-05-2013, 09:08 PM   #7
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I just did a starter using a yeast pack that expired last June. The yeast had been refrigerated. I did a 2-step starter and it fired right up. I stared with a 1L starter and stepped up to 2L after 24 hours. It took off like a rocket.

Assuming you treat the yeast right until you're ready to use it, you should be fine.

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Old 04-05-2013, 10:43 PM   #8
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A starter should be done at a 10:1 ratio of DmE to water so... For example:

A 1 liter starter would be 1L water to boil and add 100grams of extra light DmE. Boil 5-10 minutes and cool to 70F. Pitch yeast.

You can boil in any size pot you have or purchase an flask that you can boil directly in-not on an electric range though-flame only.

You can add a 1/4 tsp of yeast nutrient as well. Once the yeast is pitched cover whatever vessel you choose with a sanitized piece of foil and shake everyone you walk by it or get a stir plate.

Visit Www.yeastcalc.com to figure out what size starter you need to achieve proper pitch rate for each batch of beer.

It's easy to do starters but takes a little advance planning for brew day

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