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Old 07-01-2008, 01:30 AM   #1
Jordan Wilson
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Default Wyeast smack pack

Getting started on my third batch on Thursday.

I bought all the ingredients for what I hope will be a decent pale ale on Friday after work, including a "smack pack" of Wyeast 1056.

However, I'm afraid that I may have broken the little nutrient packet inside on the bike ride home. The pack is somewhat swollen and I'm having trouble finding the little packet inside (which is why I'm wondering if it broke).

If it did break, is this pack pretty much junk, or can I still pitch it almost a week later? If I cut the pack open to find out, and it isn't actually broken, can I still activate the yeast properly (and how)?

Any advice concerning these smack packs will be helpful. Thanks.

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Old 07-01-2008, 01:48 AM   #2
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I haven't used the smack packs all that much but I wonder if you put it in the refrigerator may slow things down. Then you could take it out 12-18 hours and let it resume as it warms up. If not then do you have any DME to make a starter?

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Old 07-01-2008, 01:51 AM   #3
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http://www.wyeastlab.com/faqs.cfm?website=1#r20
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:31 AM   #4
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If the packet keeps swelling it is broken. I have thought they were berfore and they weren't. It will get totally fat and firm when it swells. If it is activated I would boil up a litle dme and make a starter. You can slow that yeast down in the fridge. It's better to make a starter anyway. More activity sooner - less off flavors - more healthy yeast!

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Old 07-01-2008, 01:11 PM   #5
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Pop it in the fridge and it will be fine, then take it out the night before you brew. If the packet isn't broken you'll still be okay to pitch it, just might have a longer lag.

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Old 07-01-2008, 02:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Wilson View Post
If I cut the pack open to find out, and it isn't actually broken, can I still activate the yeast properly (and how)?
I wouldn't cut it open unless your planning on pitching it right away into your wort, or better yet, into a starter. I've used smack packs before and sometimes that little nutrient pack can be tough to locate, so it might still be in there. Actually, I just got a smack pack from Northern Brewer yesterday and it is slightly swollen but the internal packet is still intact. Anyway, either leave it in the fridge until Friday morning, or make a starter.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:59 PM   #7
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Well alright. It's been refrigerated ever since I got it home, and it's only kinda swollen, so I'm guessing it should be fine.

I guess a good follow up question would be, can someone give me a quick how-to for making a starter? I haven't tried that yet.

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Old 07-02-2008, 03:36 AM   #8
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I did my first one last week. Took a half cup light DME and 400 ml water and boiled it in my flask for 20 minutes (watch boil over. I had a slight one and it was a mess on my glass stove). I then cooled it by putting cool water in a sink and setting the flask inside it. After the temp dropped some, I added ice to speed up the process. Don't put a hot flask in ice water or it will crack. After getting it to 75 degrees, I added the yeast. I had trouble trying to pop the food bag so I dumped the yeast then opened the food bag and dumped it in. Make sure you sterilize the outside of the bag and any cutting instruments. I then used a home made wort spinner and it fermented like crazy. I used the air lock that came with my kit, but people advised to next time to use sanitized foil instead and leave it loosely on the flask. It was ready after two days, so I put it in the fridge until the next day when I was ready to brew. I took it out in the morning to let it get up to room temp and drained the wort (liquid) out of the flask so only the yeast was pitched. Used oxygen and it worked like a charm.

Good Luck!

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