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Old 08-07-2009, 01:58 PM   #1
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Default Yeast ..... smack pack vs pitchable tube?

Trying to decide on my fist recipe to use.

shotorum in another thread recommended getting a smack pack. So I start looking around and find a recipe for a Fat Tire clone that comes with a smack pack, of course they have one with a "pitchable tube" as well.

What is the difference? Recommendations?

Belgian Ale Wyeast Propagator 1214 smack pack

or

White Labs Belgian Ale 550 pitchable tube

All of my reading so far has been oriented around dry yeast, this is new to me.



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Old 08-07-2009, 02:17 PM   #2
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Don't let anyone fool you on White Labs vs Wyeast. IT DOESN'T MATTER!!! Its all high quality liquid yeast. Each company offers slightly different lines.

Using any liquid yeast is a step in the right direction. Nothing is specifically wrong with dry, there are just more strains available in liquid form.

Also, no matter what anyone tells you, it is important to make a starter when using liquid yeast. A Wyeast smack pack doesn't count as a starter either. It is just a nutrient pack to "proof" the yeast. Its kind of a bad proof system anyway since some strains don't swell the pack readily.



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Old 08-07-2009, 02:20 PM   #3
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Wyeast markets two smack packs, the Propagator and Activator. The Propagator is designed to make a starter with, and the Activator is designed to be pitchable without a starter.

So the Wyeast Activator and White Labs Pitchable Tube are similar products, where they can be pitched from packaging into the wort, but with the Wyeast Propagator you must make a starter before pitching into the wort.

Of course, people often recommend that you make a starter regardless of whether or not the product is marketed as pitchable, but that's another thread.

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Old 08-07-2009, 02:24 PM   #4
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I'm going to second Ed's comments. You should make a starter, no matter what.

There is nothing wrong with pitching the "pitchable vial" or "smack pack", but you will get better results with a starter.

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Old 08-07-2009, 02:25 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by foxual View Post
Wyeast markets two smack packs, the Propagator and Activator. The Propagator is designed to make a starter with, and the Activator is designed to be pitchable without a starter.

So the Wyeast Activator and White Labs Pitchable Tube are similar products, where they can be pitched from packaging into the wort, but with the Wyeast Propagator you must make a starter before pitching into the wort.

Of course, people often recommend that you make a starter regardless of whether or not the product is marketed as pitchable, but that's another thread.
No, it's not really another thread. The fact of the matter is, if you want to make quality beer, then using an activator pack without a starter in anything over about 1.035OG is a bad idea. They lie, like lying stinking liars, when they say that you can use an activator pack on beers up to 1.060. I mean, hell, it's your beer, do what you want, but just know - your beer will not be as good if you don't follow the basic guidelines from Mr. Malty's pitching rate calc.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:30 PM   #6
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I have never used a starter because I use activator packs packs and was under the impression they were starters for themselves. My beers always turned out great with them, but if they can be better then great! Now I know
what are some "Using one without a starter" problems? Bad attentuation? Stressed yeast leading to off flavors??

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Old 08-07-2009, 02:34 PM   #7
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I guess I'm one of those jerks who prefers one (White Labs vs. Wyeast) over the other.

I've just had bad experience with smack packs. It is ENTIRELY possible that it is just my LBHS that has crappy yeast packs or something but probably 90% of the time when I use Wyeast, I have a problem. I honestly don't think I've ever had a yeast problem when using White Labs.

I'm sure everyone else is right though in that there is no difference.... and starters are def. the way to go.

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Old 08-07-2009, 02:51 PM   #8
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I have never used a starter because I use activator packs packs and was under the impression they were starters for themselves. My beers always turned out great with them, but if they can be better then great! Now I know
what are some "Using one without a starter" problems? Bad attentuation? Stressed yeast leading to off flavors??
Yes, both of those. Not saying you can't make perfectly good beer without a starter, but it's not as good as it could be. I would suggest listening to this podcast of Brew Strong.
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XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrregularPulse View Post
I have never used a starter because I use activator packs packs and was under the impression they were starters for themselves. My beers always turned out great with them, but if they can be better then great! Now I know
what are some "Using one without a starter" problems? Bad attentuation? Stressed yeast leading to off flavors??
Like I said, the activator (smack) pack is not a starter. Its more of a way to proof the yeast, like you do in baking. A swollen pack is "proof" that the yeast inside is good. On the other hand, a pack that doesn't swell DOESNT MEAN THE YEAST IS BAD.

Even smacking a pack, you are underpitching according to Jamil. That can (but won't always) lead to some of the symptoms you mentioned. I really think they market "Pitchable tubes" and Smack Packs to compete with dry yeast. Liquid yeast is a lot more expensive than dry. If they give you the impression that it is as user friendly as dry yeast, people will buy it. If a new brewer hears "hey, liquid yeast costs 3x more than dry AND you have to spend time and money on making a starter", I don't think they would buy it.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trooper-Orange View Post
Trying to decide on my fist recipe to use.

shotorum in another thread recommended getting a smack pack. So I start looking around and find a recipe for a Fat Tire clone that comes with a smack pack, of course they have one with a "pitchable tube" as well.

What is the difference? Recommendations?

Belgian Ale Wyeast Propagator 1214 smack pack

or

White Labs Belgian Ale 550 pitchable tube

All of my reading so far has been oriented around dry yeast, this is new to me.
What catches my eye is that these are not the same yeast.

Wyeast 1214 Belgian Ale = WLP 500 Trappist Ale
WLP 550 Belgian Ale = Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes

Your LHBS (or was it you?) picked a yeast with the same name, Belgain Ale, but not the same strain.

Ref: Mr Malty

Edit:
And Fat Tire isn't even a Belgian . . .


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