Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > smack pack - starter?
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-14-2009, 01:26 AM   #1
LSDracula
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 77
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default smack pack - starter?

I tasted my first brew a week into bottle conditioning, not ready, now it's 2 weeks I'll try it again but I don't expect it to be done
anyway today I purchased my second partial mash/extract kit from my local HBR and it contains liquid yeast rather that dry
I asked at the store if I needed to make a starter and they said that is wasn't necessary with wyeast smack packs
I know alot of ppl on this site say that is is absolutely necessary but my brew day is tomorrow
I assume it will be ok but my question is that is it really necessary to make a starter the wyeast FAQ says only in situations where conditions are not ideal
I'm going to brew anyway but I would like some input even though it seems like I can never get a clear answer about anything on these forums
is there actually a set method for making beer or what


LSDracula is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 01:34 AM   #2
Champurrado
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: NYC, NY
Posts: 192
Default

I've brewed with dry yeast right out of the packet into the fermenter, liquid yeast right out of the vial into the carboy and always end up with gurgling within 18 hours. Someday I'll look into making starters and harvesting those dregs at the bottom of the carboy after three weeks but for now, it's all working without the extra steps. I think you'll be fine following the directions on the smackpack ahead of time and dumping it into your cooled wort.

Cheers


Champurrado is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 02:36 AM   #3
beersydoesit
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Madison, Wi
Posts: 332
Liked 6 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 4

Default

A lot depends on your OG.
If it is over 1.065 Wyeast and White Labs will say a started is required.
From what I've gathered at less than that the experienced folks say they get better, consistecy of results with a starter.
I not the expert, I've been successful pitching one Activator pack.
But in the future for OGs above 1.06 I'll surely use a starter. For lower OGs probably not.
Remember that more experienced folk than me will use one.
Best of luck.
You don't get a straight answer because there isn't just one answer. It is an experience thing.
__________________
Dave in Madison
beersydoesit is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 04:23 AM   #4
ajf
Senior Member
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
ajf's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Long Island
Posts: 4,643
Liked 103 Times on 97 Posts
Likes Given: 39

Default

If you pitch a liquid yeast without a starter, you will almost certainly be under pitching. It will still work (unless the yeast is dead), but you could get better results with a starter.
With a starter, you will get a shorter lag time, faster fermentation, better attenuation, and less off flavors caused by stressed yeasts.
See Fourteen Essential Questions About Yeast Starters and MB Raines, Ph.D. - Guide to Yeast Culturing for Homebrewers - Maltose Falcons Home Brewing Society (Los Angeles Homebrewing) for some good information on starters.
The first link makes much easier reading, while the second is more technical, but they both give excellent information.

-a.
ajf is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 05:32 AM   #5
beersydoesit
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Madison, Wi
Posts: 332
Liked 6 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 4

Default

I've seen this often.
Wyeast and White Labs say you don't need a starter for OG less than 1.060.
AJF's sources are well respected.
Wyeast and White labs say their yeast is prepared under ideal conditions so you can use an Activator or large vial. I figure they must know something too.

As I said the experienced folk seem to demand a starter anyway.
__________________
Dave in Madison
beersydoesit is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 05:43 AM   #6
Coastarine
We get it, you hate BMC.
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Coastarine's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 2,582
Liked 24 Times on 22 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSDracula View Post
...wyeast FAQ says only in situations where conditions are not ideal
In other words if the smack pack or vial didn't come from the production line that day.
__________________
SEMPER FIDELIS ET SEMPER PARATUS Bringin' the 'pane...the propane.Coming Up:..[Hefewiezen][BCS Robust Porter][EdWort's Haus Pale Ale][Peated Ale]
Fermenting:.
Conditioning:[Oaked Cider][ESB]
On Tap.........[The Munchner][Spiced Cider][English Cider][Simcoe IPA][Triple Hops Grooved][Cider'n 'gnac]
Coastarine is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 05:56 AM   #7
ifishsum
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Portland OR
Posts: 1,457
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

Default

You can't get a set answer because there is no set answer, making beer is a very dynamic process with a lot of variables. Gravity of wort is only one of them - aeration of wort, fermentation temperature, age of yeast package, size of batch, even composition of wort all can negatively affect your total attenuation. For this reason most experienced brewers will suggest the method with the highest probability for success for the most situations.

Making a starter with the liquid yeast package can help overcome several of the possible deficiencies I listed. Is it always necessary? Certainly not - it will still work most of the time - but it's a pretty simple procedure that increases your chances of a problem-free fermentation and lowers your risk of off-flavors. That's why it's suggested.
__________________
"If you're gonna be an ape, be a hairy one" - Spyder

Primary 2: Edwort's Robust Porter
Secondary 1: LW Pale Ale
Secondary 1: Blackened Soul RIS
Kegged: Dead Guy Ale
Kegged: Rye Pale Ale
Kegged: Haus Pale Ale
Kegged: Nut Brown Ale
Kegged: Afrikan Amber
Kegged: Jock Scott Ale
Kegged: Afrikan Amber
ifishsum is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 01:26 PM   #8
LSDracula
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chandler, AZ
Posts: 77
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

thanks for the positive advice i'm going to go ahead and try it today without the starter
obviosly I don't have time to make one now anyway
the beer I'm making is an amber cream ale so I don't expect to have an OG over 1.060 so I'm sure it will be fine
It's kinda weird though that beer brewing has been around for 6000 years and there still isn't one set method... lol
I guess its still a matter of experimentation
RDWHAHB
btw I tried my first batch, a pale ale, last night and I was very happy despite the mistakes I made along the way
I guess beer is pretty hard to screw up
LSDracula is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 02:33 PM   #9
ghack
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
ghack's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 266
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts

Default

Back in the day (I love saying that) the wyeast smack packs only mentioned making a starter in the fine print in a "you could try..." sort of thing. I've pitched many a beer with just the pack, low and higher gravity.

If you do be sure to really shake the heck out of it to oxygenate, the yeast will need it to multiply. And it will take longer for fermentation to get going.
ghack is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2009, 05:45 PM   #10
3bals
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 51
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default My latest smack pack

I just thought Iíd share my recent experience with a smack pack. Last Sunday, I was planning on brewing a Grain Belt Premium Lager clone. So, earlier in the day, I smacked the pack to activate it. Well, about 5 hours later it was still flat. Now itís getting almost too late in the day to brew, because I have to work the next day. I decided to try a small starter with some water and priming sugar in a sanitized jar. I mixed it up and poured in the yeast. After a little while I saw some bubbles forming, but they went away shortly after they started. I checked on it the next morning before work and found that the yeast had all settled out to the bottom. Then I was thinking, maybe I killed it by letting it get too cold over the last couple of weeks being stored in my shop. (Itís been cold here in Minnesota this winter, -20s outside over the last few weeks)

I decided to pick up some new yeast on my way home from work on Tuesday morning at Northern Brewers. This time I bought dry yeast to try and some supplies to make a starter. When I got home, I decided to give the liquid yeast from Sunday another try in the proper starter. I poured off the liquid and saved the yeast slurry to start. And what do you know, within an hour the air lock was bubbling away.

I let it bubble all day and night and brewed on Wednesday. I used the original yeast that I started with because it was still bubbling away at brew time. I finally pitched the yeast at 3pm. We went to the Minnesota Wild game that night and got home around 11pm and the airlock was bubbling, slow but bubbling at a temp of 57-60 deg F. The next morning all bubbling had stopped and the vodka had equaled out in the S. Now Iím nervous again, but just walked away. I checked on it later and found that the bubbling had resumed. I checked it again this morning after work and itís still bubbling away now at 47 deg F.

Iím assuming all is fine and now to decide what to brew next, as I have an empty primary and two empty secondaryís.


__________________
Jody

"The only thing wrong with doing nothing is you never know when you're finished"
3bals is offline
 
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Do I need to do a starter if I am using a wyeast smack pack redneckbeagle Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 27 05-01-2011 12:56 AM
Smack Pack and Starter Questions Snyder Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 06-06-2009 02:34 PM
Old smack pack, bad starter? geodave General Techniques 4 05-08-2009 05:13 AM
Should I make a starter from a smack-pack? rockout Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 11 06-26-2008 11:14 PM
Smack the pack prior to making a starter? Reckoning General Techniques 8 11-21-2006 03:43 PM


Forum Jump

Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS