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Old 03-07-2011, 06:17 PM   #11
Golddiggie
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I usually smack the Activator pack to be sure the yeast is alive/viable... If I'm making a starter (most of the time I do anyway) I'm doing that while the pack is swelling. By the time the starter has cooled down enough, the packet has swelled up nicely. If it hadn't, I'd be taking it back to the LHBS for a replacement...
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
If it hadn't, I'd be taking it back to the LHBS for a replacement...
Many homebrew stores don't like Wyeast because they can't sell packs that are partially inflated, and constantly get returns of packs that don't inflate quickly.

They are usually fine in either case. Older smack packs simply take longer to inflate because there is less viable yeast in there. It also depends on the yeast strain to some extent. The only way that a liquid yeast won't perform is if it got frozen or excessively heated. That can be easily checked by doing a starter.

 
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:42 PM   #13
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Where I typically buy yeast it's fresh enough that if it hasn't swelled within a day, it's probably not going to at all. Typically the people buying the Wyeast there (from what I've seen) have used it before, so they know the drill. Noobs are informed before using it what to expect. They also have a help line (just the phone number for the store) posted online for people to call in with questions. You might be surprised at some of the questions they get asked on that line (from people who have never brewed before)...

Personally, when I'm about to use something for the first time, I get as much info about it as I can before hand. Be that web sites, talking with people that are familiar with it, whatever it takes. Chances are, something new to me is rather old to more than enough people.

As for the OP's pack of yeast... Give it at least a day to see if it swells at all. I would also make sure the nutrient pack was popped and it's mixed in. I know that the first two Wyeast packs I used, I didn't get the nutrient pack to pop. Pitched the yeast and nutrient pack contents into the cooled wort and things ended up just fine. I wouldn't do that again, but that was back during my first two batches of beer ever made...
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:32 PM   #14
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I slapped the pack on Saturday to brew Sunday. This is day four. Still no visible swelling and I have kept it at ~70 degrees. I did purchase it from a LHBS. I'm new to the game but everything I have read says to make a starter JIC to ensure your yeast is viable. That way you are assured not to be pitching dead yeast into your wort. I will be doing so from this point forward. I also did not think a couple months was "old" for a yeast pack?

I did follow some advice from HBtalk and had a package of English ale dry yeast on hand, which I used to brew yesterday. My airlock is happily clicking away this AM

 
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davida View Post
I slapped the pack on Saturday to brew Sunday. This is day four. Still no visible swelling and I have kept it at ~70 degrees. I did purchase it from a LHBS. I'm new to the game but everything I have read says to make a starter JIC to ensure your yeast is viable. That way you are assured not to be pitching dead yeast into your wort. I will be doing so from this point forward. I also did not think a couple months was "old" for a yeast pack?

I did follow some advice from HBtalk and had a package of English ale dry yeast on hand, which I used to brew yesterday. My airlock is happily clicking away this AM
I would return / exchange it. Couple of months is not that old.
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