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Old 12-28-2011, 05:22 AM   #1
Aug 2009
Saint Louis
Posts: 66

This topic may have already been addressed in the forum but thought I would post just in case it had not (a search did not reveal an exact answer). I preface this by saying that I am still very much a fledgling homebrewer so bear with me.

My initial query concerned whether or not a smack pack that had been "smacked" and left at room temperature for four days could still be effectively utilized as a yeast starter. A call to my LHBS and an email to Wyeast confirmed that indeed the yeast could still be used effectively as a starter. While this is not an ideal situation and not one that I'd like to be faced with in the future (I smacked a pack and had to leave town on short notice) but it is nice to know that all was not wasted. I'll be pitching the starter tomorrow so I'll report back in a few as to the results.

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Old 12-28-2011, 05:27 AM   #2
Dec 2009
Hood River, Oregon
Posts: 425
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If I understand correctly, the answer is yes.. your four day old "smacked" pack can be pitched into a starter. I would be hesitant to pitch into a "full" batch regardless of the OG. However, if you are pitching into a starter (1.040 wort) then you will be just fine.

Recipe details would be helpful but it sounds like you know whats going on

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Old 12-28-2011, 02:11 PM   #3
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Jul 2008
Columbus WI
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Yea - I see zero problems at all. What was the question? Was there a question??
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:18 PM   #4
Jan 2011
Lees Summit, MO
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I'm not sure what you mean by "as a starter". Activating a smack pack is different than making a starter. There's yeast in the pack and yeast nutrient in the bladder that you burst from smacking. There's not really any additional food or oxygen in the pack so the yeast pretty much just wake up and "get ready for the big show" but they're not multiplying significantly (they need O2 and food for that).

Just trying to clarify here...

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Old 12-28-2011, 04:25 PM   #5
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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From the horse's mouth.

From the Wyeast FAQ website:

3. Does the package need to be fully swollen before pitching?

No, The package can be pitched before activating, or at anytime during the activation process. The activation process "jump starts" the culture's metabolism, minimizing the lag phase.
No the nutrients in the smack pack is not the same thing as making a starter. It's just enough nutrients to wake the yeast up, it's not enough to cause the yeast to reproduce to the size we need for most beers. That's why it's important to know how much your beer needs and make a starter to that amount.

It's really a good idea to make starters when using ANY liguid yeast for all beers above 1.020 OG...

The biggest reason I suggest folks make a starter is if you make one you'll have peace of mind. It's especially important if you have questionable situation happenning with your yeast, like not being sure the yeast arrived healthy.

And you won't be starting an "is my yeast dead" thread in a couple of days.

Making a starter first insures that your yeast is still alive and viable before you dump it in your beer. You will be less likely to start one of those "is my yeast dead?" threads that are on here every day.

You will also ensure that you have enough yeast usually the tubes and smack packs are a lot less yeast that you really should use for healthy fermentation.

Making a starter also usually means your beer will take off sooner, because the first thing that the little buggers do in the presence of wort (whether in a flask or in a fermenter) is have an orgy to reproduce enough cells to do the job...So it won't take such a long time in the fermenter since they started doing it in the flask.

So making a starter proves your yeast is still healthy, allows you to grow enough yeast to do the job, cuts down on lag time, and ensures that you will not get off flavors or stuck ferementations from stressed out yeast.
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:02 PM   #6
Aug 2009
Saint Louis
Posts: 66

Originally Posted by Grinder12000 View Post
Yea - I see zero problems at all. What was the question? Was there a question??
Misleading title. No question but meant to be more of an fyi in case someone else had a similar question. I was concerned whether or not yeast from a smack pack that had been smacked and sat at room temperature for four days could effectively be used with a starter (not as, as my original post may have inferred).

Sorry for the confusion and thanks for the responses.

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