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Old 09-04-2013, 07:29 AM   #1
ohill1981's Avatar
Dec 2008
Birmingham, AL
Posts: 239
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My WYEAST Activator Smack Pack arrived hot in mail..... last week roughly 90F out side.. The pack was slightly swollen, but it appears the nutrient inside is still in tact. I have had it in the fridge ever since. I am brewing tomorrow a Pumpkin Ale and was debating if i should go ahead and smack the pack and let it come up to room temperature over night. Im worried the cell count might be a little low due to the high temps it was shipped in.

Would there be any negatives about smacking the pack 12 hours before pitching? Im worried that if i wait to pull it out of the fridge tomorrow the yeasts will only have a couple hours at room temp.. Any suggestions would be wonderful!!
Tonight i sleep to the sound of a soothing Airlock bubbling next to my bed

On Deck: Undecided
Fermenting: Noche Buena....
Secondary..... (Dog Fish Head 60min Clone)
Conditioning: .Akka Lakka Pale Ale ....
Drinking....... Anything!.

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Old 09-04-2013, 09:01 AM   #2
FuelshopMcgee's Avatar
May 2009
Spangdahlem, Germany
Posts: 236
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whoops double post...

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Old 09-04-2013, 09:02 AM   #3
FuelshopMcgee's Avatar
May 2009
Spangdahlem, Germany
Posts: 236
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Time to start looking into starters. Even if my yeast gets here cold I make a starter If you use a yeast calculator like mr malty's (google) it rarely if never will tell you that just a smack pack alone is enough to properly ferment your beer.

But you'll be fine it'll make beer but there may be some lag time or some slower fermentation as you wait for the yeast to reproduce enough to handle it.

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Old 09-04-2013, 10:07 AM   #4
Jul 2009
Posts: 1,002
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Absolutely make a starter. AS Fuelshop points out, a smack pack by itself really is underpitching. With the yeast having been stressed out by high temperatures, your viable cell count is even lower. I would make a starter before starting with your brew day, so the yeast has time to reproduce.
Brody's Brew House
Primary: Spiced ale
Planned: Butternut squash & gala apple harvest ale; brown ale or porter; barley wine
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:40 AM   #5
Darwin18's Avatar
Nov 2008
Garner, NC
Posts: 5,339
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All the smack pack does is to "proof" the yeast. It isn't a substitute for making a starter.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:54 AM   #6
Aug 2012
Posts: 291
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I'd say if your too last minute for a starter then smack the pack ASAP at room temp to get the yeast viable quickly... My LHBS told me to smack 1 day / month old prior to brew day....

If your pack has a date of june on it, then you can smack it 3 days before brewing...

You have to invest 100$ in a stir plate and flask it will DRASTICLY improve the lag time after pitching, clarity of your beer as well as off tastes...

Most crappy beers don't come from brew day or the recipie it's self... They come from bad fermentation temp "too much temp swing" and low yeast count "under pitching".... With a 5000ml flask and a stir plate you will be able to do a 1 step starter acording to mrmalty.com specs

Have fun !!

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Old 09-04-2013, 11:59 AM   #7
ScrewyBrewer's Avatar
Jun 2010
New Jersey, Monmouth, New Jersey
Posts: 907
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In the future either drive over to your LHBS with a cooler and ice pack in your car or at least order your yeast during the late fall to early spring. Once you're confident you have some good yeast make starters but also wash the yeast for reuse. Since doing this myself I've saved a ton of money and always have a good healthy supply of yeast on hand and my beers have never tasted better too.
'Give a man a beer and he'll waste an hour, teach him to brew beer and he'll waste a lifetime'.

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Old 09-04-2013, 03:14 PM   #8
May 2007
Portland, OR
Posts: 247
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You should always make a starter with liquid yeast as the smack packs only have enough yeast to properly pitch into 2-3 gallons of beer. Sure it will still work eventually and usually make decent beer but underpitching will create slight off flavors and making a starter will just give you a cleaner tasting, better beer overall.

Starters are not difficult and don't have to require a stir plate (but it certainly helps). All you need to get into starter making is a growler or similar container that can hold at least a half gallon (Carlo Rossi wine jugs are a gallon and its only about $10 with the crappy wine if you want it). Then you just need some aluminum foil for the top and a pot with a lid for boiling your starter wort. It takes about twice as long and you get less yeast without a stir plate but it will still work and boost your yeast cell count so you get a proper pitch.

If you don't want to bother with starters then I would suggest using dry yeast instead because they have enough yeast in a pack for 5 gallons when you properly rehydrate in water (viability drops to about 50% when pitched in wort). You can usually find a dry yeast that can substitute for the yeast in most recipes. Us-05 is the same as 1056 and wlp001 and great for American ales, s-04 or Nottingham is good for English or Irish styles, you can also get dry yeast for Belgian and saison beers. If you have a local homebrew shop I would suggest getting some dry yeast for this upcoming brew instead of pitching that smack pack that may end up being a dud.

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Old 09-04-2013, 03:33 PM   #9
kh54s10's Avatar
Aug 2011
Tiverton, Rhode Island
Posts: 11,650
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IMO proofing anything longer that a day is a total waste when using a Smackpack. The amount of nutrient is only enough to energize the yeast. They will consume it all in a matter of hours. After that the yeast are just sitting around waiting for something to do.

12 hours is good. but as already suggested you should do starters when using liquid yeast. If you do you KNOW that the yeast is good before pitching.

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