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Old 12-02-2007, 10:40 AM   #1
the_wrath_of_Khan
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Default How hearty is the yeast in the slap pack?

I refrigerated some slap pack yeast for about a week. Yesterday I pulled it out and placed it in some warm watter and then broke the pack inside. After about 12 hour the pack didn't expand. Normally they expand in a few hours. I should have waited to start my brew until it inflated, but I promptly started after breaking the pack. I ran out of time to wait for it to expand and pitched it in my wort and racked the fermenter. I have yet to see any fermentation, but I am already seeing the yeasty head at the top of two other brews I started yesterday.

Do you think I shocked the yeast by trying to warm it up to fast? Could I have killed the yeast? I did read the stickies, so I know it could be a while before my yeast kicks in if I didn't kill it all off. I am crossing my fingers. I don't think the water was only warm to the touch, but I am not sure exactly how hot it was. Thanks for the advice...

Update at the bottom.



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Old 12-02-2007, 03:01 PM   #2
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No way to tell at this point but I would guess there was enough yeast left for it to start talking. Let it sit for a bit.


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Old 12-02-2007, 03:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_wrath_of_khan
After about 12 hour the pack didn't expand. Normally they expand in a few hours. I should have waited to start my brew until it inflated, but I promptly started after breaking the pack. I ran out of time to wait for it to expand and pitched it in my wort and racked the fermenter
Firstly, I've never seen anyone put the pack in warm water first. It's POSSIBLE that this stressed the yeast or killed then (depending on how "warm" it was).

However, you should note that the smack packs actually only contain about HALF the number of yeast cells that you need to ferment 5 gallons of wort. This is why there's so much discussion here about starters. While you can safely use a smack pack directly, it takes a little while for the yeast to double their cell count. Once this happens you'll begin to see signs of fermentation. It can take longer than 24 hours to see anything in that case.
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Old 12-02-2007, 03:37 PM   #4
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thanks for the info with smack packs only I normally see fermentation in 12 hours. I still have 0 visible activity in my fermentor for this batch. I will give it 4 days before I give up.
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:26 PM   #5
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are you 100% sure you broke the inner pack? sometimes they are really hard to break...and you think you got em, but didn't, and thus it doesn't swell up.

if you didn't break it, you'd find a clear, cellophane like bag inside the foil pouch, with a whiteish liquid inside.

give it time, it may work out.
its also possible that at some point the yeast did all simply die off, maybe you caused it, maybe it was during transport.

it happens.
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:37 PM   #6
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Unless the water you used to warm the package was really hot I'd be suprised if you killed it. Most yeasts die around 120F. Do you think it was that hot?
My understanding is getting the yeasts hot but below 120 results in strange off flavors but not death.
Could be they were gone before or as someone earlier suggested, the number of viable cells was very low. Compared to comercial brewing we homebrewers usually pitch at very very low rate. This can lead to slow starts.
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_wrath_of_Khan
thanks for the info with smack packs only I normally see fermentation in 12 hours. I still have 0 visible activity in my fermentor for this batch. I will give it 4 days before I give up.
That's a good plan. Do you have any packs of dry yeast on hand as a back-up? If you don't see any activity after four days then pitch a pack of dry yeast and let it ferment out.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:56 PM   #8
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I'm sad to say that I am rather unprepared. I have one pouch of dry Montrachet wine yeast but that is it. Is it possible to make a starter with the sediment I have in the bottom of my homebrews?
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_wrath_of_khan
Is it possible to make a starter with the sediment I have in the bottom of my homebrews?
Yes, it's possible to do that. It's also possible to culture the yeast from certain unfiltered commercial brews.

It takes several days to do, but basically you make a small starter, pitch the sediment and let it grow, step it up a few times and then pitch.

May I seriously suggest checking out yeast harvesting and banking. A great thread is found http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=35891. Once you've got a yeast bank, a lot of these mishaps vanish. You learn more about yeast, how they grow and you've always got strains on hand. Plus, I find yeast harvesting to be almost as fun as brewing itself.
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:43 AM   #10
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Can I use the dry Montrachet wine yeast? I know it won't come out in the best way, but that is about my only chance to avoid throwing this whole batch out it seems. I checked again today and there is what looks like 2 or 3 specks of yeast, but that is it. No foam and nothing else. I am guessing that my yeast is dead.


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