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Old 03-13-2006, 04:59 PM   #1
skifast1
 
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I just received a kit for a local brewpub's wee heavy and the yeast vial (White Labs) has a 'best before' date of 3/7. What's the shelf-life of liquid yeast? Can I get by pitching 10 days later than this? I was shooting for this weekend.
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:04 PM   #2
El Pistolero
 
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The best before date is 120 days after the yeast is bottled, and is a pretty conservative number. It's easily still good ten days after that, tho the lag time will increase the older it gets. You always want to make a starter if you can, but particularly so if the yeast has passed it's best before date.
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skifast1
I just received a kit for a local brewpub's wee heavy and the yeast vial (White Labs) has a 'best before' date of 3/7. What's the shelf-life of liquid yeast? Can I get by pitching 10 days later than this? I was shooting for this weekend.
I'm guessing you'll have no problem at all. I pitched a Wyeast smack pack this weekend that was dated July 2005--so it was well beyond the recommended 6 month shelf life. It activated in the pack faster than many smack packs do, in fact. I made a starter and pitched it about 24 hours later at high kreusen. About 8 hours later when I got up the next morning, it was already rocking.
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:11 PM   #4
skifast1
 
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Okay - n00b question: what do you mean when you say 'make a starter'? My process for the first batch was:

1) Boil the wort
2) Sparge into fermenter (holding cold water)
3) Aerate
4) Smack the pack and stir in (w/ sanitized spoon, natch)
5) Seal up and wait for the fireworks
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:27 PM   #5
cweston
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skifast1
Okay - n00b question: what do you mean when you say 'make a starter'? My process for the first batch was:

1) Boil the wort
2) Sparge into fermenter (holding cold water)
3) Aerate
4) Smack the pack and stir in (w/ sanitized spoon, natch)
5) Seal up and wait for the fireworks
With Wyeast smack packs, the idea is to smack the pack to release the mini wort in there, and to "revive" the yeast. This usually takes somewhere roughly in the vicinity of 12-24 hours, but mileage varies alot. The package will puff up like a balloon.

At that point, you either pitch it directly, or, as most people here do, make a starter with a small amount (maybe a pint or a quart) of about 1.040 wort. Ideally, pitch the starter when it is at high kreusen. If you're not ready to pitch then, you can refridgerate it and warm it back to room temp before you pitch it.
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:33 PM   #6
skifast1
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
With Wyeast smack packs, the idea is to smack the pack to release the mini wort in there, and to "revive" the yeast. This usually takes somewhere roughly in the vicinity of 12-24 hours, but mileage varies alot. The package will puff up like a balloon.

At that point, you either pitch it directly, or, as most people here do, make a starter with a small amount (maybe a pint or a quart) of about 1.040 wort. Ideally, pitch the starter when it is at high kreusen. If you're not ready to pitch then, you can refridgerate it and warm it back to room temp before you pitch it.
Ah, that's some new information. I used a Wyeast 'smack pack' for my first batch, but just dumped it in the primary. Next time i'll be using White Labs in a vial and I'll try the starter batch.

(I thought it only took 1-3 hours to prime the smack pack? Did I read the package wrong?)
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
(I thought it only took 1-3 hours to prime the smack pack? Did I read the package wrong?)
Some go that quick, if they're very fresh. Like I said, it's very approximate, which is one reason why making a starter helps you manage the schedule a little more easily, IMHO.
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:06 PM   #8
El Pistolero
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skifast1
Okay - n00b question: what do you mean when you say 'make a starter'?
Starters stuff.
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pistolero
Starters stuff.
this should be a sticky in the beginners forum....

 
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:44 PM   #10
skifast1
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pistolero
Starters stuff.
D'oh! Next time I'll use that search function I've heard so much about
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