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I HATE SMACK PACKS!!!!!!! rant rant rant

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Bernie Brewer

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Here's the deal- I've been planning all week to brew 10 gallons of brown ale today. Tues evening I went to my fridge to get some London Ale yeast to make a starter-all out. Oh, well, no biggie I'll just pick up a couple packets on Friday when I go to the LHBS. It'll be more expensive than I'd like, and I'd really rather make a starter, but there's worse things in the world, right?

So today I'm mashed in, time to smack the packs. The very first pack went KABOOM all over the countertop and the wall. DAMMITT DAMMITT DAMMIT MUTHERF*** SONUVAB**** and a few more words you can't say on TV. Second pack popped just fine.

So now I'm left with ten gallons fo wort mashing, and only 1 packet of yeast that I know for sure will be viable, and about 1/2 packet that didn't spray all over my countertop. I set it against the wall, with the broken part up so no more would spill out.

Whaddya think-do I try to use what's left of the busted pack? Try to split up the good one between two carboys? Any ideas? Running back to the LHBS for another smack-pack in't an option- it's 1 1/2 hours round-trip and besides it was their last two packs of London Ale.
 

magno

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Id say split all the yeast that you have between the 2 carboys. Its not a perfect solution, but what can you do?
 

Beerrific

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1. Go get another smack pack, oh never mind I see that is a drive.
2. Pitch dry yeast in one, liquid in the other.

If I was able to do 10 gallon batches I would probably do different yeast in every time.
 

landhoney

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I'd split up the good pack and the exploded one into each. The other thing, which may not help is that in situations like this, can happen to anybody, its nice to have some dry yeast sitting in your fridge. I know I do. If you do, I'd ferment each w/ different yeast -one liquid and the other dry. You could always blend later, or have two different beers. Hope everything works out.
edit> beerrific is a fast mother'!
 
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Bernie Brewer

Bernie Brewer

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Beerrific said:
1. Go get another smack pack, oh never mind I see that is a drive.
2. Pitch dry yeast in one, liquid in the other.

If I was able to do 10 gallon batches I would probably do different yeast in every time.

Dry yeast is a drive too:(

I was gonna get some yesterday but thought the heck with it.


Why can't wyeast just bring back the vials??????:mad:
 

mrk305

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I saw brewers yeast at Kroger last night. What is that stuff? And why doesn't the grocery store sell fructose?
 

Spyk'd

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Don't use the open packet now that it's been open for awhile. It's already infected. :(


I'd split the good packet up between the two carboys. It truly is your best bet. You'll just have a longer lag, but a brown shouldn't be affected by that.


Just one question. Why didn't you smack the pack last night when you got it home? I smack mine on Tuesday and make a starter on Wednesday if I'm brewing on the weekend.

Two more tips. When smacking the pack, place it in one palm and smack it as hard as you can with the other open palm. Don't use phone books or hammers or even the counter top. I've heard of all of these things breaking the pack.

Second, check the date on the packet. The yeast will need one day extra to expand for each month past production date on the package. If you wait until brew day with old yeast....:drunk:


Oh, and never place a heater element in a cooler...it might melt! :p
 

Nostrildamus

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I would just split the total volume of both and pitch that with really well aerated wort. Only pitching a full pack's contents puts you well under suggested pitching rates. If you only have half the contents of the one pack and combine it with the other full one you are only going to be 25% under what you normally pitch over the two batches.

Alright, I know this totally doesn't help you this time but please consider making a starter 24 - 48 hours before you begin your brew day. A starter not only increases your pitching rate but helps avoid situations like this one. I rinse and reuse yeast and a starter is a must because sometimes that rinsed yeast is just too damn old and refuses to come back to life. I avoid being stuck with wort with excessive lag times, old smack packs that won't puff up and unplanned smack-pack explosions throwing a wrench into my brew day by making a starter. Smack packs and White Labs vials are giving you under the suggested bare minimum number of cells for a 5 gallon batch (Homebrew pitching rate should be 20 billion. Though the Wyeast Propagator packs SAY 25 billion third party cell counts put them at 2.5 billion, Designing Great Beers, Daniels pg. 118). You should always make a starter like it says on the Wyeast package.

If you can make it to your LHBS during the week, buy your supplies on a Wednesday and make a one quart, low-gravity (1.030) starter with LME or DME that night. By Saturday or Sunday when you brew it will probably be worked out and settled and you can drain off the top and pitch the yeast slurry.
 
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Bernie Brewer

Bernie Brewer

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Nostrildamus said:
I would just split the total volume of both and pitch that with really well aerated wort. Only pitching a full pack's contents puts you well under suggested pitching rates. If you only have half the contents of the one pack and combine it with the other full one you are only going to be 25% under what you normally pitch over the two batches.

Alright, I know this totally doesn't help you this time but please consider making a starter 24 - 48 hours before you begin your brew day. A starter not only increases your pitching rate but helps avoid situations like this one. I rinse and reuse yeast and a starter is a must because sometimes that rinsed yeast is just too damn old and refuses to come back to life. I avoid being stuck with wort with excessive lag times, old smack packs that won't puff up and unplanned smack-pack explosions throwing a wrench into my brew day by making a starter. Smack packs and White Labs vials are giving you under the suggested bare minimum number of cells for a 5 gallon batch (Homebrew pitching rate should be 20 billion. Though the Wyeast Propagator packs SAY 25 billion third party cell counts put them at 2.5 billion, Designing Great Beers, Daniels pg. 118). You should always make a starter like it says on the Wyeast package.

If you can make it to your LHBS during the week, buy your supplies on a Wednesday and make a one quart, low-gravity (1.030) starter with LME or DME that night. By Saturday or Sunday when you brew it will probably be worked out and settled and you can drain off the top and pitch the yeast slurry.


Spyk'd said:
Just one question. Why didn't you smack the pack last night when you got it home? I smack mine on Tuesday and make a starter on Wednesday if I'm brewing on the weekend.



Second, check the date on the packet. The yeast will need one day extra to expand for each month past production date on the package. If you wait until brew day with old yeast....


I'm well aware of all that stuff, guys. This is the first time in quite a while that I haven't made a starter, I HATE not making starters. But I didn't have any washed yeast of the kind that I wanted and didn't have time to get to the LHBS until yesterday afternoon. the date on the smack packs is only a month old so that wasn't a concern, the good pack is already swelled up nicely after only a few hours.
 

Blender

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You might consider taking some of your wort and using the broken pack to make a starter and then add it to the fermentors Sunday.
Split the good one up today. I would think that would work.
 
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Bernie Brewer

Bernie Brewer

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Ok here's what I'm gonna do. It might work, it might not, but at least I'll have for sure 5 gallons that I can save. I've got some frozen wort that I am thawing as I type. I've got three mason jars of American Ale yeast, but they are a year old. I'm gonna make a starter using all three. I've used year-old washed yeast before, but it took a couple days to start. Hopefully pitching all three jars will help. I'm going to pitch the good packet, all of it, into one carboy today, and the starter, if it akes off, tomorrow into the other carboy. Wish me luck, guys.
 

CBBaron

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1. Always keep a couple packets of dry yeast in your fridge for cases like this. They are cheap and store for a long time.
2. I would have pitched parts of both packs in both your carboys. With good aeration it should have been sufficient to ferment the beer.
3. I will make sure I am careful with future smack packs to prevent this happening to me. :)
Craig
 

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How did you smash the pack open that badly. I just place it between my palms and I can get the bag open. I have never had a problem that way. The smack packs are much better than the vials in that you know you have active fermentation already. ( at least the cells are ready for active fermentation.) I would pitch half the unopened and half the open into each carboy. There will be little chance for infection that way with all the yeasties in there already and them being happy.
 

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How much homebrew was involved in the fiasco? I can totally see my self pounding brews and knocking the sh_t out of the smack pack, lol.:rockin:
 
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Bernie Brewer

Bernie Brewer

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woosterhoot said:
How much homebrew was involved in the fiasco? I can totally see my self pounding brews and knocking the sh_t out of the smack pack, lol.:rockin:
Lol, It was first thing in the morning, I was sober, for the time being.............


BTW, no worries, got a starter of my really old American ale going, and pitched it. Should be OK.:)


GAWD, I hate those smack-packs! The damned nutrient pack rolls around in there and you can't keep it in one place to pop it, and when you finally do, well, you've read the thread. At least now I've got a primary full of yeast that I can wash in about a week, and I'm gonna take a good four mason jars of that sh!t so I'm stocked!:rockin:
 

bradsul

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I don't buy WYeast very often, but the few times I have I had good luck twisting the package to burst the inner pouch. I didn't really care for the 'smack' direction as I had visions of what happened to you.
 

eddie

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mrk305 said:
I saw brewers yeast at Kroger last night. What is that stuff? And why doesn't the grocery store sell fructose?
I know some people use it as a dietary supplement (for the B-vitamins.) I don't know what they would get from the brewers yeast that they wouldn't get from a multivitamin other than a case of really bad gas.
 

CBBaron

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mrk305 said:
I saw brewers yeast at Kroger last night. What is that stuff? And why doesn't the grocery store sell fructose?
This is dehydrated trub, probably from brewing alcohol for distillation. The yeast is very unlikely to be viable and is probably not of a strain you want any ways. It is used as an all natural dietary supplement as was noted earlier. It may not provide anything different than a pill but I feel the processing to produce that pill removes something. I don't buy brewers yeast and if I did want to I would dry my own.
Craig
 
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