Smack Pack Question

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Dan2539

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So I just got my bourbon porter kit from Northern Brewer in the mail today, and being a whisky fan I can't wait to begin brewing this kit. :D Anyway, I went with the Wyeast Liquid Scottish Ale yeast for this brew and wasn’t aware it was a smack pack until it arrived at my door today. I also happened to pick up one of NB's yeast starter kits / flasks and want to use this new toy asap as well. I am pretty new to brewing and this is my first time with liquid yeast. Would I notice any benefits from making a starter with my smack pack as opposed to just pitching it after it swells? I am not using an aeration setup btw, so this might be a concern. I’m using the splash and pour method until I can pick up an oxygen tank setup.
 

Surly

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So I just got my bourbon porter kit from Northern Brewer in the mail today, and being a whisky fan I can't wait to begin brewing this kit. :D Anyway, I went with the Wyeast Liquid Scottish Ale yeast for this brew and wasn’t aware it was a smack pack until it arrived at my door today. I also happened to pick up one of NB's yeast starter kits / flasks and want to use this new toy asap as well. I am pretty new to brewing and this is my first time with liquid yeast. Would I notice any benefits from making a starter with my smack pack as opposed to just pitching it after it swells? I am not using an aeration setup btw, so this might be a concern. I’m using the splash and pour method until I can pick up an oxygen tank setup.
Go for it. Make your starter, won't harm anything.

Practice is a good thing.

Now, plan that brew day. Make certain you will have your starter where you want it on that brew day.
 

Yooper

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I ALWAYS recommend a starter when dealing with liquid yeast. It's easy, and will give you good results. Check out the "pitching calculator" to see the optimum amount of yeast for your batch- http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

Those activators have +/- 100 billion cells, which is minimal for a beer with a starting gravity under 1.060. It's inadequate for anything over 1.060, and even Wyeast's website will tell you to make a starter for lagers or with older yeast, or for a quicker start. So, now is a good time to make the starter if you have the stuff to do it with! I just recently got a stir plate, but shaking the starter every time you walk by is adequate, too.

Since the projected OG of your kit is 1.065, a starter is a must. Even Northern Brewer's website tells you that a starter should be made for this kit.
 
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Dan2539

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Since the projected OG of your kit is 1.065, a starter is a must. Even Northern Brewer's website tells you that a starter should be made for this kit.
Deffinitely missed that on their site, thanks for the heads up... Just curious, how long do you keep the starter on your stir plate for?
 

Yooper

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Usually a couple of days. Sometimes I start it about 12-24 hours before brewing (I believe that Jamil Zainasheff said that 12-18 is a good rule of thumb) but it really depends on my work schedule.
 

dpittard

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A starter could, POSSIBLY, hurt. If your starter is too large and you don't properly aerate, you COULD run into an autolysis issue. This is rare in practice, especially on a big beer. If you use the Mr. Malty pitching rate calculator, I think you'll be fine.

Starters are important. Just use the calculator.
 

staggerlee

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Aren't the dangers of overpitching pretty minimal compared with the dangers of underpitching? Not trying to tell folks not to use the optimal rate or anything, but from what I've heard and read it's probably better to err on the over-side rather than the under.
 

johnsonbrad1

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Aren't the dangers of overpitching pretty minimal compared with the dangers of underpitching? Not trying to tell folks not to use the optimal rate or anything, but from what I've heard and read it's probably better to err on the over-side rather than the under.
I would much rather over pitch than under pitch. I figure the yeast will all die off at the same point when the sugars are running out. It will just happen sooner with a large starter.
 
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