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Taking bets - What do you think will happen?

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Doug

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Ok, here's my story. I'm still new (batch 3 now) and making plenty of mistakes.

I bought a new kit (Liberty Cream Ale) from the local shop, and brought it home. I went out to eat first though, and in the process left my Wyeast smack pack out in the car for a couple hours on a warm day.

I realized when I got home that it should have been refrigerated. It wasn't hot, but it wasn't cold anymore either. I put it back in the fridge, and two weeks passed.

Last night I decided it was time to start up this batch. I took out the yeast and waited till it was back to room temperature. I smacked it several times to make sure it got going. I heard it making noise, so I figured it was working. I started brewing, and after a few hours, I could have sworn the smack pack was swelling. This is only the second time I've used one though, so I guess I was wrong. When I opened it up and prepared to pitch it, I realized the inside packet wasn't broken open. It was pretty late though, so I figured I'd take a risk. I cut the inside packet open with some sterilized scissors and poured it into the yeast. I probably should have let that sit until morning to do it's thing, but I just threw it into the wort.

So, here's the question - is my yeast going to make it? What's going to happen next? After 7 hours, no activity in the carboy yet...

Also, any speculation on what I should have done differently throughout these stages?

- Doug
 

vtfan99

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If the yeast was pretty fresh when you bought it ( 2 weeks ago ), my guess is that it will be fine. I've only seen activity within the first 7 hours if I used a starter, and that was only one time.

The only advice I have to make sure to give a good smack next time. Those packs can take a pretty good beating. Also, the standard line is that it takes a day for the pack to be ready plus an additional day for every month from the date on the package. If your pack says May 17, for example, that would be the standard day plus on extra day for it being a month old. Usually my packs take a minimum of 12 hours to get going and sometimes up to 36 hours.

You know the saying....Relax, dont worry, have a homebrew! Everything will be fine.
 
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Doug

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"With your other hand, press firmly on the bulge to break the inner seal."

That according to Wyeast. I guess they'd rather see people not break the inner seal instead of hitting it so hard they hurt something and sue... We'll next time I'll show that inner seal what's for.

My last batch was bubbling happily the morning after I brewed. I slept in a lot more that morning though, and the smack pack was inflated... I'm comforted.

By adding the nutrients to the yeast the moment before I poured it into the wort, did I gain anything? The swelling smack pack is basically a poor man's yeast starter, right?

Anyway, I'm beginning to see patience, and maybe a home brew, really are virtues in this whole process.

Thanks again.

- doug
 

andre the giant

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Cutting open the nutrient packet and pouring it in the wort didn't do anything for you. The packet just contains sterile wort. When you smack the pack, the little bit of wort is enough for your yeast to spring out of dormancy.

I've found that "press firmly on the bulge to break inner seal" usually means me putting all my weight on the packet before it will burst. You'd think that 240lbs of weight would be enough but sometimes it takes me several minutes of pounding to break it. I've considered stomping on the package, but imagine that I'll end up with yeast all over the kitchen floor.

I bought a London Ale smackpack a while back. When it arrived, it was bulging slightly. I assumed that the packet was broken in tranist. So I hurried up and made a batch of beer. When I went to pitch, voila, the nutrient packet was still intact. The yeast must have responded to the higher temps of shipping or something. Anyhow, I pitched the inactive yeast and hoped for the best. 24 hours later, the yeast was chugging away.

Yeast is interesting. I predict within 36 hours you will see good activity. The beer will taste fine, and you will either use starters, or you'll be sure to hit the packet correctly from now on.

Don't sweat it. Beer happens.
 
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Doug

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For the record, I got home today (now about 18 hours after pitching the dormant yeast) and my air lock was bubbling at the rate of about once a second, maybe a bit faster. Everything looks active and healthy. This is a great hobby - sure, there's a lot of finesse you can put into the process, but you sure can get away with a lot too.

I'll do some research on yeast starters though. That seems to be the way to go.

- doug
 

bikebryan

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vtfan99 said:
If the yeast was pretty fresh when you bought it ( 2 weeks ago ), my guess is that it will be fine. I've only seen activity within the first 7 hours if I used a starter, and that was only one time.

The only advice I have to make sure to give a good smack next time. Those packs can take a pretty good beating. Also, the standard line is that it takes a day for the pack to be ready plus an additional day for every month from the date on the package. If your pack says May 17, for example, that would be the standard day plus on extra day for it being a month old. Usually my packs take a minimum of 12 hours to get going and sometimes up to 36 hours.

You know the saying....Relax, dont worry, have a homebrew! Everything will be fine.
You are confusing the Wyeast "Smack Packs" with the older slap packs. The Wyeast 175ml XL Smack Packs are supposed to be ready in 1 to 3 hours after you activate them, assuming you allowed it to warm to room temperature before you break the inner pouch. They also state that the pack doesn't have to swell to prove that the yeast is active.

Opening the inner pouch and pouring it into the wort wasn't necessary but shouldn't hurt. The inner pouch contains nutrients for the yeast to consume and start multiplying. The Wort in the fermenter provides that. What will happen, with the inner pouch not breaking, is probably a longer lag time before the yeast starts the fermentation.
 
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