Wyeast propagator smack packs

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lostspring

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Can you use a propagator pack directly to your wort or must you make a starter first?
I am doing an extract kit.
I should have done a lot more reading before I bought the propagator smack pack.
 

MNBugeater

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Yes you can. They are designed to be pitchable. As the package states, open (smack) the nutrient packet 1-3 hours before you pitch. Making a starter will increase your pitch rate, but plenty of people have made great beer pitching a smack pack. I would wager most if not all homebrewers did not make a starter for their first brew, but I could be wrong.

Edit: Sorry..I didnt read thoroughly before answering. You said "Propagator" pack. This is designed to be made into a starter. I have never used these, sorry. Im sure someone has directly pitched this, but I can not attest to its success. I am making an assumption that it will be fine, but fermentation will take considerably longer. I am assuming the yeast cell count on these are low intentionally with the thought that they will reproduce in a starter before they are pitched.
 

HotbreakHotel

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It should be fine unless your kit is high gravity. Just take it out of the fridge and smack it a few hours before you need it.
 

MNBugeater

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If you have any small vessel that is 1-2L in size that you cover loosely with tin foil, you could make a starter fairly easy. You will need some extra DME. If you don't any or cant get a some (1 lb) quickly from a LHBS, then dont fret. Just pitch it. it will be fine. Or save your propagator until you can use it for a starter and go buy some pitchable yeast.

You said you are doing a kit? Did the propagator come with the kit?
 

beersydoesit

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A Propagator is designed for use with a starter.
I would STRONGLY recommend making one.

25. Billion cells is WAY too few.

It is hard to ruin beer but there is no good reason to take this particular chance.

Regards
 

springer

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Do not pitch a propagator pack, you need to make a starter. I would take some of the extract and make a starter a day before your brew you only need a small amount. Real easy if you are using DME little bit more of a pain with LME
 
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lostspring

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OK I see I am getting two opinions here. It looks like I would be OK either way. If I understand starters correctly, they are a means of multiplying the yeast. What would be the best way to make a starter with some of the LME from my kit?
 

ifishsum

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You definitely need to make a starter if you're using a propogator pack. 2/3 cup or so of LME boiled in 2 cups of water should be about right - cool to 70 and transfer to something sanitary. I use a sanitized 1/2 gallon growler but you could use a large mason jar as well, just be sure there is a lot of air space. shake the he** out of it and pitch your yeast, cover with foil and keep at least 70*. Try to agitiate it often, I'll shake mine every half hour or so if I can because the more oxygenation the more yeast cells will multiply. For a regular gravity brew you should be pitchable in 24 hours or so, swirl and pitch the whole thing so you don't lose the contribution from the LME you borrowed from your kit.

That's what I'd do, others with more experience may have better advice for you.
 

springer

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I would just sanitize the can open and take some out with a sanitized measuring cup. I know its 1/2 cup of DME to 2 cups water I not really sure how LME measures compared to DME . Just make a starter around 1.030-040 and your good to go.


I think the confusion is that you used both terminologies for one product there is a "Activator Smack pack" and then there is a "Propagator pack". Smack has a much higher yeast count then the propagator pack

"Activator Package:

The Wyeast Activator (125 ml) smack-pack is designed to directly inoculate 5 gallons of standard ale wort (O.G. < 1.060, 65-72°F). When brewing high gravity beer (O.G. >1.060) or cold fermented lagers or ales (<65 °F)) additional yeast will be required. An Activator contains approximately 100 billion cells which will deliver slightly less than 6 million cells per milliliter to a 5 gallon batch of beer.
Propagator Pack:

The Wyeast Propagator (50 ml) should not be directly pitched into 5 gallons. This package is designed to be propagated in a starter culture before inoculating larger volumes of wort. A Propagator contains 30 billion cells. One propagator in ½ gallon starter will deliver 6 million cells per ml. "
 

CBBaron

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OK I see I am getting two opinions here. It looks like I would be OK either way. If I understand starters correctly, they are a means of multiplying the yeast. What would be the best way to make a starter with some of the LME from my kit?
I think the difference of opinion is the fact that most people are not familiar with the Propagator packs. Most see Wyeast and expect the Activator packs.

Wyeast Activator packs contain about 100 billion yeast cells and can be pitched directly in a moderate gravity wort. However it is recommended to make a starter even with the Activator.

Wyeast Propagator packs contain only 25 billion cells. These are intended for use only when making a starter. If you pitch without a starter it will ferment but you may see, significant lag time, under attentuation and possibly off flavors due to yeast stress.

Your best bet is to make a starter using DME. The wiki and many posts describe how to do this, including mrmalty.com.

Craig
 
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lostspring

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OK I am going to make a starter using some DME from my kit, it's 40miles one way to the nearest brew store.
1/2 cup DME and 1qt water. Boil water add DME cook for 10min. Cool to 70deg. Put in 1/2gal mason jar. Shake to add O2. Add smack pack.
I see some use an airlock and I think some just use foil on the jar opening.
Allow 24hours to build.
Sound Right?
 

flyangler18

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OK I am going to make a starter using some DME from my kit, it's 40miles one way to the nearest brew store.
1/2 cup DME and 1qt water. Boil water add DME cook for 10min. Cool to 70deg. Put in 1/2gal mason jar. Shake to add O2. Add smack pack.
I see some use an airlock and I think some just use foil on the jar opening.
Allow 24hours to build.
Sound Right?
No airlock. Foil. You want gas exchange, the yeast need it.
 

Thumper

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That will get it done. Just cover the jar with foil as you said. Be sure to sanitize everthing that will come in contact with the wort after the boil, just as you would when making a batch of beer. Sanitize the foil before putting over the jar as well. Shake the starter when ever you walk by it to help the yeast cells multiply.
 

Budzu

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Your pitching rate (the amount of yeast pitched) will have a large effect on the flavor of your beer. Especially when pitching way too much or way too little.

Have a look at this and bookmark it:
Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator

Your pitching rate should depend on the Original Gravity of your beer. The smallest beer most anyone will brew will be around 1.035. This will give you less than 4% alcohol by volume. The proper pitching rate for this small beer is 130 billion cells. The "propagator" pack contains ONLY around 25 billion cells. This is WAAAY too little, and the yeast will be seriously stressed.. this will show in the flavor. Do not pitch this directly into your wort. The "activator" pack WILL be enough for the smaller beers without a starter, as it contains over 100 billion cells. But not the propagator, its intended use in ALL situations is to not only make a starter, but to GROW yeast.

This is not just my opinion, Jamil Z. really knows his stuff and put alot of research into this pitching rate calculator.

Good luck and Cheers!
 

MNBugeater

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OK I am going to make a starter using some DME from my kit, it's 40miles one way to the nearest brew store.
1/2 cup DME and 1qt water. Boil water add DME cook for 10min. Cool to 70deg. Put in 1/2gal mason jar. Shake to add O2. Add smack pack.
I see some use an airlock and I think some just use foil on the jar opening.
Allow 24hours to build.
Sound Right?
Looks like you have it figured out..Good job. and +1 to the no airlock, loosely covered in foil or a nice sanitized sponge filter (not the one in your kitchen sink that still has last nights marinara sauce on it) ;)
 

LovesMeSomeBeer

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lostspring, what did you end up doing? how did it turn out? I may be making a kit this weekend and it has the Wyeast propagator but I won't be able to make a starter simply because I won't know until the last minute if I'm gonna have time to brew or not. I might just pitch the dry yeast that came as the standard yeast in the kit.
 

ifishsum

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lostspring, what did you end up doing? how did it turn out? I may be making a kit this weekend and it has the Wyeast propagator but I won't be able to make a starter simply because I won't know until the last minute if I'm gonna have time to brew or not. I might just pitch the dry yeast that came as the standard yeast in the kit.
If you can't use the starter 24-48 hours after pitching it, you can keep it in the refrigerator for a week or so, just warm it back up to room temp and pour off most of the clear liquid before adding the yeast slurry to your wort.

But I agree that if you don't want to make a starter with the propagator pack, then you're better off using the dry yeast package.
 

LaurieGator

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OK, I have a quick question on yeast starters...

I boiled the DME, cooled to 75F and added the yeast. Stupid me, I forgot to sanitize the foil that I put on top before I shook the heck out of it.

RDWHAHB or did I just mess up?
 

ifishsum

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Foil is annealed (heated very hot) right before it's rolled up, so if you took it right off the roll you should be fine.
 

LaurieGator

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Bless you! Thank you!

Yup, just off of the roll. This will learn me not to do brew stuff when I am dead tired from running around all day. Best to do it first thing in the am for me...
 

hoptub

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I purchased a propagator pack a few months ago. I smacked it and boiled up some DME, cooled it down and pitched the wyeast. I made the mistake of pitching it a brown grawler and couldn't see the acivitity. I ended up pitching it 24 hours later in a brown ale. It has been about 26 hours and I have zero acivitity? How long should I wait? If I have no movement can I use a dry yeast and try and save the batch? Any suggestions or am I being to hasity? thanks
 

Skaggz

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hoptub said:
I purchased a propagator pack a few months ago. I smacked it and boiled up some DME, cooled it down and pitched the wyeast. I made the mistake of pitching it a brown grawler and couldn't see the acivitity. I ended up pitching it 24 hours later in a brown ale. It has been about 26 hours and I have zero acivitity? How long should I wait? If I have no movement can I use a dry yeast and try and save the batch? Any suggestions or am I being to hasity? thanks
Just wait it out a few more days. Chances are, your pitching rate was still pretty much lower than optimal. Your yeast are going to have a pretty fair lag time. I hope you aerated your wort throughly. Don't go pitching more yeast just yet. Remember, visual signs are not always a good fermentation gauge.
 

hoptub

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Well it has been a 5 days now and on the top of my beer is small white mold balls? I have read some other threads but it differs for one to the other. Some people say that you can still save the batch and others say it is toast. Has anyone ever had this problem? This is my first one out of about 100 batches that this has happened. Any help or should I pitch it out. booooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks
 
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