wyeast question

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dstark

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I bought a sierra nevada bigfoot clone a few weeks ago that came with the wyeast activator. My question is, is my yeast dead. The package sat at the post office for almost two weeks unrefrigerated, would this kill them?
 

HOOTER

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Smack it. If it swells that will answer your question. Keep some dry yeast on hand just in case.

BTW, if it does swell up like it's supposed to, make a starter with it. That's a pretty big brew.
 
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dstark

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Lets say on brew day that I smack it and nothing happens, would a packet or two of nottingham do the trick or do I need something special?
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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One packet of nottingham would work, but odds are, if you smack the pack the day before, you will have a nicely full bag the next day, and then do a starter the morning you brew. Your be able to pitch a nice healthy yeast population into your wort.
 

david_42

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Room temperature isn't ideal, but shouldn't kill the yeast. Now if it had been left in a truck over the weekend in Texas in the summer, I'd be worried.
 

RyanT

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dont forget - it will probably take about 2 hrs before you see the bag start to expand.
 
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Lets say on brew day that I smack it and nothing happens, would a packet or two of nottingham do the trick or do I need something special?
As the others said, smack it at least a day before brewing. Actually, since Bigfoot is a barleywine with a big OG, you're going to want to make a big starter, so smack at least a few days early.

I'm guessing that's a 1056 smack pack. If that's the case, and it does fail to activate, Safale US-05 would be a better dry yeast substitution. It's the same strain.
 

Foosinho

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I'm guessing that's a 1056 smack pack. If that's the case, and it does fail to activate, Safale US-05 would be a better dry yeast substitution. It's the same strain.
This raises an interesting tangential question - how do you determine what dry yeast substitutions are most appropriate?

I'm definitely not experienced enough yet to be able to know how particular yeasts will impact a brew. To be able to look at a Wyeast pack or White Labs tube and say "if this doesn't activate in my starter, I'll need XX-YY dry yeast as a backup" seems completely beyond me.

Is there a handy yeast database resource?
 

HOOTER

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This raises an interesting tangential question - how do you determine what dry yeast substitutions are most appropriate?

I'm definitely not experienced enough yet to be able to know how particular yeasts will impact a brew. To be able to look at a Wyeast pack or White Labs tube and say "if this doesn't activate in my starter, I'll need XX-YY dry yeast as a backup" seems completely beyond me.

Is there a handy yeast database resource?
I'm not aware of a yeast substitution chart, although I'm sure one exists somewhere. Basically, when searching for a yeast strain substitution, just go by the type of yeast. For example, Wyeast 1056 is an American ale yeast, so if you can't use 1056 use another American ale yeast like White Labs WLP001 or Safale US-05. Here's a chart with descriptions that can be helpful when searching for substitutions. Not all liquid yeast strains have a viable dry substitution, but having a few different dry yeasts available in your fridge just in case is a good idea because having the wrong yeast strain is better then having no yeast at all.

Beer Yeast listed by Name
 

CBBaron

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In general I use dry yeast like this:
American Ale - US-05
English Ale - S-04
Dry English Ale - Nottingham

US-05 is the same or similar to Wyeast 1056 and WhiteLabs WLP001
S-04 is a decent substitute for Wyeast 1968 and WLP002
Nottingham is a good substitute for Wyeast 1098 and WLP007

US-05 is a clean medium high to high attenuation yeast
Nottingham is a moderatly clean medium high attenuation yeast
S-04 is a lower attenuation yeast with fruity esters.

Safelager is the only decent lager dry yeast i know of, I've not used it.

There are a couple dry Weizen and Belgian yeasts but I've heard more bad than good about them, and havn't used them.

Craig
 
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what makes a beer a "big brew"?
High starting gravity. I'm guessing the Bigfoot clone is pretty high, probably around 1.096. (Which is the OG of the actual Bigfoot barleywine.)

IMO, anything larger than 1.065 qualifies as a "big" beer. The bigger the beer, the more yeast cells you'll want to pitch as there are more fermentables for them to consume, and they will eventually be stressed by the high alcohol content.
 

kevmoron

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Your yeasts are very unlikely to be totally dead after two weeks at room temp, but they might be significantly weakened. If I were you, I'd take the thing out three days before brewing and smack it, then make a starter a few hours later. Starters are always a good idea for liquid yeasts, even for Wyeast.
 
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dstark

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Thanks for the replies, I'll give it a smack before hand and see what happens. And have to get some us-05 for backup.
 

HoppyDaze

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Your yeasts are very unlikely to be totally dead after two weeks at room temp, but they might be significantly weakened. If I were you, I'd take the thing out three days before brewing and smack it, then make a starter a few hours later. Starters are always a good idea for liquid yeasts, even for Wyeast.
To continue with my vocabulary lesson: What does "smack" mean; Ive heard it a lot...thanks
 
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To continue with my vocabulary lesson: What does "smack" mean; Ive heard it a lot...thanks
Hehe, I can see how that might be confusing the first time. Wyeast packs have a nutrient pouch inside that must be ruptured, by firmly striking it. Therefore they are called "smack packs." Once "smacked," the pack will start to swell as the yeast consumes the nutrient wort. This takes anywhere from a few hours to as much as a few days with older packs.
 

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