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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: brewinhard on October 10, 2015, 05:33:32 PM

Title: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: brewinhard on October 10, 2015, 05:33:32 PM
Was smacking a Wyeast pack of California Lager yeast a couple hours prior to making my starter and the top seam of the pack burst open!  Only opened about 1/2 inch or so and only a few drops of yeast came out.  Starter wort was not ready yet, so after spraying the pack down with star san, I folded it over gently and held it shut while sanitizing a small mason jar and scissors.  Carefully cut open the pack and poured the yeast into the jar. 
Then quickly made my starter and pitched the yeast from the mason jar.  Hoping everything is copasetic.  I guess time will tell when I smell/taste the starter wort prior to pitching. What a PITA!
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Frankenbrew on October 10, 2015, 05:51:19 PM
I did the same thing one time. Smacked the pack and sent some 1056 across the kitchen. I was a little POd--I was going through an anti-Wyeast thing at the time, but it all worked out. Pitched what was left, and the brew fermented fine. Wyeast and I have made up since.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: denny on October 10, 2015, 06:02:14 PM
How hard are you guys smacking the pack?  I've used hundreds of packs of it and never had that happen.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: erockrph on October 10, 2015, 06:50:28 PM
Was the pack already partly swelled? Because that's the only way I can envision this happening. The trick is to slide the inner pouch down to the bottom corner, then press straight down with the heel of the palm. It's just like performing chest compressions for CPR.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: klickitat jim on October 10, 2015, 07:27:06 PM
How hard are you guys smacking the pack?  I've used hundreds of packs of it and never had that happen.
I've learned not to smack. I find the nutrients pouch and push till it pops
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 10, 2015, 07:35:33 PM
I get the nutrient pouch in a a corner and push, too. It's a lot more effective just smacking the thing anyway.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: denny on October 10, 2015, 08:00:34 PM
How hard are you guys smacking the pack?  I've used hundreds of packs of it and never had that happen.
I've learned not to smack. I find the nutrients pouch and push till it pops

Exactly!
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: tommymorris on October 10, 2015, 08:05:36 PM
I've always kind of enjoyed giving it a good smack.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Stevie on October 10, 2015, 08:06:50 PM
Every so often I get one that just won't pop without a solid hit. I find the pouch, move it to the corner, push down with the heal of my palm and the pack just slips away.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 10, 2015, 09:04:10 PM
Was smacking a Wyeast pack of California Lager yeast a couple hours prior to making my starter and the top seam of the pack burst open!  Only opened about 1/2 inch or so and only a few drops of yeast came out.  Starter wort was not ready yet, so after spraying the pack down with star san, I folded it over gently and held it shut while sanitizing a small mason jar and scissors.  Carefully cut open the pack and poured the yeast into the jar. 
Then quickly made my starter and pitched the yeast from the mason jar.  Hoping everything is copasetic.  I guess time will tell when I smell/taste the starter wort prior to pitching. What a PITA!

I have a word of advice, and, that is, use alcohol, not StarSan to sanitize anything at this level.  StarSan is a not a full spectrum sanitizer, and you want to use an indiscriminate microbe killer at this level.  Most beer infections can can be traced back the to culture because that is when an infection has the greatest opportunity.  I keep 70% and 91% isopropyl alcohol in spray bottles for this type of stuff.  Isopropyl alcohol is only slightly more toxic to humans than ethanol.  For those who have problems with the idea of using isopropyl alcohol (it's no worse than using Star San which contains a detergent additive as its active ingredient), any 140 proof or higher clear liquor can be used as a sanitizer.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Frankenbrew on October 10, 2015, 10:44:38 PM
How hard are you guys smacking the pack?  I've used hundreds of packs of it and never had that happen.

Yeah, there might have been some built up aggression behind it, but then I brewed and it calmed me down. I guess the problem is that you have to smack the pack before you brew. If I could have done it after I brewed, I would have been making sweet love and caressing the pack, maybe even taking it out to dinner, instead of smacking it.  ;)
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: a10t2 on October 10, 2015, 11:04:40 PM
Pliers and a kitchen towel, my friends...
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 10, 2015, 11:23:06 PM
I have had smack packs split on me.  After it happened to me a second time, I started placing the pack on my counter top, and popping the inner package with the heel of my palm.  All it takes is steady downward pressure until the nutrient (inner) package pops.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: brewinhard on October 10, 2015, 11:33:17 PM
Yeah, I have smacked countless packs with no issues either until today.  Starter took off pretty quickly and everything seems to be going well. 
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Slowbrew on October 11, 2015, 11:35:02 AM
I've had one pack where the seam split open and I don't "smack" to break the nutrient bag.  One of the seams just popped open while I was pushing with the heal of my hand.  After the cleanup and ritual sacrifice, to ensure a good starter, I looked at the package found several spots where the seal was weak.  In my case it was a heat sealer not doing it's job correctly.

Paul
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: leejoreilly on October 11, 2015, 01:15:04 PM

I have a word of advice, and, that is, use alcohol, not StarSan to sanitize anything at this level.  StarSan is a not a full spectrum sanitizer, and you want to use an indiscriminate microbe killer at this level.  Most beer infections can can be traced back the to culture because that is when an infection has the greatest opportunity.  I keep 70% and 91% isopropyl alcohol in spray bottles for this type of stuff.  Isopropyl alcohol is only slightly more toxic to humans than ethanol.  For those who have problems with the idea of using isopropyl alcohol (it's no worse than using Star San which contains a detergent additive as its active ingredient), any 140 proof or higher clear liquor can be used as a sanitizer.

Mark, would this be a no-rinse sanitizer, or should I use some distilled water to rinse? Could I use your bleach/vinegar sanitizer instead, or does that take more time to be effective?
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: narcout on October 11, 2015, 01:36:30 PM
Don't rinse
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: reverseapachemaster on October 11, 2015, 03:22:13 PM
I am using an ax to smack those smackpacks. Is that not the right procedure?
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: a10t2 on October 11, 2015, 04:15:07 PM
I am using an ax to smack those smackpacks. Is that not the right procedure?

It isn't "wrong", it's just outdated information. Wyeast switched away from the 25 mL "axpacks" several years ago.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: HoosierBrew on October 11, 2015, 04:21:04 PM
I am using an ax to smack those smackpacks. Is that not the right procedure?

It isn't "wrong", it's just outdated information. Wyeast switched away from the 25 mL "axpacks" several years ago.

Awesome. I think the 'machete packs' didn't go over well either.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: brewday on October 11, 2015, 04:30:42 PM
I am using an ax to smack those smackpacks. Is that not the right procedure?

It isn't "wrong", it's just outdated information. Wyeast switched away from the 25 mL "axpacks" several years ago.

Awesome. I think the 'machete packs' didn't go over well either.

I miss the old Jackhammer-packs.  But I don't miss the trips to Home Depot's tool rental department.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: denny on October 11, 2015, 04:43:26 PM
Was smacking a Wyeast pack of California Lager yeast a couple hours prior to making my starter and the top seam of the pack burst open!  Only opened about 1/2 inch or so and only a few drops of yeast came out.  Starter wort was not ready yet, so after spraying the pack down with star san, I folded it over gently and held it shut while sanitizing a small mason jar and scissors.  Carefully cut open the pack and poured the yeast into the jar. 
Then quickly made my starter and pitched the yeast from the mason jar.  Hoping everything is copasetic.  I guess time will tell when I smell/taste the starter wort prior to pitching. What a PITA!

I have a word of advice, and, that is, use alcohol, not StarSan to sanitize anything at this level.  StarSan is a not a full spectrum sanitizer, and you want to use an indiscriminate microbe killer at this level.  Most beer infections can can be traced back the to culture because that is when an infection has the greatest opportunity.  I keep 70% and 91% isopropyl alcohol in spray bottles for this type of stuff.  Isopropyl alcohol is only slightly more toxic to humans than ethanol.  For those who have problems with the idea of using isopropyl alcohol (it's no worse than using Star San which contains a detergent additive as its active ingredient), any 140 proof or higher clear liquor can be used as a sanitizer.

Mark, once again my experience disagrees with your advice.  I've used StarSan for sanitation on starters hundreds of times and never had a problem.  While it may not be ideal from a theoretical standpoint, in reality it works.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 11, 2015, 06:48:19 PM
Mark, would this be a no-rinse sanitizer, or should I use some distilled water to rinse? Could I use your bleach/vinegar sanitizer instead, or does that take more time to be effective?

Alcohol is even more no-rinse than Star San.  Alcohol is the standard sanitizer for this type of work in a laboratory. 
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 11, 2015, 07:03:31 PM
Mark, once again my experience disagrees with your advice.  I've used StarSan for sanitation on starters hundreds of times and never had a problem.  While it may not be ideal from a theoretical standpoint, in reality it works.

Well, your advice is at odds with every laboratory on the planet.  Star San is not full spectrum.  That's a well documented fact.  Not to mention that Star San is more toxic than isopropanol.  Home brewing is the only no-rinse application of dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid that I have been able to identify.  The reason why Star San foams is because the active ingredient is used to make detergents, not mention that it is corrosive to metals.

http://www.jstrack.org/brewing/msds/starsan.pdf

http://www.chemicalbook.com/ChemicalProductProperty_EN_CB9310467.htm
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: denny on October 11, 2015, 07:38:32 PM
Mark, once again my experience disagrees with your advice.  I've used StarSan for sanitation on starters hundreds of times and never had a problem.  While it may not be ideal from a theoretical standpoint, in reality it works.

Well, your advice is at odds with every laboratory on the planet.  Star San is not full spectrum.  That's a well documented fact.  Not to mention that Star San is more toxic than isopropanol.  Home brewing is the only no-rinse application of dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid that I have been able to identify.  The reason why Star San foams is because the active ingredient is used to make detergents, not mention that it is corrosive to metals.

http://www.jstrack.org/brewing/msds/starsan.pdf

http://www.chemicalbook.com/ChemicalProductProperty_EN_CB9310467.htm

First, it's my experience, not necessarily my advice!  And by now, you should know that being at odds with the "authorities" doesn't bother me.  I understand there may be a better way to do things.  But as long as my methods stand up to my own scrutiny, they're good enough for me.  I post about what I do so that others can try it if they like.  I don't try to convince anyone that mine is the best, or only, way to do things.  It's simply my way.  I do appreciate your info so that I can compare the best practices you post to my own methods and decide if the info is relevant to me.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Phil_M on October 12, 2015, 12:55:27 AM
Mark, stupid question, but is there any reason not to use rubbing alcohol as a general-purpose no-rinse sanitizer? If it were that simple why isn't everyone using it?
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 12, 2015, 02:03:01 AM
Mark, stupid question, but is there any reason not to use rubbing alcohol as a general-purpose no-rinse sanitizer? If it were that simple why isn't everyone using it?

The other sanitizers are cheaper when a large volume of sanitizer is needed as well as the fact that alcohol is highly flammable (one of its strengths in a lab). 
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: klickitat jim on October 12, 2015, 02:15:55 AM
Mark, stupid question, but is there any reason not to use rubbing alcohol as a general-purpose no-rinse sanitizer? If it were that simple why isn't everyone using it?

The other sanitizers are cheaper when a large volume of sanitizer is needed as well as the fact that alcohol is highly flammable (one of its strengths in a lab).
Ya I dont think I want to be sprizing alcohol clouds around on brew day.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: a10t2 on October 12, 2015, 02:50:45 AM
Ya I dont think I want to be sprizing alcohol clouds around on brew day.

I flame all my brewery glassware. Why turn down an opportunity to play with fire?
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: erockrph on October 12, 2015, 03:22:31 AM
Mark, stupid question, but is there any reason not to use rubbing alcohol as a general-purpose no-rinse sanitizer? If it were that simple why isn't everyone using it?
Rubbing ethyl alcohol has additives specifically to make it toxic for oral consumption, and isopropanol is toxic in sufficient quantities. I don't think you'd have to worry at the quantities we'd be working with, but I'm not to excited about dumping a bottle in my carboy.

Any spirits at 140 proof or higher would be sufficient, but as Mark mentioned that gets to be cost prohibitive.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 12, 2015, 02:21:56 PM
Any spirits at 140 proof or higher would be sufficient, but as Mark mentioned that gets to be cost prohibitive.

Ethanol is slightly less effective than isopropanol.   From what I understand, the additives in isopropynol are sucrose octaacetate and denatonum benzoate.  Both of these compounds are bittering agents to dissuade people from drinking the stuff.  Ethanol is a also toxin.  We just to do not recognize it as one.  Ethanol is broken down into acetaldehyde by the human body. Acetaldehyde damages human tissue.

This post makes remember reading a piece on why beer is an acquired taste.  Humans are naturally programmed to reject bitter tasting substances because most bitter things in nature are poisonous. 

As my wife likes to say, everything, including water, is toxic in high enough quantities.


Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Phil_M on October 12, 2015, 05:12:48 PM
I've been wondering if I've been fighting a mild persistent infection in my beers. My thoughts on using rubbing alcohol as a "nuclear" option for a few beers and see where that leads me.

With my brewery I really require a no-rinse sanitizer, unless I did all my sanitizing on the complete other end of the condo. With a no-rinse option I can tackle everything in the garage. Iodophor may be my eventual choice for a sanitizer, but I'd like to prove to myself that star-san isn't killing what's in my garage before I switch to a product that can stain.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: beersk on October 12, 2015, 05:22:43 PM
How hard are you guys smacking the pack?  I've used hundreds of packs of it and never had that happen.
This has happened to me before too. It's called a smack pack, you smack it...so hard enough to break the packet inside. Sometimes it doesn't wanna break. It's not that out there for one to break open now and then. Now if it was already partially puffed up before smacking, I probably wouldn't try to break the inner packet in that case.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: a10t2 on October 12, 2015, 05:37:40 PM
I'd like to prove to myself that star-san isn't killing what's in my garage before I switch to a product that can stain.

Do you do wort stability tests? That's the first step. From there, assuming something turns up, you could move to pre-poured plates to narrow it down (HLP for Lacto/Pedio, SDA for Aceto/Entero, agar for yeast).

Edit for formatting.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: klickitat jim on October 12, 2015, 05:42:21 PM
Ya I dont think I want to be sprizing alcohol clouds around on brew day.

I flame all my brewery glassware. Why turn down an opportunity to play with fire?
Near the boil kettle with the fire going? If I used a spray bottle of alcohol the way I use starsan, I would be missing even more hair.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: a10t2 on October 12, 2015, 06:24:59 PM
Near the boil kettle with the fire going? If I used a spray bottle of alcohol the way I use starsan, I would be missing even more hair.

Why would you be sanitizing the kettle during the boil, though?

And I'm not "missing" hair, it's just migrating.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: klickitat jim on October 12, 2015, 08:36:29 PM
Near the boil kettle with the fire going? If I used a spray bottle of alcohol the way I use starsan, I would be missing even more hair.

Why would you be sanitizing the kettle during the boil, though?

And I'm not "missing" hair, it's just migrating.
I wouldn't. I'm just imagining a cloud of vaporized alcohol drifting over to my burners.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 13, 2015, 12:04:28 AM
I've been wondering if I've been fighting a mild persistent infection in my beers. My thoughts on using rubbing alcohol as a "nuclear" option for a few beers and see where that leads me.

With my brewery I really require a no-rinse sanitizer, unless I did all my sanitizing on the complete other end of the condo. With a no-rinse option I can tackle everything in the garage. Iodophor may be my eventual choice for a sanitizer, but I'd like to prove to myself that star-san isn't killing what's in my garage before I switch to a product that can stain.

If you do not want to use bleach and vinegar, you can use 12.5ppm iodophor.    Both solutions are no rinse and full spectrum.  I have been using 12.5ppm iodophor lately.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 13, 2015, 12:06:07 AM
Do you do wort stability tests? That's the first step. From there, assuming something turns up, you could move to pre-poured plates to narrow it down (HLP for Lacto/Pedio, SDA for Aceto/Entero, agar for yeast).

I used Lin's Wild Yeast Medium to detect the wild yeast infection that was plaguing my brewery when I was using Star San.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: erockrph on October 13, 2015, 04:43:12 AM
I've been wondering if I've been fighting a mild persistent infection in my beers. My thoughts on using rubbing alcohol as a "nuclear" option for a few beers and see where that leads me.

With my brewery I really require a no-rinse sanitizer, unless I did all my sanitizing on the complete other end of the condo. With a no-rinse option I can tackle everything in the garage. Iodophor may be my eventual choice for a sanitizer, but I'd like to prove to myself that star-san isn't killing what's in my garage before I switch to a product that can stain.

If you do not want to use bleach and vinegar, you can use 12.5ppm iodophor.    Both solutions are no rinse and full spectrum.  I have been using 12.5ppm iodophor lately.
Iodophor isn't sporicidal (neither is alcohol, by the way). If you're looking for a truly "nuclear" option then bleach is the way to go.

One other point of note regarding iodophor is that it may degrade certain types of silicone. In the medical field iodophors aren't used on silicone tubing as a precaution. I don't know how many brewers use silicone tubing on the cold side, but I figured I'd put that out there.

Personally, I have yet to run into any issues with Star-San in my brewery. I have several spray bottles of both Star San and Iodophor floating around and I feel comfortable reaching for either one if needed.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Phil_M on October 13, 2015, 02:40:29 PM
I've got a copper/stainless steel plate chiller, so bleach isn't an option.

I've also got silicone lines on my cold side.  :-\

Really, all this could just be in my head. My last two all-grain batches were infected, and while I'm pretty sure I identified the source of infection as being a blow-off tube I can't shake the worry that there's something living in my plate chiller.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Stevie on October 13, 2015, 02:44:48 PM
Can't you bake your plate chiller to dry sterilize it?
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 13, 2015, 02:51:14 PM
I've got a copper/stainless steel plate chiller, so bleach isn't an option.

I've also got silicone lines on my cold side.  :-\

Really, all this could just be in my head. My last two all-grain batches were infected, and while I'm pretty sure I identified the source of infection as being a blow-off tube I can't shake the worry that there's something living in my plate chiller.
Many bake their plate chillers in the oven, 375 F for an hour should do it.
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 13, 2015, 06:12:11 PM
I've got a copper/stainless steel plate chiller, so bleach isn't an option.

I've also got silicone lines on my cold side.  :-\

You could try paracetic acid.    I do not believe that the problem is in your head.  Maryland's hot, hazy, and humid climate is the perfect breeding ground for hard to kill wild microflora. 
Title: Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
Post by: Phil_M on October 13, 2015, 08:08:11 PM
Yeah, and brewing in an open garage isn't helping my odds. Still, I've got one or two bottles of beer that I brewed last summer that are still infection-free, so that's a good sign.