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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: phbern on April 26, 2021, 01:21:51 pm

Title: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: phbern on April 26, 2021, 01:21:51 pm
Hi,

In my last two brews I've used the smack-packs - Wyeast London Ale 1028 and Wyeast American Ale 1056. I refrigerated them as soon as they arrived and used both well within the use-by date (the London ale use-by was July 2021). I smacked them and got no expansion of the pack. I went ahead and tried making a starter for both, neither produced anything after even 24 hours. I've used other Wyeast packs before with no problems. I'm a bit perplexed as to why the last two did not work. Any ideas?

Thanks!
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: BrewBama on April 26, 2021, 01:46:10 pm
I vote: they were mishandled in shipping or storage.



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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: Megary on April 26, 2021, 01:49:29 pm
Did you order them packed in the insulated ice-pouch thingy?  Did they arrive relatively cool?

If yes to the above, then if both were ordered from the same supplier, I would assume the supplier has some very questionable yeast handling practices.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: roger on April 26, 2021, 01:56:18 pm
Most likely, they got too hot somewhere between Wyeast and your fridge and were DOA. They are living organisms and are not heat tolerant. When you said "they arrived" I am assuming that meant you got them via mail. Even with cold packs this occurs all too often. Many keep a couple of sachets of dry yeast to use when this happens.

If you bought them from a local shop, this should not have happened, but still can (and has). If this is the case, I'd go back to the store and request replacement. Not all shops will replace them, but you may have success.

I'd wait another day or so before declaring failure.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: majorvices on April 26, 2021, 02:41:53 pm
Ive had to wait 48 hours before for starters to start when the packs were on the low viability end. Just a couple weeks ago I made a starter from two 14 month of WYEAST 2124 packs. And even with 2 in one gallon it took a while (witrh seemingly  no activity). But when I tested the starter beer they fermented and took right off in a lager the next couple of days at 48 degrees. So yeah, give it another day or two before declaring it dead.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: Oiscout on April 26, 2021, 04:38:11 pm
Samething happened to me recently with a pack of wyeast belgian Ardennes strain. It was 72 hours with no activity so I tossed it

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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: RC on April 26, 2021, 05:17:16 pm
Same thing with me with a recently bought and very fresh pack of WY2007. It was less than one month old, I ordered it with an ice pack, and used it right away. No inflation or activity in the starter after 5 days. I like that strain a lot and I'm still in mourning.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: waterbull66 on April 27, 2021, 10:39:24 am
  In some more "remote" areas which are lacking a LHBS and are quite distant from the online warehouses, liquid yeast just isn't a realistic option. The record for shortest in transit order I've ever received was 5 days on my most recent order, which means every order spends at least one weekend either in a truck or a warehouse. Even if I was willing to pay for half a dozen ice packs the yeast is still going to arrive either totally DOA, or at the very least only marginally viable. Being the cheapass I am I refuse to spend more on the yeast to ferment my brew than I did on the grain. If the folks packing the order could put the insulpak with the yeast and ice in the middle of the box surrounded by 50# of insulating grain it might still be cold when it got here, but then again maybe not.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: BrewBama on April 27, 2021, 12:02:47 pm
  In some more "remote" areas which are lacking a LHBS and are quite distant from the online warehouses, liquid yeast just isn't a realistic option. The record for shortest in transit order I've ever received was 5 days on my most recent order, which means every order spends at least one weekend either in a truck or a warehouse. Even if I was willing to pay for half a dozen ice packs the yeast is still going to arrive either totally DOA, or at the very least only marginally viable. ...

This describes my situation fairly well.



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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: pete b on April 27, 2021, 12:12:14 pm
So how do homebrew shops get it fresh? Overnight delivery maybe? Or do they just get6 it in the mail like we do and puit it in their fridge.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: jeffy on April 27, 2021, 01:06:07 pm
So how do homebrew shops get it fresh? Overnight delivery maybe? Or do they just get6 it in the mail like we do and puit it in their fridge.
Ours gets it shipped in bulk insulated with ice packs in Styrofoam, probably fast shipping.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: denny on April 27, 2021, 01:29:30 pm
So how do homebrew shops get it fresh? Overnight delivery maybe? Or do they just get6 it in the mail like we do and puit it in their fridge.

Wyeast ships overnight in foam and foil lined boxes with ice packs.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: phbern on April 27, 2021, 02:29:08 pm
Thanks, everyone! I had ordered from the same place a couple times before with no problem, but things change. I think from now on I'll just get my yeast from my LHBS. BTW, they did come packed with little freezer packs and were cool tot he touch when they arrived. I suppose they could have been compromised before shipping.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: majorvices on April 27, 2021, 02:37:53 pm
So how do homebrew shops get it fresh? Overnight delivery maybe? Or do they just get6 it in the mail like we do and puit it in their fridge.

Yes, it is overnighted. Same as commercial breweries. It arrives cold, even in the dead of summer.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: majorvices on April 27, 2021, 02:41:30 pm
  In some more "remote" areas which are lacking a LHBS and are quite distant from the online warehouses, liquid yeast just isn't a realistic option. The record for shortest in transit order I've ever received was 5 days on my most recent order, which means every order spends at least one weekend either in a truck or a warehouse. Even if I was willing to pay for half a dozen ice packs the yeast is still going to arrive either totally DOA, or at the very least only marginally viable. ...

This describes my situation fairly well.



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I usually order enough yeast in March or early April to get me through most of the summer. Three pack of yeast can usually get me through "most" of the hot months. Dry yeast limbs me through some styles. But I have ordered yeast on Monday and have had it delivered by Thursday in the middle of the summer and was able to use it without any problems.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: tommymorris on April 27, 2021, 08:53:24 pm
I am 6 batches deep on packs of 1450 and Mexican Lager yeast I bought months ago.  I just had some WLP002 delivered. I am pretty sure I can get through the summer with these. If not I have a dry yeast back up for each.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: majorvices on April 28, 2021, 05:39:09 am
We need a south east option. rebel brewer was great when they were in Nashville
Title: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: BrewBama on April 28, 2021, 06:21:05 am
We need a south east option. rebel brewer was great when they were in Nashville
+1. I sent a note to Northern Brewer years ago and recommended a ‘Southern Brewer’.   I even provided them with a demographic statement from AHA: “Homebrewers are fairly evenly spread across the country, with the slight plurality congregated in the West (31 percent), followed by the South (26 percent), Midwest (23 percent) and the fewest in the Northeast (17 percent).”  I don’t think they heard me because they sold to AB.



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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: roger on April 28, 2021, 06:23:50 am
+2, Especially for yeast.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: erockrph on April 28, 2021, 06:42:39 am
Yeah, once MoreBeer opened their East coast warehouse it really upped my comfort level with ordering liquid yeast. Up my way I don't just have to worry about DOA yeast from heat, but cold as well. I've come home from work to frozen yeast packs on my front porch in winter. Thankfully they weren't frozen rock hard and there was enough viable yeast to make a starter, but a random Arctic blast would probably be a different story.

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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: Oiscout on April 28, 2021, 06:43:19 am
Speaking of dead yeast an expired pack of omega yeast just arrived on my door step

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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: goose on April 28, 2021, 08:39:13 am
Samething happened to me recently with a pack of wyeast belgian Ardennes strain. It was 72 hours with no activity so I tossed it

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I had some 3522 (Belgian Ardennes) that I bought from my LHBS bck in January to make my Tripel.  But I ran out of time before we left for FL and just brewed the beer last week.  The package recommended use by date was April, 2021 and I knew I was toward the end of the best viability date.  I smacked the pack the night before the brew making the starter and it didn't swell up.  I pitched it into the starter wort the next morning and although it took longer to build up I had krausen on it by the time it was ready to pitch into the batch of Tripel.  It took a bit longer to get going and is not fermenting vigorously, but it is going.  It just might take a bit longer to finish

Also to note here, that strain almost always does not ferment down to the terminal gravity I am looking for here.  Although there is a quarter pound each of aromatic malt in it for flavor and acidulated malt (for pH adjustment) in the grain bill (5 gallon batch) it shouldn't effect approaching the desired terminal gravity since the grains are both fermentable.  I also have 2.75 lbs. of sugar in the batch to dry it out and OG is in the 19.15 Plato (~1.077) range.  I add some BE-256 to the fermenter after about a week or so to finish off the beer and this helps me get to where I want to be.  I like the flavor profile of 3522 but it is a bit finicky here for me.  I always ferment this beer at around 66-68 and I raised the temp to 70 a day or so ago after about 4 days in.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: Oiscout on April 28, 2021, 08:41:50 am
Samething happened to me recently with a pack of wyeast belgian Ardennes strain. It was 72 hours with no activity so I tossed it

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I had some 3522 (Belgian Ardennes) that I bought from my LHBS bck in January to make my Tripel.  But I ran out of time before we left for FL and just brewed the beer last week.  The package recommended use by date was April, 2021 and I knew I was toward the end of the best viability date.  I smacked the pack the night before the brew making the starter and it didn't swell up.  I pitched it into the starter wort the next morning and although it took longer to build up I had krausen on it by the time it was ready to pitch into the batch of Tripel.  It took a bit longer to get going and is not fermenting vigorously, but it is going.  It just might take a bit longer to finish

Also to note here, that strain almost always does not ferment down to the terminal gravity I am looking for here.  Although there is a quarter pound each of aromatic malt in it for flavor and acidulated malt (for pH adjustment) in the grain bill (5 gallon batch) it shouldn't effect approaching the desired terminal gravity since the grains are both fermentable.  I also have 2.75 lbs. of sugar in the batch to dry it out and OG is in the 19.15 Plato (~1.077) range.  I add some BE-256 to the fermenter after about a week or so to finish off the beer and this helps me get to where I want to be.  I like the flavor profile of 3522 but it is a bit finicky here for me.  I always ferment this beer at around 66-68 and I raised the temp to 70 a day or so ago after about 4 days in.
Oh nice atleast yours took off, mine didnt do squat. I'll try it again in the winter time

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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: reverseapachemaster on April 28, 2021, 08:44:48 am
We need a south east option. rebel brewer was great when they were in Nashville

Wasn't there a fairly large shop out of Georgia for a while--Brewers Warehouse?

Austin Homebrew is not terribly far from at least the southern states near the Mississippi. After years of being run into the ground by the former owner (along with his brewery he's been trying to relaunch for several years) it was bought by Adventures in Homebrewing a few years ago and they seemed to have cleaned up the problems with the Austin store. To my knowledge they continue to warehouse supplies in Austin for sales through Austin Homebrew.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: majorvices on April 28, 2021, 09:24:06 am
I don't think I ever ordered from Austin before. Might give it a shot
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: Megary on April 28, 2021, 09:29:18 am
Yeah, once MoreBeer opened their East coast warehouse it really upped my comfort level with ordering liquid yeast. Up my way I don't just have to worry about DOA yeast from heat, but cold as well. I've come home from work to frozen yeast packs on my front porch in winter. Thankfully they weren't frozen rock hard and there was enough viable yeast to make a starter, but a random Arctic blast would probably be a different story.

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Lately I've been using Keystone HomeBrew for whatever I can.  They are a bit more "Mom & Pop" and their web-site has some information holes, but they consistently beat MoreBeer from time of order placed to time of shipping.  Makes me a bit more comfortable ordering liquid yeast.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: RC on April 28, 2021, 09:51:05 am
Proximity to the online store and a short shipping time is definitely no guarantee that the yeast won't be DOA. I live ~80 miles from Morebeer's NorCal distro center, and about the same from Williams, and always get orders the day after they ship. Once in a while I still get DOA liquid yeast--although to be fair, it's very rare this happens.

But if it's not transit time/conditions from the yeast bank to them, or from them to me, then the yeast is either being subjected to temp extremes while in inventory at the online store, or the yeast was dead before it even left the yeast bank. Either seems very unlikely so it's still a mystery.
Title: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: BrewBama on April 28, 2021, 11:06:14 am
That’s true ...but the odds sure are better.


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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: majorvices on April 28, 2021, 11:13:11 am
I live in Alabama and I've homebrewed since '96. Aside from one commercial yeast shipment I have never had a yeast arrive DOA. Some took longer to start that others but I can't really recall any taking longer than 48 hours. But maybe that's what some of you mean.

Northern Brewer shipments do seem to take longer now than they used to, but it used to be if I ordered yeast on on Sunday and add an extra ice pack that yeast would arrive by Wed. or Thursday. The packs would arrive warm but never "hot". That said I have always tried to minimize shipping in the dead of summer. But I feel like I could order yeast on Sunday and it would arrive fine.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: BrewBama on April 28, 2021, 12:18:41 pm
... I have never had a yeast arrive DOA. ...

I wish I could say that. That hasn’t been my experience at all.



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Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: RC on April 28, 2021, 01:49:00 pm
I will add: some folks think the Wyeast smackpacks are kind of gimmicky. Not me. If I see no inflation within about 12 hours, I get a plan B lined up for my yeast, just in case. Being able to assess viability in advance of pitching is extraordinarily useful. But again, DOA yeast for me has been a very rare thing, only about a half-dozen pouches in 25 years of brewing (interestingly, IIRC they have only ever been Wyeast).
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: Richard on April 28, 2021, 02:51:44 pm
I am also in Northern California near the MoreBeer warehouse and get very fast shipping from there. Once I ordered Wyeast online and forgot to check where it was in stock. They shipped it from Pennsylvania, and it arrived dead. I went into the retail store and told the managerwhaat happened and he gave me a replacement pack from the refrigerator. Now I buy all my liquid yeast in the store. When the store was closed for COVID I used dry yeast.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: Saccharomyces on April 29, 2021, 05:17:46 pm
Herein lies the problem why I maintained a yeast bank on agar slants for many years.
Title: Re: liquid yeast packs dead
Post by: narcout on April 30, 2021, 05:44:27 pm
I placed an order with Morebeer on Tuesday and paid the extra $3.99 for the insulated shipper with two ice packs.  Despite it being 90° here today (and 88° yesterday), the ice packs and yeast pouches were cool to the touch when they arrived a few hours ago.

I have a feeling this summer is going to be brutal though.  I'll probably trek out to the homebrew shop in Eagle Rock and buy a bunch of yeast when it starts getting really hot.