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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: dean on December 15, 2009, 04:43:30 PM

Title: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: dean on December 15, 2009, 04:43:30 PM
I've ordered liquid yeasts a few times and it really pisses me off when it arrives and its 3 months old according to the manufacturing date!  Anybody else run into that?  I just ordered WY1272 and if it comes more than a month and a half old I'm calling the store and complaining, they charge enough for it that they ought to keep better track of it... first in - first out method isn't all that difficult and yeast viability is a huge issue when making starters!   >:(
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: denny on December 15, 2009, 04:55:46 PM
IME, viability isn't as big a deal if you're making starters.  I've successfully used 3 1/2 year old smackpacks, although it's nothing I recommend!  Fresher is always better, but 3 months old isn't a terrible problem.  Although, if you're ordering from a place that has a decent turnover, it is a bit baffling why they have packs that are 3 months old.
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: a10t2 on December 15, 2009, 04:57:15 PM
Three months is still ~40% viability, kind of a drag but not hard to deal with. It's a bigger deal as a customer service issue than a brewing issue.
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: karlh on December 15, 2009, 05:53:32 PM
I always make a starter with smack packs.  That said I found a smack pack under the vegetable drawer in the fridge a couple years ago that was 6 years past its mfg. date.  I thought I would smack it and see if there was any activity, and after a week it had inflated itself.  I made a starter and brewed the beer I usually make with this yeast, and it was virtually identical. 

I routinely make starters from smack packs that have been in the fridge for 6 months or more as I buy all the ingredients and the best laid plans go astray.... 

In ten years I have only had one bad experience with a wyeast pack that inflated fast and popped, breaking the seal at the top of the foil bag.  It produced an obviously infected beer with multiple weird flavor characteristics. 
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: bluesman on December 15, 2009, 05:57:36 PM
I've never had that problem, but if I did I'd contact the seller and ask for a replacement and/or a refund.  ;)
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: makemehoppy on December 16, 2009, 01:58:53 PM
My local shop sells yeast over 6 months old at 1/2 price. If I plan my beer far enough in advance I usually buy these. I've seen it take up to a week for the smack pack to inflate and then a couple more days for a starter. I never had a problem using one of these 6 month to 1 year old packs.
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: dean on December 16, 2009, 02:14:22 PM
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the calculator on MrMalty?  According to yeast viability determines the number of smackpacks or vials needed for the required size for the starter? 
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: denny on December 16, 2009, 04:57:27 PM
You can also reset the calculator to use a single pack and it will tell you how big a starter to make.
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on December 16, 2009, 08:20:38 PM
Maybe I'm misunderstanding the calculator on MrMalty?  According to yeast viability determines the number of smackpacks or vials needed for the required size for the starter? 
Rule of thumb.
If you make 2000ml starter at 1040 and pitched one vial into it, you will get about 2 vials of yeast.
If you need 4 vials (lagers) make 4000 ml starter and pitch one vial into it.
This goes for average beer (1050 or so) and 5 gal of wort.
If you have higher gravity beer or more wort you need more yeast. 
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: tygo on December 17, 2009, 04:17:28 AM
You can also reset the calculator to use a single pack and it will tell you how big a starter to make.

Do you mean using the slider bar at the bottom to increase the "Growth Factor"? 

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the calculator on MrMalty?  According to yeast viability determines the number of smackpacks or vials needed for the required size for the starter? 

This is a good question.  Both that slider bar on Mr. Malty and the table in Palmer's book indicate that the final yeast cell count in a starter is dependent on the amount of cells you start with.  For example, using the table on page 69 of How to Brew if I pitched 50 billion cells into a 1.040 4 qt starter I'd end up with 206B cells.  But if I pitched 100B cells into the same 4 qt starter I'd have 305B cells.

My initial question before I thought this through was:  Why is that?  Wouldn't the yeast just keep growing to the same level no matter what the pitch cell count?

However on further reflection I get it.  The yeast are going to keep eating and reproducing until the food is gone.  A higher initial pitch rate means more cells reproducing and therefore a higher ending cell count using the available food.
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: dean on December 17, 2009, 02:29:09 PM
My order from Midwest arrived yesterday, this is the freshest yeast (WY1272) I've bought yet, mf'd on 12/01/09!!   ;D   Maybe in the past its been the strain of yeast I've ordered?  I've gotten old yeast from both NB and Midwest so thats about the only thing I can think that may be the reason? 

I'm a bit tossed on what I want to make now, an ale or a stout.   :D  One or the other is about to be born, I may make both and use some S05.   ;D
Title: Re: OLD liquid yeasts!?
Post by: ndcube on December 17, 2009, 03:32:33 PM
My local shop sells yeast over 6 months old at 1/2 price. If I plan my beer far enough in advance I usually buy these. I've seen it take up to a week for the smack pack to inflate and then a couple more days for a starter. I never had a problem using one of these 6 month to 1 year old packs.

I don't even bother letting them inflate.  I smack it to get the nutrients from the pouch and just pitch.  The starter is the proof.