Author Topic: The cheap yeast  (Read 1141 times)

Offline brewmasternpb

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 318
    • View Profile
The cheap yeast
« on: November 03, 2013, 10:34:09 PM »
Has anyone bought the discounted yeast at the LHBS?  You know, the liquid yeast that's past it's shelf life?  I've been brewing for 11 years and I've always avoided it.  Today, I gave it a shot.  I'm brewing a Saison, and I already have a pack of the Belle Saison yeast, but there was a vial of the white labs Saison blend in the discount pile.  I figure that my cell count is fine with the dry yeast, I would try the Saison blend, just for added complexity.
When I got home, I plugged the yeast (by manufacture date) into the Mr. Malty calculator.  This yeast had a "best before" date of 9-22-13, which means it was manufactured on 5-22-13.  The calculator had it at 10 percent viability, but it appears that 10% is as low as the calculator goes, so it could be less.  The thing that gets me, the yeast was only 25% off!  With such low viability, it should be 75% off.  Anyway... Lesson learned, stay away from the bargain bin.
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

cornershot

  • Guest
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2013, 03:37:48 AM »
My lhbs gives me the expired yeast for free. I check out the expired bin every time I'm there and have the ok to help myself to whatever interests me. It's usually expired no more than a month and I'm a couple stepped starters away from an adequate pitch. The actual viability depends on yeast strain, storage conditions, etc. and could be much higher than the 10% default viability on the calculators.
I would say that, considering the work and possibly dme required to grow it up, 25% off is not a good deal. It should be kicked down or discarded if it's expired.

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 918
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2013, 08:16:21 AM »
Probably not the best deal but if you've ever try to get activity out of old yeast from your fridge then you know even at 5-10% viability and some patience you can reach pitching quantities and no problems fermenting your beer.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1672
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2013, 08:40:45 AM »
i made starter out of a vial of lager yeast (i have pictures somewhere of the type) that was over a year old when i opened it.  was no issue
Don AHA member

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *****
  • Posts: 6316
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2013, 11:49:06 AM »
I used to get expired or close to expired yeast from my lhbs as well and made starters and never had an issue.
Keith Y.
Self appointed "All Grain" section pruner

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3174
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2013, 11:58:57 AM »
When I got home, I plugged the yeast (by manufacture date) into the Mr. Malty calculator.  This yeast had a "best before" date of 9-22-13, which means it was manufactured on 5-22-13.  The calculator had it at 10 percent viability, but it appears that 10% is as low as the calculator goes, so it could be less.

That's a serious over-estimate for cell loss, IMHO. I think a better rule of thumb for fresh yeast stored properly is 10%/month, which would put it around 20% 50% viability at this point. Even at 25%/month it's still 20% viable.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 02:55:03 PM by a10t2 »
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline brewmasternpb

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 318
    • View Profile
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 01:14:58 PM »
I guess that was one of my questions... Is the Mr. Malty calculator off?
Guys, thanks for all the info!  What I gather from your feedback is: A) I can get good results from old yeast,
2) If I can get brand new yeast for $1.50 more, it's probably safe to by the freshest I can find.
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

Offline Slowbrew

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1658
  • The Slowly Losing IT Brewery in Urbandale, IA
    • View Profile
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2013, 01:57:10 PM »
I've only knowingly used expired wyeast packages once (I don't always look).  My LHBS didn't have the yeast I was looking for in the fridge.  I asked the youngin at the counterif they had any in back and he said nope.  The owner heard the conversation and came out of his office with 3 partially swelled packs of the yeast I wanted.  They were old and he was going to toss them so he gave them to me for free.  I threw them in a starter and they took off like normal.  I likely way over pitched that batch.  Long story, short, the yeast survive longer than we think they will.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11706
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2013, 02:20:50 PM »
I've successfully revived and used a smackpack that was 3 1/2 years old.  Although I don't recommend doing that, it's certainly not impossible.  At the moment, I'm boiling up some starter for for a pack of 1056 dated 1/17/13.  I expect it to work fine.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline dmtaylor

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 774
    • View Profile
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2013, 08:30:55 PM »
I've been burned by expired yeast several times.  I will revive and use yeast up to about 9-10 months old, but I won't buy it that old anymore.  Beyond that, it is down the drain.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Online Jeff M

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 565
  • Currently upgrading to Brewery 3.0
    • View Profile
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2013, 08:35:44 PM »
most LHBS are allowed to return expired yeast every quarter or so, hence the poor discount.  why people give it away only makes me assume that you are a valuable enough customer that 3-4 bucks loss isnt an issue since you buy all your ingredients from them anyway.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 06:07:39 AM by Jeff M »
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline swampale

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2013, 05:25:20 AM »
I found that I spent more on DME trying to step up old yeast than if I just bought a fresh vial/pack. Never again.

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 918
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2013, 06:56:24 AM »
I found that I spent more on DME trying to step up old yeast than if I just bought a fresh vial/pack. Never again.

I run off a little extra runnings on each mash into a separate kettle and boil it down to around 1.080. I shove it in some tupperware in the freezer to use for starters. Dilute to 1.040 and give it a quick boil. Virtually free starter wort. I guess it isn't an option for extract brewers so in that case probably cheaper to buy the fresh yeast.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline brewmasternpb

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 318
    • View Profile
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2013, 07:47:27 AM »
The funny thing is that, a pack of the dried Belle Saison yeast was still cheaper than the discounted liquid yeast... at a much higher cell count.
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

Online dkfick

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
    • View Profile
Re: The cheap yeast
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2013, 08:01:33 AM »
The other thing besides viability to look out for is mutation that will occur on older yeast.  That older yeast you step up may or may not behave as you expect.
BJCP A0936 Certified Beer Judge and Mead Judge
AHA Member
CRAFT Homebrew Club
Sons of Liberty Homebrew Club
Malty Dogs Homebrew Club
HBT "mors"