Author Topic: Smack Pack - No Swell blues  (Read 2066 times)

Offline lazydog79

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Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« on: June 22, 2010, 01:55:53 PM »
I'm planning on brewing up an Oktoberfest Friday or Saturday.  I have a Wyeast Oktoberfest blend smack-pack.  The plan was to pitch it into a 3 qt starter today and brew this weekend.  I took it out of the fridge around noon today (3:30 now) and I have no swell.  I'm worried the inner pouch might have already been broken or the yeast is a too old (Feb. manufacture date).  Should I go ahead and pitch it in my starter and see what happens?

Offline sutorbrew

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2010, 02:09:23 PM »
If the inner pack was broken before it would have swelled up and stayed swelled (it's sealed where would the CO2 go). Since it is an older pack you'll need some patience it can take up to a couple days to fully swell when your starting with older packs. I would also recommend that you stick to the 10 to 1 on culturing up your yeast so maybe just go up to 1250-1500 ml. Is your 3qt starter going to be on a stir plate?

Offline bluesman

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2010, 02:37:48 PM »
I would pitch into starter wort and "wait and see". It should be fine, but as was said it may take additional time to get started being on the older side.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2010, 02:45:40 PM »
I never wait for mine to swell.  I only smack it to get the nutrients from the inner pouch.  If it's pretty old like six months or more I'll make a small starter (like maybe a pint) and step it up to where I want it.  If if fresh I'll just pitch it straight into a larger starter.

If the starter doesn't take off that's the test for me, not the smack pack swelling.

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2010, 02:59:38 PM »
Pitching it right into the starter also gets my vote. There should be enough cells still alive for a 3 qt starter.

Kai

Offline tygo

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2010, 06:26:57 PM »
I had one that was kinda old and also kinda sat in the shipping box on my front porch in the heat for an extra day until I realized it was there.  I pitched it into a gallon starter and it didn't take off for over 3 days but it did eventually get going.  For the other yeast that was in that shipment I'm going to start off with a 500 ml starter and step it up from there just to be on the safe side.  Like everyone else said you should be fine it just might take awhile.
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Offline lazydog79

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2010, 07:43:45 PM »
Thanks for helping me make sure I'm on the right track.  I'm a bit of an amateur with the smack-packs - I usually buy White Labs, but I have heard good things about this Oktoberfest blend that Wyeast has and it doesn't have a White Labs equivalent.  Fortunately, it's summer, so my brew calendar is a little more flexible, but I want to get this done so it's ready by the last weekend of September.

I just got done pitching the yeast in my starter.  What I found inside was interesting.  I think the yeast was still good.  It didn't smell awesome, but four month old yeast rarely does.  What was interesting was the nutrient pouch inside.  Instead of one little pouch, I had two attached.  One was open on one end and the other still looked sealed but with nothing in it.  I think I might have gotten a defective one.  Oh well, as long as the yeastie-beasties still do their thing, I'm happy!

Offline lazydog79

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2010, 12:28:28 PM »
So how long do you let it go before you declare a starter dead?  My starter is at 40+ hours with zero activity.  I've never had one go this long.  On the bright side, I'm glad I didn't just direct pitch this.  On the down side, I need to get my Oktoberfest going here so I'll have it in time.  I'm thinking I'll give it until tomorrow, then try to get more yeast.

Offline hokerer

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2010, 12:37:18 PM »
So how long do you let it go before you declare a starter dead?  My starter is at 40+ hours with zero activity.  I've never had one go this long.  On the bright side, I'm glad I didn't just direct pitch this.  On the down side, I need to get my Oktoberfest going here so I'll have it in time.  I'm thinking I'll give it until tomorrow, then try to get more yeast.

How are you determining "activity"?  With a starter, it's very easy to miss.
Joe

Offline ndcube

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2010, 01:08:34 PM »
So how long do you let it go before you declare a starter dead?  My starter is at 40+ hours with zero activity.  I've never had one go this long.  On the bright side, I'm glad I didn't just direct pitch this.  On the down side, I need to get my Oktoberfest going here so I'll have it in time.  I'm thinking I'll give it until tomorrow, then try to get more yeast.

Why are you glad that you didn't direct pitch it?

Swirl it around and see if it starts foaming up.  That will give you some indication if there was activity.

Offline tygo

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2010, 03:35:07 PM »
Like I said above it was more like 3-4 days before I saw activity on the troubled one I had.
Clint
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Offline lazydog79

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2010, 06:57:29 AM »
No foam, no nothing.  :'( One of these days, I'm going to get smart enough to quit ordering liquid yeast.  It just doesn't travel well - even with NB being 3-4 shipping days away.  Plus, to save a little money, I order a lot at once, meaning yeast ends up hanging out in my fridge longer than it should.  This has been my only option, though, as I don't have a LHBS, but I have recently found a local source for White Labs.  I think I'll be using that from now on.

Offline ndcube

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Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2010, 07:12:53 AM »
No foam, no nothing.  :'( One of these days, I'm going to get smart enough to quit ordering liquid yeast.  It just doesn't travel well - even with NB being 3-4 shipping days away.  Plus, to save a little money, I order a lot at once, meaning yeast ends up hanging out in my fridge longer than it should.  This has been my only option, though, as I don't have a LHBS, but I have recently found a local source for White Labs.  I think I'll be using that from now on.

You just need to start small.  I used an 18 month old smackpack of WY Octoberfest.  Even with a small starter (1 cup IIRC, maybe it was 1.5) it still took a couple days to get going.