General Category > Yeast and Fermentation

OLD liquid yeasts!?

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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!   >:(

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.

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.

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. 

I've never had that problem, but if I did I'd contact the seller and ask for a replacement and/or a refund.  ;)


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