1028 Yeast Starter

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Trough Lolly

"Drink, Feck, Arse, Girls"!
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Today I made a yeast starter using a smack pack of 1028 London Ale...
It's no big deal that I bought it in a HBS in Ballarat last week and when I safely got it home here in Canberra (via an esky in the car) I noticed two things.

Firstly, it had a Grain and Grape sticker on it and the made date was Sep 03! :huh: Which makes this smack pack the best part of 3+ months old...

I smacked it on Friday night and it looked like it had expanded (not sure though - this is my first smacking!!) by this morning (Sunday) so I made a 3 litre SG 1040 starter with some boiled and chilled Light DME and two thirds filled three large PET bottles with the wort and XL smack pack contents mixed into the cooled wort (at about 25C from memory).

Shook the buggery out of the PET bottles, bunged them with an airlock and now some 8 hrs later the froth from shaking has gone and there's very little action in the airlock - some displacement of the airlock water to show there's some CO2 in there but nothing on the wort surface - just three bottles of flat looking amber brew.

The airlocks are in tight so no leaks there - is this smack pack too old? :( Or am I looking for results too soon??? Am I correct in assuming that I leave the three bottles for 24 to 48 hrs and put the starter into stubbies at high krausen?

This is my first attempt at cultivating yeast starters so any advice or reassurance would go down real well right now! ;)

By the way - the price I paid for the smack pack was about $3 more than the cost listed on Grain and Grape... :angry:

Sounds like me talking here , I've had a couple of disapointments with wyeast , 1028 was a good one for me , I think I waited 6-7 days for the pack to swell , nothing till the last day then POW! fully puffed up.
I am no expert here TL but if I were you perhaps wait a little .
Having said that I did a 2007 , puffed up and then I made 4 starters , one with a airlock , others without. In the morning airlock looked as if nothing had happened (some sedement in bottles) but the sealed bottles had pressure.
In fact I made the mistake of shacking one up and opening it , was very much alive
Hope all goes well for you , they also were out of date and had Grain and Grape stickers on them as well
I'd give it another day before I got overly worried, if you weren't certain the pack had swelled then it was probably only part of the way there (not a big deal) they blow up like balloons once they get going.

Perhaps give the starters a shake a couple of times a day to get some more air in there. Also have a taste of it before you put it in your stubbies so you have a reference if you taste test your starters b4 pitching down the track (I do).

I just made two brews using 1272 and they took 24hrs to get going ... sometimes I get them to start in a few hours but most of the time it seems to be at least 8 - 24hrs.
Grain and Grape are the only importers of the Wyeasts, AFAIK

3 months is a very new pack! I used to get yeasts 2 or 3 years old before I set up my own shop

shake buggery out of your starter bottles 2 or 3 times a day. Is there already a cake on the bottom of your bottles?

When making a starter I prefer to start with fairly weak DME solution, then step it up tenfold each time and I don't split the starter till after the firat step up.

I also like to have the starter fully fermented out by brewday, then 30 mins into the mash pull out a pint of wort from the tun and boil then cool it. I then pour off the clear solution from above the yeast cake, add the pint of boiled & cooled wort, aerate etc and by the time the main boil etc is done I have an active pint of starter made of the same wort as the beer i just brewed.

I do not put starter bottles into the fridge to drop the yeast, I don't believe you should check the yeast

Jovial Monk
Thanks for the feedback guys...

I'm back at work now :( so when I get home, I'll shake the beejeezus out of the bottles and keep an eye on them.

I didn't want to split up the starter, but I didn't have a 4 litre vessel handy and all I had was a handfull of 2L and 1.5L PET bottles so I had to make do with that. I suppose the yeast will be slow to start if I have the smack pack spread over three bottles instead of one container.

I have a 4L container that holds distilled water - once its empty, it will go straight to the brewery for future yeast starter use!!

4l seems an enormous sized starter for an ale? Is a good size for lagers, though

Jovial Monk
Agreed JM - but I want to make 3L of starter and have enough headspace for the foam...I also want to put as many stubbies together of this yeast as I can so I get plenty of brews from the one smack pack!
You can also harvest from the bottom of the primary. I will be topping up my 1272 stocks from the two brews I have going now :)

Incidentally my starters in the fridge have frozen! Does anyone know if the yeast in these will still be ok? I would actually prefer to freeze these suckers as I have plently of room in the freezer :rolleyes:
Hmmm, I seem to recall an article or forum thread somewhere advising that chilling yeast makes it dormant, but freezing will damage the cell walls of the yeast cells and probably kill the poor little fellas...
Not too sure of that but I'm pretty sure that frozen yeast is not a good thing.
Any of the yeast guru's out there want to comment? ;)

A tip I was told was "a day for every month past its made date" before it goes right off.

I also harvest,but from out of the secondary for cleaner yeast and less hops residue.(dunno if im right on this???)
Ahh well I may try reviving one of these a few days before my next brew and see how it looks.

I thought I read something about the yeast in the secondary being less flocculent ...
I think even dry yeast does not take kindly to freezing. . .if some of the yeast in your starter had sporulated b4 freezing you might be OK.

Yes, Choc, yeast from the bottom off the secondary is yeast that did not floculate untill well after the ferment had finished!

If you want clean samples, drop your ales 2 days after pitching with some aeration, the gunk is left behind the aeration kicks up the yeast activity and the yeast head and cake are very clean.

Jovial Monk
So then am I using three fermenters then

The initial pitching
then dropping two days later

then transferring again at the end of fermentation???- to CC/bottling??

but I always start these up again and step up before pitching

Are the ones Ive got no good then???

All three PET bottles are happily burbling away at one bubble each, every 4 to 5 seconds! :D :D :D

Not much Krausen to speak of, but the surface is "tingling" like soda water! This is the first time I've actually seen the yeast at work - in the past my white plastic fermenting pails obscure the action :(

So, it looks like I have 3L of 1028 Starter!

My intention is to transfer the lot into stubbies in the next 24 to 48 hrs...

Should I wait for the bubbling to cease before I bottle and refridgerate or do it when there is one bubble every 10 seconds or so? Perhaps I opened the smack pack a bit early - anyway, I've got three active bottles so I'm on my way!

TL at Yeast HQ :p

ABSOLUTELY WAIT for the starters to finish fermenting before you bottle and refridgerate.
If you don't then by the time the starter has cooled when you bottle and put in the fridge it will have fermented some more.
Then when you want to use the starter and you remove it from the fridge and wait for it to aclimatise (come up to room temp) it will ferment some more.
Then when you open the starter bottle you will have an empty bottle and a very messy kitchen. It will climb out of the bottle and deposit itself in parts of the room you didn't even know existed.

You think getting in trouble for messing up the kitchen with sticky beer stuff will get your other half steamed, you will be even more so when you only have about 10mls of your precious yeast liquid left in your starter bottle :rolleyes: **

I generally leave the starter for another 3-4 days after it has fermented out before bottling and putting in the fridge. This means there is no activity and so when I go to use it and I ease the cap off (just in case - NOTE: always ease the cap back and forwards just in case when opening a starter) there will be a little hiss and thats it. The yeast sediment will also be on the bottom of the bottle undisturbed. I then decant off the liquid leaving a few mils to get the sediment stirred up and transfer to my new start wort.


** I speak from experience.
I've been caught as well with starters that weren't fermented out. Didn't mess the kitchen too much but gave me an awful scare.

I now use Grolsch bottles for my starters. Once I put them in the fridge, I give them a few days and then open them to release any pressure.

Once in a while (maybe once a month?) I go through the fridge and crack each of the bottles just to make sure.

Thanks for the warning/advice - I nearly bottled the stubs this evening as I thought the go was to bottle them when fermenting had slowed down but not yet finished :huh:!! All three starters are bubbling at about every 10 seconds and they have a nice wagon wheel of foam on the surface, caused by the bumps in the bottle of the coke bottles!
Anyway, I will give these starters plenty of time to finish off and then bottle at my leisure. I want to put a brew down this weekend coming, so I will take some of the starter for that and bottle the rest.
If I take say 300ml of the starter, should I mix it into a fresh starter culture to revitalise the yeast, or can I simply pitch 300ml of this starter directly into the cooled wort and let it get busy with the fermentables in the fresh wort (my Trough Lolly part mash porter)?

Postscript addition:
The starter was simply a 1040 solution of Light DME in water - no other additions so I can virtually pitch it into anything!
Linz said:
but I always start these up again and step up before pitching

Are the ones Ive got no good then???
just to check
You will need to make a fresh starter from your starter to pitch into your brew (except for this week as one of your starters will be ready to pitch).

I usually get my starter for my brew going about 5 days before brewing.

If you just pitch your previously bottled and refridgerated starter it will take 3 or so days to start fermenting your brew. That would not be good.