White Labs Yeast & Use By Date

Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum

Help Support Australia & New Zealand Homebrewing Forum:

jhudzina

New Member
Joined
13/1/11
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
I'm sort of new to white labs liquid yeat. I've just rexieved my order and both vials are only a few days short of their use-by date. Now, I realize they have to make a fair trip to reach our sunny shores. But it surely doesn't take four months. Just wondering and for future reference, does this happen often.
 

peas_and_corn

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I cannot mash that
Joined
13/9/05
Messages
4,687
Reaction score
145
Location
South Australia
Not in my experience, but I usually get Wyeast. Usually brew stores discount as they approach the use by date.
 

Yob

Hop to it
Joined
14/11/09
Messages
15,036
Reaction score
6,410
Location
Ringwood, Melbourne
I'm sort of new to white labs liquid yeat. I've just rexieved my order and both vials are only a few days short of their use-by date. Now, I realize they have to make a fair trip to reach our sunny shores. But it surely doesn't take four months. Just wondering and for future reference, does this happen often.
Who sold them to you? Id be asking them to replace them.

Thats bollox mate..
 

np1962

It's all about the Beer
Joined
21/10/08
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
10
Location
Blakeview, SA
First up I'll say I didn't sell these yeasts AFAIK.

a. It is a Best Before Date not a use by date.
b. Some strains sell more slowly than others.
c. It takes less than a week for yeast to arrive from the US.
d. Shipping is very expensive, about 100% on top of the cost of the yeast in reasonable quantities, much more in smaller lots.
e. To make selling yeast viable it is necessary to order in large quantities to reduce costs.
f. Sometimes you still have yeasts that approach 4 months old.

I can only speak for my business of course but I try to order just enough to clear within 6-8 weeks, easy with the popular strains.
I also try to have vials/smackpacks of the other strains that I may sell irregularly. These strains I would expect to be caught with one or two come the BB date. I sell them at full price up to and including that date then reduce the price to clear them.
Why is this not a problem to me? Once a vial or smackpack is 3-4 weeks old there is a fair percentage of unviable cells. Therefore these yeasts are no longer suitable for direct pitching into a batch of beer (not even if the smackpack swells like a balloon).
Any brewer who wants to pitch at the correct rate would then use several vials/packs or, more likely, use a starter. Given this there is no reason why these vials/packs can't be sold.
Some LHBS will advertise the date of manufacture or the best before date of there yeast so you can make an informed decision, many don't. Buyer beware.

So, in short, don't worry excessively about the date in itself. Worry more about how you use the yeast you have.
If you really want to use the freshest yeast available you'll need to check websites/ring around and ask the question before buying.

Cheers
Nige
 

jhudzina

New Member
Joined
13/1/11
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the replys lads. I'm not gonna name and shame but I will be forwarding a strongly worded email to the suppliers of the suspect yeast. I know it is only a best before date and it will be good to go a for a few weeks but I'm after the best and freshest. I suppose, in the future I will order per brew and not be a cheapskate to avoid incurring additional shipping. Feck it!
 

Nick JD

Blah Blah Blah
Joined
4/11/08
Messages
7,322
Reaction score
455
c. It takes less than a week for yeast to arrive from the US.
d. Shipping is very expensive, about 100% on top of the cost of the yeast in reasonable quantities, much more in smaller lots.
Try DHL. I can get a couple kgs for 25 bucks. Gets here in 4 days.

How many 35ml vials can you get in that box? Enough to show your customers that the wholesale cost must be really fricking low. :D

Customers need to be told that old yeast can't be pitched and needs to be made into a starter: before they hand over their cash. Retailers who sell old packs online need to give info on the "add to cart" area.
 

bigfridge

Well-Known Member
Joined
14/9/05
Messages
1,032
Reaction score
6
Try DHL. I can get a couple kgs for 25 bucks. Gets here in 4 days.

How many 35ml vials can you get in that box? Enough to show your customers that the wholesale cost must be really fricking low. :D
Is this refrigerated ? I would think not.

Does this include ice bricks ?

We only have experience with Wyeast and it is a condition of their warranty that the above conditions are met.

Would you sit your yeast out at room temperature for 4 days and still expect it to be in peak condition ? I think not.

Good yeast handling is expensive.
 

np1962

It's all about the Beer
Joined
21/10/08
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
10
Location
Blakeview, SA
Try DHL. I can get a couple kgs for 25 bucks. Gets here in 4 days.

How many 35ml vials can you get in that box? Enough to show your customers that the wholesale cost must be really fricking low. :D
Nick,
Refridgerated packaging and many,many ice packs add considerably to the weight of the package as Bigfridge says. Remember this is coming from the US via Hawaii, customs and quarantine in Sydney and in my case the back of a van for the best part of a day travelling around Adelaide. Normally a 4 day trip but if customs decide to hold up the package for any reason then it spends the weekend in a warehouse. Still cool when I receive it as it has been packed correctly.

Not sure cost was part of the OP's issue though.

As DU99 says you can get 7day old WL yeast direct by ordering through Chi. Just had a look and the price seems pretty good, but wait, 2 vials, icepacks and international freight = $121.00. to get the yeast to me in the same condition as I get it now. Maybe a tad uneconomical.

I do agree that you should be able to make an informed decision on which yeast you buy. I am not the only retailer that gives this information, if you don't/can't get it from your LHBS go somewhere else but at least ask first.
Nige
 

mckenry

Brummagem
Joined
31/8/06
Messages
2,347
Reaction score
669
So I cant find an answer to this. Driving me mad.

I have a vial of Whitelabs. I'm going to need a starter due to size & gravity of beer I want to brew.
I want to use yeastcalc to determine step sizes etc

Q1. What is the manufacture date of my vial? I only have a best before stamp on the label.
Q2. What is the starting cell count? From the whitelabs website the initial cell count is anywhere between 75 & 150 billion cells.

Q3. Do i just make the assumption its 150b IF i can work out the manufacture date or could it be 75b on THAT date?

:angry:

mckenry
 

stux

Hacienda Brewhaus
Joined
15/12/09
Messages
2,978
Reaction score
310
So I cant find an answer to this. Driving me mad.

I have a vial of Whitelabs. I'm going to need a starter due to size & gravity of beer I want to brew.
I want to use yeastcalc to determine step sizes etc

Q1. What is the manufacture date of my vial? I only have a best before stamp on the label.
Q2. What is the starting cell count? From the whitelabs website the initial cell count is anywhere between 75 & 150 billion cells.

Q3. Do i just make the assumption its 150b IF i can work out the manufacture date or could it be 75b on THAT date?

:angry:

mckenry
I *think* the BB date is 4months after manufacture, quoting whitelabs website

"
What is the shelf life of White Labs Yeast?

Quick Answer: 4 Months
"

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/how-find-...s-yeast-249977/

And just use 100B as the cellcount
 

Wolfy

Well-Known Member
Joined
18/12/08
Messages
3,872
Reaction score
64
Location
Melbourne
I'm sort of new to white labs liquid yeat. I've just rexieved my order and both vials are only a few days short of their use-by date. Now, I realize they have to make a fair trip to reach our sunny shores. But it surely doesn't take four months. Just wondering and for future reference, does this happen often.
According to Mr Malty yeast that was manufactured 4 moths ago has a viability of 12% ... that means that 88% of the yest is dead! Compare this to about the freshest yeast we can get here (2 weeks old) and the viability is 87%, or even 1 month old yeast where the viability is 75% - that's a huge difference in the extra 3 months that the retailer has had it sitting in their fridge.

While I understand that NigeP62's comments come from a business perspective (and that selling liquid yeast in Australia involves many financial and other complications) from the perspective of the person attempting to buy 'fresh' liquid yeast, to have it arrive so close to the use-by date and have an expected viability of only 12% is not something that I'd accept as a retail customer - I would be expecting at least a partial refund.

I note that CraftBrewer publish the 'Manufactured date' for their liquid yeasts, so when you place the order you know exactly what you are getting, I have also purchased and used 'out of date' yeast from Grain and Grape, but I paid a discounted price and I knew the product was past the date.

Why is this not a problem to me? Once a vial or smackpack is 3-4 weeks old there is a fair percentage of unviable cells. Therefore these yeasts are no longer suitable for direct pitching into a batch of beer (not even if the smackpack swells like a balloon).
Any brewer who wants to pitch at the correct rate would then use several vials/packs or, more likely, use a starter. Given this there is no reason why these vials/packs can't be sold.
Some LHBS will advertise the date of manufacture or the best before date of there yeast so you can make an informed decision, many don't. Buyer beware.
3 week old yeast has a viability of 82%, 4 week old 77%, that is a massive difference compared to 4 month old yeast with a viability of 12% - your logic is too focused on the business implications and not selling the 'best' product you can to the customer for me to be comfortable buying it. 3-4 week old yeast, with only 18-23% dead yeast is still close enough IMHO for direct pitching, but 4 month old yeast with 88% dead yeast is not.
We're not talking about having to direct pitch 1 or 2 packs of mostly fresh yeast, in this case he'd have to use more like 10 or 12 - so your numbers and assumptions are not something I'd be comfortable with.
 

np1962

It's all about the Beer
Joined
21/10/08
Messages
1,618
Reaction score
10
Location
Blakeview, SA
So I cant find an answer to this. Driving me mad.

I have a vial of Whitelabs. I'm going to need a starter due to size & gravity of beer I want to brew.
I want to use yeastcalc to determine step sizes etc

Q1. What is the manufacture date of my vial? I only have a best before stamp on the label.
Q2. What is the starting cell count? From the whitelabs website the initial cell count is anywhere between 75 & 150 billion cells.

Q3. Do i just make the assumption its 150b IF i can work out the manufacture date or could it be 75b on THAT date?

:angry:

mckenry
A1. Most Whitelabs have a best before date 4 months from manufacture, not all, but if you use 4 months you will be correct in most cases.
A2. Whitelabs err on the cautious side when they say 75-150 billion live cells. I'd go with stux and assume 100bn, in most cases you will be underestimating the numbers.
A3. Go with 100bn at a date 4 months back from the best before date.

Wolfy, totally understand where you are coming from.
I try to plan my import of fresh yeast such that no vial is older than 8 weeks from manufacture and with the popular strains this works well. Some of the less popular strains get a little older in the fridge and occasionally reach the BB date, when they do they go into the Past Date area and are sold at a discount rate.
Not many vials get this old and last week there were 6 vials out of a shipment of 100 that were moved to the discount pile and they were snapped up by some very good brewers.
I do the same with Wyeast, I stock both and believe I am the only Aussie HBS to do so.
My aim is to provide the best product possible to my customers and in doing so some may shop elsewhere when they see the sold out sign on the strain they want today.
I am also in the habit of letting my customers know when I'm about to order fresh stock so they can be sure and get 4 day old yeast if they are local to me.
I'm by no means the only one and Ross and the guys at G&G do the same things for their customers but as you say there are complications with buying form overseas.
Where is Pro Culture when you want them :icon_chickcheers:
Nige
 

Online Brewing Supplies

**** OBS ****
Joined
17/5/06
Messages
4,739
Reaction score
639
Location
The Dean WA
You can not generalize on yeast viability and counts.
There are simple procedures which will verify each question.
With out a microscope and some stains its really a guess.
What you purchase /condition depends very much on the time of the year it was shipped and how long it was over a certain temp.
And how it was stored when it arrived.
Also each strain has a different nature some are much more robust and can handle a less than perfect environment change.
Nev
 

Wolfy

Well-Known Member
Joined
18/12/08
Messages
3,872
Reaction score
64
Location
Melbourne
Where is Pro Culture when you want them :icon_chickcheers:
In my fridge: :D

That's 1/2 my wet-yeast farm, but I do wonder what happened to Pro Culture, I thought they were coming back after they fixed the packaging issues, us home-brewers must be too annoying to deal with. :(

You can not generalize on yeast viability and counts.
There are simple procedures which will verify each question.
With out a microscope and some stains its really a guess.
What you purchase /condition depends very much on the time of the year it was shipped and how long it was over a certain temp.
And how it was stored when it arrived.
Also each strain has a different nature some are much more robust and can handle a less than perfect environment change.
I actually agree with everything you said ... except the first line. ;)
Most home brewers (99.9% in my estimate) do not have access to a microscope, hemocytometer and dyes, so we have no other way to guess at yeast viability other than to generalize and make some educated guesswork. My understanding is that the MrMalty figures were the result of careful cell counting and condition analysis, in addition bad storage, shipping and other factors are only going to make the figures worse. So without access to anything better - from a home brewer perspective - we have nothing else but the generalized educated guesswork researched by somebody else.
 

Bribie G

Adjunct Professor
Joined
9/6/08
Messages
19,838
Reaction score
4,396
Re Wyeast, but appropriate to the thread, I'm not a yeast geek, don't own a stir plate and go on results not calculations and find that every Wyeast pack I've ever used has swollen within 3 days. After inoculating a litre or so of sterile oxygenated 1040 wort and allowed to grow up for 48 hours I get a great fermentation happening.

My latest one is from January 2011 and I also have a robust lager fermentation happening with one from April 2011. I'd guess Whitelabs would offer similar performance.

I have a copy of the Yeast book and can see why the likes of XXXX or Budweiser need to keep their yeast handling and rates spot on, but really for my purposes if it works then why stress. I avoid both extremes of overpitching (i.e the whole yeast cake) or underpitching (pour direct from the pack and hope to see some results in a few days) and have a wall of plaques and a 2 drawers full of the sub-silver entry winners.

Both the above beers are going into comps.

I should say that I used to smoke. I could never understand why anyone would smoke Winnie blues and nothing else their whole life. You would never see me with the same pack twice - Camels, Lucky Strikes, Sobranie Black Russian.............

Same with beer - I have no desire to replicate the same brew over and over an over again, even my "house" wheat gets tweaked and rehopped and jiggled around with from brew to brew, part of the fascination.
However I know there are many brewers who are obsessed with producing absolutely identical Grandfathers Jockstrap Saison every time so maybe they need a yeast calculator.
 

Beerbuoy

Well-Known Member
Joined
27/11/08
Messages
185
Reaction score
4
I buy wyeast online through craftbrewer as they advertise the date of manufacture so I know exactly what I am getting. I have ordered 1056 from them and received the yeast at my door 10 days from manufacture. Can't complain about that. I can't comment on the other retailers posting on this thread as I have not used them but I would not purchase yeast from someone that does not advertise the DOM.
 

mckenry

Brummagem
Joined
31/8/06
Messages
2,347
Reaction score
669
I buy wyeast online through craftbrewer as they advertise the date of manufacture so I know exactly what I am getting. I have ordered 1056 from them and received the yeast at my door 10 days from manufacture. Can't complain about that. I can't comment on the other retailers posting on this thread as I have not used them but I would not purchase yeast from someone that does not advertise the DOM.
I normally buy wyeast for that reason too. The reason I had a whitelabs vial, was because wyeast doesnt do an equivelant to WLP009 Australian Ale (AFAIK)
So, yeah, I revived this thread as I didnt have any hard data to plug into yeastcalc to work out my starter size.
mckenry
 

Latest posts

Top