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Wyeast Smack Pack Prob?

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Jez

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Hi,

I recently purchased some Wyeast - 1084 Irish Ale and 2124 Bohemian Lager - to have a go at making some starters and spilting them for future brews. They were in the new blue packs.

Last Sunday I took the 2124 from the fridge, let it get to room temp, felt around the pack for the bubble of nutrients, smacked it & left the pack on top of the fridge to swell.

Over the next few days the pack swelled about an inch and a half on the bottom but that was all. As it was now bigger than the 1084 I still had in the fridge I thought all was well.

Today (Sat - 6 days after smacking) I decided to pitch it into a starter of 1.5 litres of cooled boiled wert made with a third of a cup of light DME (thanks Batz for the instructions ;) ). After steralizing everything in sight I cut open the pack to discover the nutrient bag inside looked to be still intact & unbroken. I cut it open, poured it & the rest of the pack into the wert which was in a 2litre coke bottle, shook the bejeezus out of it & screwed on the lid with an airlock on it.

Will it be okay even though it has effectively only been "smacked" now? Is it possible for the pack to swell even when not smacked?

Thanks

Jez
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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I have noticed one or two of the Activator packs swell a bit even in the fridge. Your starter will be alright, just aerate well and often.

Jovial Monk
 

Weizguy

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Jez,
Maybe you barely punctured the malt/nutrient bag and therefore got a small response from the yeast. Hence the limited amount of CO2/ swelling of the pack.
As long as the yeast ferments in the 2l bottle, it should be fine. I would definitely taste the culture before using it further, to eliminate the possibility of contamination by wild yeast, acetobacter, lactobacillus etc.
If the culture tastes clean, go for it.
I have found 2124 to be quite nice, and sometimes a little fruity.
Seth
 

Jez

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Thanks Guys.

Another question though - possibly a dumb one.

When I taste it, what should it taste like? Neutral? If it tastes like anything else toss it?

Thanks

Jez (the obvious liquid yeast newbie)
 

Weizguy

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Jez,

I tell people at my work that there is no such thing as a dumb question. All questions are legitimate. Otherwise you wouldn't ask, would U?

I would say to look for any obvious off taste(s), such as vinegar (acetobacter) or lactic sourness (think of yoghurt), or phenolic flavours (wild yeast), or anything that tastes un-beerlike (for lack of a better term). Slight fruitiness may be OK, and may be normal. I have brewed a lager with this yeast at too high a temp and ended up with pineapple flavour. This is also a natural by-product of normal fermentation (albeit at the wrong temp). I often hop my yeast starters, as it helps me to determine if the flavour is like beer, or otherwise.
Without added hop, it will taste slightly malty, but otherwise clean, but hopefully not too close to a commercial beer (bland).
Seth
 

Jez

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well, it's been 8 days and there still seems to be no activity in my 2litre coke bottle wyeast starter. I'll try to post a pic of what it looks like tonight. There is about 1cm of clear liquid at the top then gets milkier as you go down until you can see about 1cm of thick grey goo collected at the bottom of the bottle.

for the first 3 days it was in the bottle I forgot about Monk's advice to aerate often so it just sat there. then I gave it a gentle swirl to stir it everytime I walk past it. since this didn't seem to do anything for the past 3 days I have changed my technique to shaking the crap out of it everytime I walk past it - develops a 2 cm foam on the top for about 2 minutes then disappears.

Have I wrecked the starter? Should my shaking have been less violent & more of a gentle stir? does it matter?

I'm thinking of chucking this one out & having another go with the 1084, correctly smacked this time ;) or is there a chance I should give it a bit longer........

Thanks

Jez
 

Darren

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Jez,
Simply, pour off the fluid in your starter and then add some more boiled/cooled wort to the starter. Chances are you missed seeing the ferment the first time.
cheers
Darren
 

Ross

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Jez,

Darren is right - the grey goo as you call it is the dead yeast from the ferment - must have gone so quick you missed it... just add to some more wort & keep watch...
 

Jez

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thanks for the info guys....so I should stop shaking the hell out of it then? :rolleyes:

BTW - when you say pour off the fluid, how much do I pour off? half of it? and just top it up to the same level with the new boiled, cooled wort on top of the dead yeast?

Jez
 

Corey

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Just to clarify, the yeast isn't dead, it's dormant.

Tip almost all of the liquid off, whilst minimising the amount of yeast lost. Then, as the others have said, add a fresh starter.
 

cubbie

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Took me more than a few shot to pop the smackpac, in the same blue packs. In fact I had to got for a double team approach to get the job done.

Also I aerated before adding the yeast, do I need to shake again now that the yeast is in.
 

Jez

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I had the new blue pack too. my first time smacking wyeast & didn't read the instructions properly when I smacked - put myself behind the 8-ball from the beginning.

I'll add some new wort & cross my fingers.

Thanks again,

Jez
 

Jez

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another quick question - is it bad news for the yeast for me to shake the hell out of them? should I just be giving them a gentle swirl to wake them up or does it not matter?

Jez
 

cubbie

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If the fermentation is up and running or just stalled I think a gentle rouse should do. You do not need to aerate the work again.

But in answer to your question will it demage the yeast, not sure.

Do you give it a initial shake with or without the yeast added? Someone will have to pick me up here.
 

Ross

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plenty of air is good - I shake the billyo out of mine to get it going...
 

Jez

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Hi,

Last night I re-visited my poor Wyeast starter. I carefully tipped out the old wort trying not to unsettle the yeast gathered on the bottom too much & poured in another 1.5 litres of new boiled cooled wort. Gave it a shake, replaced the airlock & went to bed.

This morning when I checked there was some foam on top, about 2-3mm. This means the yeast is ok right? or at least not dead - infection is another matter :D

I see from Batz instructions he steps up a few times to about 3-4 litres. I don't have a vessel big enough too hold 3-4L. Should it be ok to halve my 1.5L starter into two 2L juice bottles & step it up maybe once more in each bottle - then divide that into 6 smaller starters & store in fridge?

Jez
 

johnno

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Hi Jez,
there are many ways to go about it depending on how many times you want to divide it.
I usually just make about a litre and a half and divide that 6 or 7 times once it has fermented out.
I normally use 600 ml pet bottles. I find that this is good value for me if I get that many brews from one smack pack.

cheers
johnno
 

Gulf Brewery

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Jez

You don't need a lot of yeast stored off into bottles. Even a small amount the size of a matchhead can make a very good starter.

If you are not going to pitch the yeast, then what you have now will be plenty to store off. Wait until it ferments out, then pour off the top 1/2, gently swirl the bottle to stir up the yeast (you only want the yeast on top, not all of the crud at the bottom as well, and pour into bottles for storage.

If you want to pitch the yeast, then split it into two lots of 1.5 litres. 1.5 litres is enough for a 20 litre batch of ale (more is needed for lagers).

Cheers
Pedro
 

Jez

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yup, yeasties sure are tough little buggers.

got home to find there was no longer any foam on top but a gentle swirl foams it up a treat.

can't wait to pitch some of it into mynext brew.......

thanks for all the advice everyone.

Jez
 

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