Jump to content
Mr.Beer Community
Sign in to follow this  
Rstanley4

Smack pack not swelling?

Recommended Posts

So I smacked my 3787 Wyeast pack yesterday evening to have ready for this evening. I've never used this type of yeast before but from the instructions and the what I've heard is that it's supposed to swell to indicate it's ready. Problem is, it hasn't swelled, like at all.. Still looks the same as before I smacked it.

Is this yeast pack a dud? Or is it okay to use? I do have another pack of the 3787 in the fridge (where I've been storing them for a week now) but I planned on using it for another recipe later this week. :dry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you sure you broke the bubble inside? It can be tricky sometimes. Feel around for it, carefully slide it up and to a corner, then smack the sucker good. If it breaks, you will no longer be able to feel it. Was this yeast shipped to you? I don't order liquid yeast in the summer. No telling what damage can occur due to heat exposure. The few times I have used the smack-paks, they have swelled within three hours or so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I'm pretty sure it's been broken, I felt around on the other one to make sure what I smacked was the right thing. I tried feeling around all over it to make sure, and I even went back and smacked all over the damn packet to make sure lol. Yes I did order it online, through Mr. Beer actually. I normally order from my LHBS which only takes a day to get to me and ships with an ice pack. So weather may have been a factor here :(

I will go back and beat it on some more and triple check that I did in fact break the nutrient pack inside.. but I'm kinda feeling it might be a goner..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This seems to be a common story. Yeast shipped during warm weather and arrives dead or dying. I just did a batch Friday morning. I smacked the yeast pack at around 11pm and it was very swollen in a couple of hours and ready to burst the next morning.

11pm
2012-08-2321-56-18278-M.jpg


6am
2012-08-2406-49-24752-M.jpg

You might be able to salvage the yeast if you make a starter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I left the smack pack on the kitchen counter sense my last post (haven't had the time to make a starter) and when I got home from work yesterday, low and behold the pack was swelled up about half way. Not quite like your last picture KokoSam, but about half of that, maybe a little more.

Maybe there was a lag caused due to the temperature during shipping? Well I went ahead and made a starter anyway (my first ever) as precaution. I followed some directions I found to making a 1L starter. I didn't have a flask or anything yet, but I did have a pretty big mason jar. As of this morning before work, it appeared to have zero activity going on. It's been about 8 hours as of now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give it some more time... I'll bet you will see some magic in another 4-8 hours...

RDWHABA. :cheers:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How big of a factor is it to keep stirring/shaking the starter? I was only able to give it a good shake and stir last night before bed and once again this morning. The directions read to stir/shake every so often, but I work long shifts (10 hours), so my question is just how important is to keep it aerated? Will it still take off, but just a little bit slower? I know this is what stir plates are for, and I may eventually invest into one, but for the time being I am without.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had this problem with 1 smack pack when it was shipped during the high heat this summer. I ended up making a starter, and it took nearly two days to see any activity. The activity was very minimal as well. I could have stepped it up and used it, but I ended tossing it and buying a new one. The batch I was doing was an expensive one, and I didn't want to risk having a bad batch.

I'd recommend using this smack pack, stepping it up if needed, unless you're making an expensive batch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's safe to say if it hasn't swelled by now they are weak or dead.
It usually only takes a couple hours to see the swelling, two days is really pushing it.
I never stir them up aside from the initial time when I smack em.

If you still want to test it out make a yeast starter, but it sounds like you need new yeast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You really can’t shake that thing enough. If you are letting the starter sit for 10 hours you are not keeping the yeast in suspension and they won’t do much sitting on the bottom of the mason jar plus they are going to get starved for O2 which causes more stress on the yeast. You are going to get better results and better cell health with a stir plate as I am sure you are already aware.

Also as far as the swelling, I have had a smack pack not swell all the way, I pitched directly, and the only problem I had was massive blow off from the yeast party in my bucket. I believe it says right on the package that it may not inflate fully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The more it's shaken or the longer a time it spends on the stir plate the more oxygen is availble to promote cell growth. The more that is available, the more yeast cells will grow and be available to pitch later.

You will still be increasing your pitch rate, just not as effectivly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"drgnfli00" post=282164 said:

You really can’t shake that thing enough. If you are letting the starter sit for 10 hours you are not keeping the yeast in suspension and they won’t do much sitting on the bottom of the mason jar plus they are going to get starved for O2 which causes more stress on the yeast. You are going to get better results and better cell health with a stir plate as I am sure you are already aware.

Also as far as the swelling, I have had a smack pack not swell all the way, I pitched directly, and the only problem I had was massive blow off from the yeast party in my bucket. I believe it says right on the package that it may not inflate fully.

I am aware that it needs oxygen to promote growth which is kinda my worry. I did not seal the mason jar up completely if this makes a difference. What I did was place a sanatized peice of aluminum foil loosely on the lid to allow air in, and shake/slosh it around when I had a chance. I'm doing my best to save it in hopes that it's not dead.

The pack did swell up, half way or so, but it was TWO days later. I thought about going forth and brewing and pitching it, but I didn't wanna take a chance of ruining this batch. So I went ahead and made a starter as a precaution. I'm going to give it till later tonight to see if anything is happening before I dump it :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do a search on smack pack not swelling or my fermentation hasn’t started and you will find pages and pages of people asking the same question. Ultimately, most of the time the worry was for nothing. Packs that don’t swell up all the way still ferment fine, and people perving fermentation often find that sometimes it takes longer than a few hours to get an active fermentation going. Some times 48+ hours.

Bottom line is many brewers worry way too much. As a new brewer I still share in that experience.

Just check MrMalty to ensure you are pitching the correct amount of yeast. I don’t know if you said what your target OG was, but if it is going to be high as might be interpreted from your choice of yeast, you may want to pitch your other yeast pack in addition to your starter.

http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I went and dumped my first starter due no activity, like zero, and smacked my other pack a couple days later. Well, the samething happened to this one, no swelling at all the first 36 hours. Was just planning on reordering a couple more 3787s from AHS and having it shipped with a icepack because they are close to me.

BUT I came home yesterday from the beach for labor day and the pack was swelled up about to pop! So despite being sunburnt to hell ( :banana: ) and not any mood to brew, I went ahead and got everything together cause I was excited the yeast pack was ready lol. And I should've followed my gut and waited a day.. I had my first big brewing disaster ever :(

Everything went fine to start, steeped 4oz each of Carapils & Crystal 90L for 30 mins.. brought to boil and added a lb of D-180 dark candi syrup, coriander, and UME and HME.. Set in ice bath while I got the LBK ready with 1 gallon of cold water. Here's where everything went downhill, as I got ready to dump the wort into the LBK, my friend called my name and I looked away for a second.. In doing so I dumped probabaly a 1/4 or more of the pot down the side of the LBK ALL OVER my kitchen counter, which ran onto the floor, which in turn dripped on my feet.. NOOOOOOO!! (Luke Skywalker voice) I tried to desprately pour the rest of the wort into the LBK and still managed to spill a little more all over the damn place. All in all, I probably got somewhere between 1/2 and less than 3/4 of the wort into my LBK. Man I was pissed! First time I had ever not done this over my sink and I managed to make a HUGE sticky mess. Took me an hour to get everything cleaned up and unsticky. Unsure of how much volume I had lost with the spillage I was unsure if I should've made the difference up in water in the LBK, but I chose to only add less than a half gallon to keep it from becomming too 'watery'. I ended up with less than 2 gallons (not by much). Didn't even bother taking a OG reading, was too pissed off.

TL;DR Made first big brewing mistake, huge sticky mess, pissed off, may have unintentionally ruined a potentially great beer.

P.S. I see a funnel purchase in my future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bummer!!! But there are those that have, and those that will. You probably should have refrained from adding water, to make up for what was spilled. That's going to be a light beer, for sure. Now pull out your "things that can go wrong while brewing" checklist, and mark that one off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"packerduf" post=283558 said:

Bummer!!! But there are those that have, and those that will. You probably should have refrained from adding water, to make up for what was spilled. That's going to be a light beer, for sure. Now pull out your "things that can go wrong while brewing" checklist, and mark that one off.

Yea I tried not to add too much water, I said less than half a gallon, but it was more like a quart give or take just a little bit.

EDIT: If memory serves me correctly, I was still about a 1/2 half or so (close to I think) below the 8.5L mark.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting thread.  So far after using Wyeast smack packs, I've had a couple duds as well -- 1214 (Belgian strain) and Czech Pils both required a follow-on pitch of Fermentis to safeguard against a failed fermentation.  Both packs were near the end of their 6 month shelf life though so that could have been the issue.  The cynic in me wonders if this is why everyone recommends making a starter, even though 100 billion cells should be more than enough for a high OG 2-3 gallon batch.  Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

Interesting thread.  So far after using Wyeast smack packs, I've had a couple duds as well -- 1214 (Belgian strain) and Czech Pils both required a follow-on pitch of Fermentis to safeguard against a failed fermentation.  Both packs were near the end of their 6 month shelf life though so that could have been the issue.  The cynic in me wonders if this is why everyone recommends making a starter, even though 100 billion cells should be more than enough for a high OG 2-3 gallon batch.  Thoughts?

Yeast health, not quantity right? Thats why I tend to make a starter if the yeast is getting older.

 

however, I know the time and energy these companies put into the research of how to package their product and they want to say they are superior. Thats why I also have no problem chucking it in straight if I just dont feel like making a starter. 
 

having a dud is one thing, but ive had batches that just dont finish out. Especially on lagers. Ive had two that are a tad sweeter than I expected and Im guessing its because of yeast that got tired. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Creeps McLane said:

Yeast health, not quantity right? Thats why I tend to make a starter if the yeast is getting older.

 

however, I know the time and energy these companies put into the research of how to package their product and they want to say they are superior. Thats why I also have no problem chucking it in straight if I just dont feel like making a starter. 
 

having a dud is one thing, but ive had batches that just dont finish out. Especially on lagers. Ive had two that are a tad sweeter than I expected and Im guessing its because of yeast that got tired. 

Good point - yeast health is essential.  But since posting this morning, I've read of guys letting their yeast packs sit for days until they swell.  It would be hard to plan a brew day with that kind of variable.

 

Ditto on under-attenuated batches as Wyeast 1007 (German Ale) left me with a FG of 1.021 just yesterday.  Apparently I need more practice with smack packs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Bonsai & Brew said:

Good point - yeast health is essential.  But since posting this morning, I've read of guys letting their yeast packs sit for days until they swell.  It would be hard to plan a brew day with that kind of variable.

 

Ditto on under-attenuated batches as Wyeast 1007 (German Ale) left me with a FG of 1.021 just yesterday.  Apparently I need more practice with smack packs.

i have e-mailed omega several times and they are great about getting right back to you if i'm not sure if i should make a starter or not.  i usually make a starter for liquid yeast because i'm usually brewing 7% abv or so. been using dry yeast lately b/c i've been lazy.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Jdub said:

i have e-mailed omega several times and they are great about getting right back to you if i'm not sure if i should make a starter or not.  i usually make a starter for liquid yeast because i'm usually brewing 7% abv or so. been using dry yeast lately b/c i've been lazy.

Yup, same here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I take my Wyeast 1007 out and smack it before starting my strike and its normally tightened up by the time I've cooled to pitch temps, but regardless I toss it in. I've had one failure and I suspect, it was because I had the great idea to pour it into the fermenter and then pump the wort on top to mix it. However, just as I was pouring it in I saw some Star San in the cone of the Brew Bucket that might have killed the yeast. I waited and ended up pitching dry yeast.

 

 Now I just order a spare in case it's needed. That 1007 will do a great job on Pale Ales too! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On Sunday, April 12, 2020 at 10:33 AM, Bonsai & Brew said:

Interesting thread.  So far after using Wyeast smack packs, I've had a couple duds as well -- 1214 (Belgian strain) and Czech Pils both required a follow-on pitch of Fermentis to safeguard against a failed fermentation.  Both packs were near the end of their 6 month shelf life though so that could have been the issue.  The cynic in me wonders if this is why everyone recommends making a starter, even though 100 billion cells should be more than enough for a high OG 2-3 gallon batch.  Thoughts?

I have had nothing but crap Wyeast smack packs. All of them well within their best viability dates. I've got two different local stores. I get better results from White Labs, Imperial, Omega or dry. If I can make a starter, I will.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, D Kristof said:

I have had nothing but crap Wyeast smack packs. All of them well within their best viability dates. I've got two different local stores. I get better results from White Labs, Imperial, Omega or dry. If I can make a starter, I will.

Wow.  I wish I could say glad it's not just me.  Thing is, if I had to worry about a profit margin with my homebrewing, having to pitch backup yeast every other 2-gallon batch of beer would certainly blow it.  Anyway, with a couple more Belgian-strain smack packs on order, I'm not ready to give up on Wyeast just yet.  Thank goodness for Mangrove Jack's and Fermentis though.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/16/2020 at 9:53 PM, D Kristof said:

I have had nothing but crap Wyeast smack packs. All of them well within their best viability dates. I've got two different local stores. I get better results from White Labs, Imperial, Omega or dry. If I can make a starter, I will.

I've had pretty good luck with them but have only ever used their 1007 for my Alts. My supplier sends them with a freeze pack. I had one dud that arrived warm but the others have been fine.

I have 2 in the fridge now, both 1007 and will use one for an Alt and the other for a Wit.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/17/2020 at 5:41 AM, Bonsai & Brew said:

Wow.  I wish I could say glad it's not just me.  Thing is, if I had to worry about a profit margin with my homebrewing, having to pitch backup yeast every other 2-gallon batch of beer would certainly blow it.  Anyway, with a couple more Belgian-strain smack packs on order, I'm not ready to give up on Wyeast just yet.  Thank goodness for Mangrove Jack's and Fermentis though.

@Bonsai & Brew I've become a big fan of Mangrove Jack especially their M44 West Coast yeast. Fermentis has always been reliable and I can't leave out Nottingham, which has always been a great performer.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm brewing Farro Grande Grisette and giving a little love to Wyeast 3711 French Saison yeast [07APR2020].

 

image.jpeg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...