First Time Using a WYeast Smack Pack -HELP

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

Moderator: slothrob

First Time Using a WYeast Smack Pack -HELP

Postby BelleroseBeerGuy » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:50 pm

I am getting ready to make a clone of a Harpoon IPA. The recipe calls for a WYeast American Ale II 1272. The directions on the smack pack say I can use it roughly 3 hours after activating. I have read where some people have let it activate for a couple of days. Also is there anything else I need besides the smack pack. This is the first time I have used a liquid yeast. I have only used dry yeast to this point. This will be the fourth batch of beer that I have brewed. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks
Don
BelleroseBeerGuy
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:59 pm
Location: Bellerose, NY

Postby jawbox » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:22 am

take it out of the fridge and let it raise to room temperature before smacking it. People that start it a few days before are more than likely making a starter to increase their cell count.

Check out the yeast calculator at http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html
PowerMac G4 933 Mhz, 1GB Ram, 17" Studio Display, Mac OSX 10.3.9
MacBook 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB Ram, Mac OSX 10.6.2
IMac 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB Ram, Mac OSX 10.6.2
IPhone 5
IPad 2
I like macs ;)
User avatar
jawbox
Imperial Stout
Imperial Stout
 
Posts: 511
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:43 pm
Location: W. Dundee

Postby BelleroseBeerGuy » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:51 am

Is there any advantage to making a starter and increasing the cell count of the yeast? I need a better understanding of why I would do this process. Also if there is an advantage to using a starter, what is the starter? How do I mix it with the smack pack? Thanks for your help
Don
BelleroseBeerGuy
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:59 pm
Location: Bellerose, NY

Starters are advantageous

Postby billvelek » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:04 am

BelleroseBeerGuy wrote:Is there any advantage to making a starter and increasing the cell count of the yeast? I need a better understanding of why I would do this process. Also if there is an advantage to using a starter, what is the starter? How do I mix it with the smack pack? Thanks for your help
Don
Yes, there is a BIG advantage, and in most cases it is a virtual necessity if starting with a 'smack pack'. The advantage is in having enough healthy yeast to bring your wort to high krauesen as soon as possible; you want your yeast to gain the upper hand over competing bacteria as quickly as possible. The yeast eat the sugars that bacteria also eat, and the alcohol is toxic to the bacteria -- the more alcohol the worse for bacteria. NOTE: I am not saying that the alcohol level in beer will ever be enough to kill bacteria; it won't, which is why you can get an infection even when bottling. It just helps.

You also want enough healthy yeast to be able to complete the fermentation process before they 'peter-out'; this is especially important in high gravity beers because ... 1. they have more sugar to ferment and ... 2. as the alcohol level increases in the beer, it begins to cause stress on the yeast.

Let me direct you to http://www.mrmalty.com/pitching.php where you can get a lot more info than I currently have time to explain. His website also has a pitching rate 'calculator'.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
Visit www.tinyurl.com/bvelek - portal to my brewing sites: 3,100+ members on 'Grow-Hops', and 1,350+ brewers on my 'BrewingEquip' group.
Running BTP v1.5.3 on WinXP 2005 SP3 w/AMD Athlon 64@3800+, 1GigRam, Res 1024x768
User avatar
billvelek
Imperial Stout
Imperial Stout
 
Posts: 801
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2004 10:44 am
Location: Arkansas, USA

Postby slothrob » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:07 am

Ideally, you want about 175x10e9 cells to ferment 5 gallons of a 1.050 beer. A smack pack or vial of yeast contains about 100x10e9 cells. Growing the yeast for a couple days in 1.035-1.040 wort can get you to those numbers.

If you pitch 100x10e9 cells in 1.5 liters of 1.035 wort, you'll max out around 1.75x10e9 cells.
If you shake the wort every couple hours or so, you'll only need about 1 liter to get that same cell number.

Too few cells is primarily responsible for high ester formation, but it can also lead to a fermentation ending before it's finished, or proceeding slowly, due to the yeast needing more oxygen than they can get from the initial oxygenation. The last is more a problem with higher gravity beers, as a rule.

The number of cells in a smack pack is sufficient for small beers, like an Ordinary Bitter, that have an OG around 1.035. Even in that case, a starter can be advantageous as you know that you have enough healthy yeast and aren't relying on their quality after shipping and sitting in a homebrew shop's fridge.
Last edited by slothrob on Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BTP v2.0.* Windows XP
User avatar
slothrob
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1769
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:36 pm
Location: Greater Boston

Postby BelleroseBeerGuy » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:33 pm

Gentleman and Ladies,
I have read the posting to my latest questions in regards to starters. I have also looked at the links provided and have some additional questions.

1) I have one smack pack with 100 billion yeast cells, do I need another smack pack of the same size? From what I have read this will increase by 50% once it is mixed with the starter.

2) The mr malty website indicates that you want to use approximately 6oz of DME to 2qts of water and two 100billion cell smack packs. According to my calculations I would need an Erlenmeyer flask of at least 2000 ml in order to make my starter. Is this a good size and does it leave enough space in the flask for oxygen and activating the yeast?

3) Does it make sense to buy a 5000ml flask instead of the 2000ml?

4) I assume the DME I want to use wants to be the same type that I am using in the recipe, in this case it is a Light DME? Also I assume the amount of DME in the starter is in addition to the amount of DME usd in the recipe itself?

5) What is the nutrient that you are adding to the wort? Do you have an opinion as to particular nutrient and how much?

6) Once you pitch the yeast into the starter do you cover it with the tin foil again? Does it get a stopper that fits the flask? Does it get an airlock? I read something about a breathable stopper?

As you can see I'm new to all of this and would like to get it right. Thank you for your time and patience with a new home brewer just trying to learn and become better at this craft.
Don
BelleroseBeerGuy
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:59 pm
Location: Bellerose, NY

Starter

Postby slothrob » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:50 pm

1) You don't need 2 packs or a starter, but the beer may be better. 2 packs would be better than 1 pack, but a starter would be better than 2 packs.

2&3) You can get away with a 2 liter flask for most normal sized beers. I use a 1 gallon wine bottle that only cost about $8 with the wine included. I can't heat it on the stove, so I cook the starter wort in a small pan, cool it, and pour it into the sanitized gallon jug. Then I cover the top with some sanitized tin-foil and swirl it every time I walk by.

A 5 liter flask will cover a broader range of beer sizes, and you would need something about that big if you ever wanted to make a Lager, but they're pretty expensive. Those big flasks are awfully fragile, and the gallon jug is a lot cheaper to replace.

4) Any DME is fine. Light is better if you add the starter wort to the beer, but many of us make the starter about 3-7 days before brewing. We let the starter ferment for about 2 days, then stick it in the fridge. The yeast drops out in the cold. Then, on brew day, we pour off as much of the starter wort as possible without losing yeast, swirl the remaining liquid and yeast into suspension, and add that to the beer.

5) You can buy yeast nutrient. I don't use it, so I can't recommend one.

6) The breathable stoppers are great. Foil will work just fine. An airlock will prevent oxygen from getting in, so don't use an airlock. You definitely want to cover it after you pitch the yeast, though.

Another way to avoid making a starter is to use dried yeast, as long as you don't need a specific liquid yeast for a specific beer style. US-05 and S-04 are both good dry yeast with enough yeast in 1 pack to safely ferment 5 gallons of most beers.
BTP v2.0.* Windows XP
User avatar
slothrob
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1769
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 1:36 pm
Location: Greater Boston


Return to Techniques, Methods, Tips & How To

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron