Author Topic: Yeast Viability  (Read 3209 times)

Offline Mtnmangh

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 139
  • All Grain All the Way!
Yeast Viability
« on: September 09, 2013, 04:35:31 PM »
Alright, I know that I'm not the only one who has had this happen.  I live in East Tennessee and the nearest homebrew store that has yeast is almost two hours away.  I hate shipping yeast in the summer.  I ruined an Octoberfest that way one time.  The yeast got too hot and died.  Back to the question.

I have a bottle of Wlp001 I bought about 6 months ago  that has been in the refrigerator since.  Is there any reason I couldn't use it, assuming that I make a starter or two to get the yeast back into "shape" (so to speak).

White labs says it should not be used after it's date BTW.
Drinking: Belgian Golden Strong ale
              Step Up Porter
              Oktoberfest
               Brown IPA

Primary:  Step up Porter

Secondary: nada

Offline MaltLicker

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2004
    • Blue Ribbon Brews
Re: Yeast Viability
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2013, 06:34:19 PM »
Might as well try.  Maybe a small starter of low gravity to get it going, and then double down a couple times. 

The six-months limit is a customer-satisfaction policy by both yeast houses.  They don't want brewers wasting a brew day pitching an old package/vial. 

Brad's calculator in BS2 actually declines at 20% of the remaining live cells per month, so by his math, the package might last eleven months under decent conditions. 

In contrast, White/Wye both simplify to 20% a month flat rate, so completely useless after five months.   That recommendation also generates more sales.   ;)

Offline RiverBrewer

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 194
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Yeast Viability
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2013, 09:31:18 PM »
Like MaltLicker says, step-up starters is the way to go for an ale yeast. I just fermented a 6 month 1056 using a 1500mL starter, step-up to a -> 2500mL starter, and it was fine. I needed my blow out tubes.

I wouldn't buy a lager yeast if older than 3 months, even using step-up starters. Too much time and effort go into producing a fine lager. The yeast is critical and you need more of it! I really don't understand why lager yeasts are not packaged and sold at the 1.5 increased pitch rate. My LHBS never seems to have enough quantity of lager yeast packets for me to buy the strain I want.
Enjoy good beer daily.....Hell is a dry town!

Offline SharpsRifle

  • Beer lover
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 133
  • have another
Re: Yeast Viability
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 01:23:16 AM »
If you make a starter like you said, you will know what you have for sure.
As for shipping yeast, I live a couple hours from any brew store also. Over 2 1/2 to a store with decent yeast selection.
I order through morebeer and have it iced.  I've had one bad yeast package and they offered to express ship a replacement.
It's $40 or $50 plus most of a Saturday if I drive to a brew store.  I can express ship for a lot less if I want it fast.
I like beer
It makes me a jolly good fellow
I like beer
it helps me unwind and some times it makes me feel mellow
I like beer
whiskeys too rough, champagne costs too much and vodka puts my mouth in gear

Offline Mtnmangh

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 139
  • All Grain All the Way!
Re: Yeast Viability
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2013, 08:34:37 PM »
I always ship with ice and the bad batch actually had two ice packs, but TN can be blistering hot in the summer.  I an interesting note I have a buddy (who in addition to being my brew partner) makes cider.  He is making a starter on some high gravity yeast he bought last year and that expired in December,  Believe it or not, the stuff ate his starter like crazy.  I have some harvested Irish Ale yeast from last december and I am interested to give it a try.  I guess we'll see what happens... ;)
Drinking: Belgian Golden Strong ale
              Step Up Porter
              Oktoberfest
               Brown IPA

Primary:  Step up Porter

Secondary: nada

Offline grathan

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 734
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Yeast Viability
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 05:40:19 AM »
That's one neat thing about the wyeast smack packs. You can get a rough idea of how viable your yeast is long before you even make a starter or brew day.

Offline Scott Ickes

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1281
  • Brewing creatively and sharing the results!
Re: Yeast Viability
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 11:33:01 AM »
I've had wyeast smack packs that didn't swell up and still worked just fine.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com