wyeast smack packs... do I need to "incubate" in a beaker?

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I've purchased kits with wyeast smack packs and have never been instructed
to smack and then pour into a beaker of some kind to allow the yeast to
incubate. I've just smacked the pack, let it swell and pitched it.

Do any of you guys bother to incubate first in another vessel with a little
wort?

Thanks,
JM



Re: wyeast smack packs... do I need to "incubate" in a beaker?


Joe Murphy wrote:
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You are opening a whole can of worms with a question like that.

You can get by with just using your method.....most of the time.  What
you are doing is just bringing the yeast out of a dormant state so it
can start working immediately upon pitching into your wort.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the Wyeast smack packs as
well as the White Labs vials only have about 1/4 the proper amount of
yeast for a 5 gallon batch of beer.  Underpitching like this can bring
about a couple of problems.

First, it that it may lead to excessive lag times.  In other words it
may take up to 48 hours for active fermentation to get underway.  This
gives any other bacteria that may be present to begin working before the
yeast has a chance to get established and prevent the bacteria from
becoming the dominant organism.  Having excellent sanitation procedures
will help  keep this from becoming a problem.

Second, by underpitching the yeast you will be putting the yeast under
stress.  Stressed yeast will produce byproducts that will adversely
affect the flavor of your beer.

As I said, you can get away with this most of the time.  Many people
never make a starter (incubating the yeast is how you put it).  Making a
proper size starter, however, will produce consistently better beer and
cut down the chance for infection.

For a much better discussion on the use of starters check out the
chapter on yeast and starters in www.howtobrew.com or www.mrmalty.com.
Between the two you will learn all you ever need to know about yeast.

Wayne
Bugeater Brewing Company



Re: wyeast smack packs... do I need to "incubate" in a beaker?


Wayne,

Thanks for the input. I just used the smack pack as I normally do and I have
a nice fermentation going already (within 24 hours). I will keep in mind the
advantages of using a yeast starter. Maybe next time to see if it makes a
difference. In my meager two years of brewing, I haven't had a single
infection (knock wood) which I attribute to good sanitation practices.

Thanks again.

JM

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Re: wyeast smack packs... do I need to "incubate" in a beaker?


Joe Murphy wrote:
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Making a starter is more about making good beer than preventing
infection.  Yeast will only reproduce a limited number of times, so to
get a good healthy fermentation you need to start with a large cell
population.  That's what a starter gives you.

    ----------->Denny
--
Life begins at 60...1.060, that is.

Re: wyeast smack packs... do I need to "incubate" in a beaker?



Denny Conn wrote:
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Are you sure about that? If this were the case:
1) How would we have any yeast around today?
2) Wouldn't you be wasting valuable reproduction time by making a
starter?

Scotty B


Re: wyeast smack packs... do I need to "incubate" in a beaker?


Scotty B wrote:
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Optimally, a new yeast cell will/should bud 3 times.  Then the new cells
created from that will/should bud 3 times. etc.  If that wasn't the
case, you'd only need to pitch one cell into your wort!  ;)

    --------->Denny

--
Life begins at 60...1.060, that is.

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