Have I been sold a pup?

Share your experiences of using brewing yeast.
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Meatymc
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Have I been sold a pup?

Post by Meatymc » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:55 pm

After much deliberation decided on a Kolsch rather than a Pilsner. Everything bought in including White Labs WLP029. Instructions followed to the letter and sat at 21C in a 1.6L starter (250g light DME). Pack instructions state leave at 21C until Fermentation is taking place (5 to 15 hours) then reduce to required temp - in my case will be 15C.

Well I'm sat here having just brewed the wort and 21 hours into the starter and...........................NOTHING! No activity to be seen a not a single bubble!

Had a look at the yeast sleeve and states manufactured on 13 Aug 2017 - BBD 9th February 2018.

According to 1 calculator (which includes a standrad by C White - any possibility this is C White, CEO and founder of White Labs) my yeast, at that manufacturing date, is, to all intents and purposes, dead to start with.

Do I wait or call it a day and try something else - only local option I now have is S-23?

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orlando
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by orlando » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:24 pm

Wait, you can get quite long lag times, I had a Porter take 48 hours to get going and it turned out to be the best of last year. In a 1.6l starter I would be using 160g of DME, did the yeast instructions really say 250g?
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Black Dog, Equinoxe
Conditioning: St. Petersburg (RIS)
Drinking: Golden Years, Mrs Worthington (White Shield Clone)
Up Next: London Calling, Gertcherbrewed
Planning: Winter drinking beer.

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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by Meatymc » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:18 pm

No - started off at 2L and should have been 225 but dregs from a packet took me to 250g. Boiled for 15 minutes and ended up with just over 1.6L

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Kev888
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by Kev888 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:57 pm

Whitelabs seem to have decided that their purepitch sachets have a longer/better viability than the previous vials, so in theory many of the calculators are behind the times. I have to say that in practice I've got lingering doubts about the true extent of that, though; in terms of lag time vs age at a given starter size, things seem pretty much business as usual for me. IMO their estimates have always seemed a little on the optimistic side, at least for yeast that have travelled all the way over here, and so I'd probably have used a smaller initial starter step at that age. Though it must also be said that I haven't tried WLP029, so this isn't very specific.

But either way, your yeast won't be dead to start with, as you put it; unless you overheated them or something like that. They will just take a little longer to build up.

Also, bubbles and visible activity are not always very good indicators of starter progress; sometimes it can happen before/without you noticing much activity (unlike the main fermentation). The amount of yeast slurry should increase though, or you could measure the gravity, though if you use a hydrometer that will involve much of the starter contents (which you'll want to re-use), so be 'extremely' careful with disinfection.
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by IPA » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:07 am

I have experienced proplems with Whitelab's new packaging. One was completely dead. The old style vials were much better. The real reason for the change was obviously driven by cost. It might help to raise the starter temp a couple of degrees. The fermentation temps that you are following are for the wort and not a starter. With a starter you can safely pitch at up to 28°
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Meatymc
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by Meatymc » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:19 am

Thanks for the feedback guys. I've only ever done 1 previous brew using white labs - that was when they came in a glass vial and didn't have any issues. Might well be over on the DME but everything else is per the pack instructions.

HOWEVER, as Orlando pointed out, another 12 hours in and a good shake of the flask almost results in it foaming over plus the noticeable lightening in colour which shows plenty is now going on. Instructions state to drop to pitching temperature (15C in this case) when active and I had intended pitching today but, given the lag time so far, might hold off and drop tonight with a view to pitching tomorrow night.

Thanks as usual - patience never was my strong point :wink:

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orlando
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by orlando » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:24 am

Meatymc wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:19 am
HOWEVER, as Orlando pointed out, another 12 hours in and a good shake of the flask almost results in it foaming over plus the noticeable lightening in colour which shows plenty is now going on. Instructions state to drop to pitching temperature (15C in this case) when active and I had intended pitching today but, given the lag time so far, might hold off and drop tonight with a view to pitching tomorrow night.

Thanks as usual - patience never was my strong point :wink:
=D> :D
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Black Dog, Equinoxe
Conditioning: St. Petersburg (RIS)
Drinking: Golden Years, Mrs Worthington (White Shield Clone)
Up Next: London Calling, Gertcherbrewed
Planning: Winter drinking beer.

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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by McMullan » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:48 am

If I buy a yeast from White Labs these days, I just use a tiny amount to inoculate a mini starter then step up. Fresher yeast that way :wink: The remainder goes in the bin. I've noticed no benefits to the new packs, as a home brewer. For some reason, I find Wyeast is superior. Maybe it's the little bag of yeast-specific nutrient media they add? I don't ever remember having any starter issues when using Wyeast yeast, even when not smacked.

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Kev888
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by Kev888 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:55 am

I tried splitting the packs into six small vials for a while, which also meant more appropriate inoculation rates than the whole pack. But actually.. the reducing viability of the purepitch sachet means it isn't really all that long before starters (sized for 65L brew lengths) need most of a pack in any case - or else a smaller step. I haven't seen their claimed longer shelf life reflected in practice, with lag times.

I've mostly used whitelabs over the years more or less by accident; it is simply what my usual ingredients supplier stocks. If it is necessary to order yeast separately, then the vials also fitted through the letter box, which can save a lot of hassle. But I've not seen any of the claimed benefits of the purepitch packaging wrt yeast health or shelf life, and I find them less pleasant to use. Now the vials are a thing of the past, possibly wyeast (or at least their packs), may be comparatively attractive these days.
Kev

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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by Meatymc » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:54 pm

Firstly an apology to Orlando - quoted your early post but should have done it this way to give you due credit!
orlando wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:24 pm
Wait, you can get quite long lag times, I had a Porter take 48 hours to get going and it turned out to be the best of last year. In a 1.6l starter I would be using 160g of DME, did the yeast instructions really say 250g?
Only ended up with the White Labs as I decided last minute to do the Kolsch rather than a Pilsner and it's what they had in stock at the shop.

I feel much more paranoid about a liquid yeast starter than with dry yeast although I suppose there should be no difference when dealing with either. Whether I've been dilligent enough will all become clear obviously over the life of this brew. Pitching tonight providing yeast and wort are both at 15C as per recipe I'm following.

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orlando
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by orlando » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:13 pm

Meatymc wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:54 pm
I feel much more paranoid about a liquid yeast starter than with dry yeast although I suppose there should be no difference when dealing with either.
The big difference for me is shelf life. Liquid yeasts deteriorate very quickly compared to dried and once a month old will probably require a starter to get the most out of them. That introduces you to the need for very good aseptic technique. If you have practiced rehydrating dried yeast you have already stepped down that road so nothing to fear, could be viewed as all part of the fun.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Black Dog, Equinoxe
Conditioning: St. Petersburg (RIS)
Drinking: Golden Years, Mrs Worthington (White Shield Clone)
Up Next: London Calling, Gertcherbrewed
Planning: Winter drinking beer.

guypettigrew
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by guypettigrew » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:57 pm

For me, the new Whitelabs sachets are proving more reliable than the old glass vials. One or two of the old glass ones never got going and I lost some beer to infection. Not yet happened with the sachets.

Kev888 reckons the sachets are 'less pleasant to use'. I prefer them. I snip open the outer plastic packaging then take out the inner sachet with the yeast. A quick spray with Starsan then it's opened with scissors and either squeezed directly into the wort or into a starter flask depending on how new it is.

The outer packet can then be written on to show usage date and then subsequent harvesting and usage dates.

Guy

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Kev888
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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by Kev888 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:41 pm

The previous whitelabs packs were (pretty obviously) moulded plastic vials, not glass ones. Are you thinking of something else?

FWIW though, usability is very much a question of personal taste, so each to their own on that one. I admit to preferring the plastic vials over the new sachets myself; they didn't need sterilised tools to open, could be re-sealed if cleaned properly, and were robust enough to be sent individually without much risk (or excessive packaging). For me, they weren't disposable either, since I would keep and re-employ them instead of buying other vials.

But none of that is greatly important and wouldn't matter at all 'if' the effective shelf life had improved, as i'd heard claimed - due to increased health and quality. Unfortunately there seems no outward sign of that in practice, and whilst I've had no adverse problems myself I already know a few experienced users who have found the sachets dead or leaked, so it is hard to see them as an obviously positive move at the moment. Hopefully just teething problems though, since I've no real objection to them if they can eventually bring benefits.
Kev

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Re: Have I been sold a pup?

Post by jaroporter » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:06 pm

guypettigrew wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:57 pm
I snip open the outer plastic packaging then take out the inner sachet with the yeast.
jeez i knew there had to be an easier way.. #-o
dazzled, doused in gin..

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