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"Smack Pack" question....

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by nlthompson2, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. nlthompson2

    nlthompson2 Zealot (85) Indiana Jun 19, 2010

    I just brewed a 5 gallon batch of an Imperial IPA and totally forgot to smack the packs three hours before they were needed.

    Do I need to wait the full 3 hours before I add the yeast? If so, should I just let the wort sit for that long in the boil pot or should I transfer it to my fermenter and let it sit?

    They have been smacked and my wort is currently sitting at 75 degrees or so in the boiling pot.
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    No, you don't have to wait for 3 hours (or any specific amount of time), but get that wort down into the mid to high 60's before pitching your yeast. Also, one smackpack (even if fresh) isn't really enough yeast for a IIPA. It will make beer, but it won't be ideal. Recommend taking a look at Mr. Malty for information on making a yeast starter for future brews...

  3. nlthompson2

    nlthompson2 Zealot (85) Indiana Jun 19, 2010

    I have 2 smack packs ready to go. That's what my HBS recommended anyways.

    And as far as temperature, I ran out of ice :( I REALLY need to get a wort chiller.
  4. LikeHelles

    LikeHelles Aficionado (110) Texas Mar 21, 2012

    Ugghh... been there!
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    Can you fit the boil pot in your fridge or a freezer? I would do that until the temp comes down, rather than pitch the yeast into too warm wort.

    Does the pot have 5 gallons of wort? Or is it a partial boil that will be topped off with water? If the latter, topping off with water as cold as you can get it may do the trick.
  6. nlthompson2

    nlthompson2 Zealot (85) Indiana Jun 19, 2010

    It has 5 gallons of wort. I will try to fit it in my fridge for a little bit to get it down to a good pitching temperature.

  7. spointon

    spointon Advocate (615) Illinois Nov 25, 2007

    Just out of curiosity, your post seems to indicate that smacking a Wyeast smack pack 3 hours before pitching is adequate and/or standard. It is perfectly fine and (in my humble opinion) advisable to smack them at least 12 hours ahead of time and even 24 hours ahead of time is not out of line. I have learned that the yeast inside that pack doesn't have the power to rupture the outer package on its own, thus I like to let the packs fully inflate before pitching, especially if I am direct pitching (i.e. not making a starter).
  8. The benefit of the smack pack is that you're pitching metabolically active yeast (ie the yeast are woken up). If you smack 24 hours ahead of time, I think you're at least partially defeating the purpose of smack pack.
  9. The other benefit of smacking the pack is that you confirm that the yeast is viable (i.e., the yeast was not ‘killed off’ in transport or storage). While it is absolutely not required that you smack the pack I always do it for:

    · The swelling of the pack provides me with peace of mind

    · I prefer to pitch active yeast

  10. You would be fine to pitch the yeast at 75. A wort chiller is an amazing investment. It takes 30-45 minutes off your brew day and allows you to chill full wort boils.
  11. Destral

    Destral Savant (375) Nevada Oct 20, 2009

    Sounds like your HBS suckered you into spending twice as much as you needed on smack packs. Definitely look into making your own yeast starters. It'll save you quite a bit of $ in the future.
  12. spointon

    spointon Advocate (615) Illinois Nov 25, 2007

    The environment inside that smack pack is like a little batch of beer. When you smack the pack and release the nutrient, there is going to be a little bit of a lag phase as the yeast warms up, discovers food, and starts to eat. As the yeast eats, its produces CO2, thus swelling the smack pack. Pitching a smack pack that is not all the way inflated will work (hell you can pitch it without even smacking it if you want), but I feel it is better to let it do its thing and fully inflate that pack. That indicates to me that the yeast is very healthy and viable. If I were to take the pack out of my fridge, smack it, and then check on it a mere 3 hours later, for most yeast strains I use it will only be slightly swollen. That is why I prefer waiting 12+ hours...
  13. midworken

    midworken Aficionado (215) Nebraska Sep 20, 2009

    If I remember right, the packet even says to smack up to several days before brew day, it should be smacked atleast 3 hours before brewing. You're safe with 12+ hours beforehand. I wonder, however, if the pressure builds up too much, if some of the yeast are no longer viable. This would be my only concern.
    spointon likes this.
  14. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (820) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    Non-issue. There's very little in the nutrient pack, so the CO2 production will hit a wall pretty quickly.
    spointon likes this.