Out of Date Yeast

Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:58 am

I am preparing to make 2 starters for this weekends brew session with WLP 565. I have 2 vials, one of which is out of date with an expiration date of NOV 11 2012. I am going to use it anyhow seeing as my LHBS threw in the vial for free, but my question is will the yeast perform along the same parameters as the vial of in date yeast? If the starter of the out of date yeast does not ferment in the starter, I'll simply get another vial. But I am wondering as to what I can expect with this out of date yeast if it does go well in the starter. Is the expiration date put on the vial because of some govt. regulation, or is there a very good reason that Chris White puts that on there?
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Re: Out of Date Yeast

Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:20 am

It's more like 'Best by' not 'expires on'. IIRC that's the assumed date that the sample will fall below a certain percentage of viability. That's barely past. If you went to the shop that sells White Labs around here 3 years ago, that would've been several months fresher than anything they were selling. No free vials from it though. I've tried to educate them about brewing, but they're clueless. Hops out on a regular shelf. When the yeast comes in, it sits in the warm back room for who knows how long before it's stocked in a cooler (less than a day would actually surprise me sometimes).

Anyhow, since you're already doing a starter... enjoy. I would highly doubt you'll even notice a difference between that & a fresh vial.
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Re: Out of Date Yeast

Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:41 am

Ozwald wrote:It's more like 'Best by' not 'expires on'. IIRC that's the assumed date that the sample will fall below a certain percentage of viability. That's barely past. If you went to the shop that sells White Labs around here 3 years ago, that would've been several months fresher than anything they were selling. No free vials from it though. I've tried to educate them about brewing, but they're clueless. Hops out on a regular shelf. When the yeast comes in, it sits in the warm back room for who knows how long before it's stocked in a cooler (less than a day would actually surprise me sometimes).

Anyhow, since you're already doing a starter... enjoy. I would highly doubt you'll even notice a difference between that & a fresh vial.



Please, oh PLEASE Ozwald tell me that this "Home Brew" shop has come around since their shitty handling of hops and yeast 3 years ago... :evil:
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Re: Out of Date Yeast

Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:08 pm

Agreed, you'd be dealing with lower viability with the old vial, but if you are propping it up you'll be fine. For stuff way out of date, I'd suggest doing smaller, gentler starters and maybe step it up a time or too.
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Re: Out of Date Yeast

Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:59 am

RLinNH wrote:Please, oh PLEASE Ozwald tell me that this "Home Brew" shop has come around since their shitty handling of hops and yeast 3 years ago... :evil:


It's actually a liquor store with 1 double sided aisle about 20' long. And I've been in there a couple times in the last month or so, hops were still on a warm shelf, the yeast wasn't past date but you could tell by looking at it that it had the shit beat out of it. 99% of my stuff comes through the mail from NB or B3 (don't even get me started on my first and definitely last Brewmaster's Warehouse experience last month), but in a pinch at least they're around. The problem is that if you need yeast in a pinch, you may as well just order online because the stuff you buy from them is still going to require at least 2 starters to bring it back to where I like it. Takes about the same amount of time as waiting for a good vial to show up in the mail & doing a quick starter. I do take a sack of malt off their hands occasionally at about the same cost as having one shipped.

On the plus side, there are some pretty nice guys who work there albeit clueless on the homebrewing front. They just installed a huge humidor - 5 or 6 full size doors. In fact I tried one of those Hopz cigars the last time I was over there. The liquor & wine selection is fantastic, but there's another liquor store a few miles from me instead of driving to the next town for these guys... but if you're already out there :D They were the only store for a couple hundred miles until recently & the new one is so-so, but starting to grow on me. It's a helluva lot closer, pretty decent prices on most stuff but I'm a White Labs fan most of the time & they only do Wyeast - I'd say 001 & 1056 are interchangeable, but I would never call them the same strain, I definitely pick up a slight difference in my own batches & they perform differently at my cool ferm temps. Still better than making a special trip a couple hundred miles east to Billings where there's an absolutely amazing LHBS that really has their shit together. Billings Homebrew Supply is definitely the best LHBS I've ever stepped in, although you tend to be a little nervous about where you leave your car when you go there - not the best neighborhood, but really tame compared to large cities (Billings is our biggest city @ only 100k people).

spiderwrangler wrote:For stuff way out of date, I'd suggest doing smaller, gentler starters and maybe step it up a time or too.


And trust this guy, he really knows how to do it gentle. :lol: But yeah, if you're months and months beyond the best by date, I always recommend starting out with a 1.020 small volume starter before slowly stepping it up to the more typical 1.040 starters. & yeast nutrients are your friend :)
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Re: Out of Date Yeast

Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:41 am

Ozwald wrote:And trust this guy, he really knows how to do it gentle. :lol:

Until I get asked to do it hard... and then I'm going all out.
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Re: Out of Date Yeast

Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:28 am

RLinNH wrote:
Please, oh PLEASE Ozwald tell me that this "Home Brew" shop has come around since their shitty handling of hops and yeast 3 years ago... :evil:


Some hops (EKG pellets) were still on the shelf on Saturday, though most were cold (why some but not all - its almost more frustrating). At least they are going to start lowering prices.
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