On brew day we activated the Smack Pack and it was sitting outside with us (in the shade) on a nice warm 80 degree day in southern California. The temperature was just right for this yeast to warm up and thrive. About 4 hours had passed and nothing had happened, the pack did not swell at all. It appeared to be completely dead! This yeast was manufactured 4 months prior to us using it (which is still well within the lifespan of this yeast).
We decided to pitch the yeast anyway after reading some reviews online about other brewers using the Wyeast 3787 and it being a slow starting yeast.
24 hours later we checked on the beer, and there was no activity. The yeast had all settled to the bottom of the fermenter and appeared to be officially dead.
(If you are wondering that that brown fuzzy thing is… the glass carboy is wrapped in a blanket to protect it from the light)
So we got ourselves a couple new packets of the same yeast from our local homebrew shop. These were manufactured just 2 month prior to us activating them. So we activated them, and a couple hours had past and there was little to no swelling happening in these new packs! We decided to put them under some heat lamps because our house was a little cold that day (about 68 degrees) to see if a little extra warmth would help get them going. After about an hour under some soft heat they started slightly expanding. We kept them warm for a couple more hours and they only expanded to about half full, and it was getting late so we decided to pitch the yeast into the fermenters on top of the dead yeast at that point.
It took about 16 hours from the second yeast pitching to see some activity from the fermenters. The airlocks started bubbling slowly (about 1 bubble every couple second).
36 Hours later we go back to check on the fermenters and this yeast went crazy! It had foamed up so much, it clogged the airlock on the carboy and blew it off. The airlock on the SS Brew Bucket didn’t make nearly as much of a mess as the carboy, which was nice. Most of the over flow from the SS Brewing Technologies Brew Bucket just sat up in the top of the lid.
After getting this all cleaned up, the foam had pretty much settled down and fermentation was winding down that evening. So just a word of warning to all that are using this yeast, it may be slow to start, but it goes crazy a day or two later.
We highly recommend using a blow-off setup for your fermenters when using Wyeast 3787!