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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Do starters have to show surface activity?
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:54 PM   #1
mendlodc
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Default Do starters have to show surface activity?

I have an English Ale WLP005 yeast that I made a starter for yesterday morning.

Do I need to be seeing surface activity or if a nice sediment is forming on the bottom is that "good enough" indicationI have a good starter?

When I swirl, I get bubbles, but other than that, there just isn't much happening on the surface.

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Old 10-18-2007, 09:58 PM   #2
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The sediment layer on the bottom is a good indication. Every starter I have ever made has showed little surface activitiy, and every starter I make is fermenting 5 gallons of beer in less than 6 hours.

I don't decant off the excess liquid, and I just pitch the whole thing.

Your starter is fine.

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Old 10-18-2007, 10:06 PM   #3
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Yeah, I kind of think it's fine too, but this vile is about a month passed the "good by date" so that had me a bit worried.

Also, it smelled a bit more sour / acidic to to me than usual when I pitched the vial into the starter - but after researching that topic a bit, I'm not so concerned about that anymore.

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Old 10-18-2007, 10:21 PM   #4
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Mine actually have a nice krausen, most of the time. Took almost 4 days for my washed english ale yeast to show any signs that it was a working starter.

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Old 10-18-2007, 10:31 PM   #5
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The purpose of a starter is to grow yeast, so they shouldn't go into the CO2/alcohol phase. The thickness of the layer is your best indicator.

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Old 10-18-2007, 10:38 PM   #6
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My starters rarely form much krausen (except wheat yeasts), and I let them ferment out completely before pitching.

-D

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Old 10-20-2007, 03:07 AM   #7
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I would like to try a starter for the first time. i have the 2000ml beaker and a magnistir and a stirbar. i have a white lab kolsh ale yeast. How much water do you need to make the wort and how much DME do you boil to make the mini brew?

please give me a step by step. Thanks.

Gregg

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Old 10-20-2007, 03:17 AM   #8
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I usually start with 500ml water and 1/2cup of DME, boil for 15min and pitch the yeast. Then I wait 8-24hours for the yeast to propagate and pitch the whole thing in the cooled, aerated wort. If I am brewing a stronger beer I will step the starter up to 1000ml, then 2000ml.

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Old 10-20-2007, 04:21 AM   #9
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I've had it go both ways. Some form kraeusen, some don't. I just made two starters last week. One was white Labs "Cry Havoc," the other wyeast munich lager. The lager kraeusened nicely, Cry Havoc did not. Both yielded healthy slurry to be pitched. Seems like there's no rhyme or reason to it.

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Old 10-20-2007, 04:20 PM   #10
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Hmmmm, interesting differences. Every starter I've done has produced a big krauesen. The only ones that didn't were from dead yeast (tube or smack pack). After a day, the wort was still sweet. The sediment layer I got was the remnants of the original yeast. I'm just very hesitant to risk all of the time (and expense) that I put into producing the wort on an "iffy" starter.

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