Chunky/clumpy yeast - infection?
I made a starter on Monday for a batch I brewed last night (Wednesday). I had smacked the yeast pack (Wyeast 3522 - Belgian Ardennes Ale) about 8 hrs before preparing the starter, and it was fully swelled at pitching. I had about 2" krausen in the starter Tuesday night, which fell before brewing time.
I pitched the entire starter (made with 1 qt water and 1 cup DME) into my wort, and had some activity (slight foaming at top) within a few hours. This morning, there was about 1/2" krausen and my blow-off tube was bubbling at a rate of about 1 bubble per 7 seconds.
Here's the potential problem - when I pitched my starter, I noticed numerous clumps of yeast. I haven't seen yeast clumps in my previous 26 batches to date, although most of my "yeast observation" is based on cleaning out my fermenters as opposed to pitching starters (this was only my fourth starter).
To clarify, I noticed numerous 1/4"-3/8" clumps of yeast in my starter (like little rocks) as it was being poured into my primary, as opposed to the paste-like or "wet sand" texture I've normally observed. Also, there seemed to be more brown spots/clumps in the krausen than usual when I checked the primary this morning.
I have used this particular Wyeast strain twice before, and don't recall seeing such clumping in either of these previous batches.
Could this be an infection? Any thoughts/insight (hopefully reassurance that I'm just being unnecessarily stressed) will be greatly appreciated!
Primary:Blonde Ale III
Secondary:Strong Golden III
Bottled:Trippel Ale, Dubbel Ale, Saison, Belgian Blonde, Belgian Strong Golden, Belgian Orange, Belgian Ardennes, Trappist Ale, Belgian Strong Golden II, Belgian Blonde II, Belgian Orange II, Dubbel Ale II
On Deck:Belgian Orange III