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Old 02-01-2007, 03:07 PM   #1
MarkUsBrew
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Default 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!

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Old 02-01-2007, 03:20 PM   #2
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You say you used this same strain before, which takes away my only thought, which is that some yeasts are *really* clumpy. I had White Labs Dry English Ale (I think) that would NOT even come out of the damned tube. I looked it up and it was known for being that way.

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Old 02-01-2007, 05:27 PM   #3
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A. It's unlikely to be an infection.
B. Sounds like it's fermenting.
C. Clumping is early flocculation and may be due to the water chemistry and/or metal ions.
D. Sounds like it's fermenting.

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Old 02-01-2007, 05:36 PM   #4
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I've noticed a similar thing in all my beers since I've moved. I think it's something different in the water.

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Old 02-01-2007, 10:39 PM   #5
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Thanks all! I'm feeling a little better about this batch.

Strange that it happened like this - I wonder if colder temperatures in my house may have caused it?

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