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Chris1972 01-23-2006 11:52 PM

help with Yeast starter
So about 14hrs ago I began a yeast starter. I used a smack pack and pitched it into my DME solution after the pack expaned to a couple of inches. Anyway, I'm looking at it right now and the airlock is bubbling about once every 10 seconds. Seems healthy,...but....there's no foam. Shouldn't there be a nice layer forming?

How will I know when it's time to pitch?


anthrobe 01-23-2006 11:56 PM

I have not seen a lot of krausen on my past starters. Let it ferment for a couple of days. You will see that it will pretty much exhaust all the sugars out and you will have a nice yeast cake on the bottom. That is what you are going for. There are many different ideas in this forum on when to pitch your starter. I have always pitched mine when it has pretty much fermented out and the yeast cake is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick on the bottom of my growler.

Tony 01-24-2006 12:25 AM

I use a stir plate, and sometimes I get a good head of krausen, and sometimes not. If you have activity in your air lock, the yeast is definately eating away at your DME and is doing fine. If you're not using a stir plate, then like Anthrobe said, look for the yeast cake building up.

Chris1972 01-24-2006 12:36 AM

What about alcohol?
Do I have to worry about the yeast in my starter getting killed off by the alcohol they're creating while eating the DME? Or is that not an issue here?


homebrewer_99 01-24-2006 12:45 AM

Your yeast is not dying. It's multiplying. While it's doing that its converting sugar to alcohol.:D

While its in its prime you want to add it to a larger batch (5 gals) to continue on its journey and eventually make you happy (get you drunk).:drunk:

Help your little friend....:D

DeRoux's Broux 01-24-2006 03:37 AM

if you don't have a stir-plate (like me!) just swirl the starter every couple hours. i've only had one or two starters that formed a thick kraeusen. most just have crazy activity goin' on with the air lock pop'n!

God Emporer BillyBrew 01-24-2006 01:41 PM


Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
Your yeast is not dying. It's multiplying.

Nice Bebe's Kids reference!

homebrewer_99 01-24-2006 02:33 PM

Funny cartoon...:D

Kaiser 01-24-2006 03:12 PM

[quote=Chris1972]Do I have to worry about the yeast in my starter getting killed off by the alcohol they're creating while eating the DME? Or is that not an issue here?

Ideally you don't want them to make alcohol.

In a starter the yeast should be kept in is aerob stage because that's when they grow best. There is not much growth when the yeast is forced to live w/o O2 and just gets by, by making alcohol.

This however requires constant aeration and no airlock (tin-foil is your friend). That's why stir plates are best. But there also rather expensive and I don't have one either :(

If you go the way of growing as much yeast as you can with your means, (shaking and no airlock might be all you can do) you don't want to pitch the spent starter liquid. Just decant it and use the yeast cake. You can get ale yeast to settle out easily by chilling the starter in the fridge.


Mikey 01-24-2006 04:59 PM

Patience is a virtue, relax. 14 hours is not a lot of time for much to happen.

Yeast work at their speed, not yours! :cross:

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