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Old 09-21-2006, 05:35 AM   #1
WarStreetBrewer
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Default Starter batch looking a little down

I know this sounds like a common issue, so I did search the forum first. Haha, I know how h/c posters get.

I'm just a little worried about my starter. It's been more than five hours and all the yeast seems to have settled to the bottom and nothing much is going on. I know some of the mistakes I made, but if I could get some feedback on it anyway. I plan on brewing tomorrow night and will need to buy a replacement if necessary. Is it shot?

What I did was boil about a pint of water with 1/2 c. of light DME for about 15 minutes. I chilled it to 90F or so, poured it directly into a glass jar and put it in the fridge until it was probably around 75F. I pitched the yeast (White Labs Dry English Ale). The temperature has probably dropped below 70F and the vial said it shouldn't go below that, but I've been keeping it around 75-80F since then. I keep the lid closed, but it's a little slack, as I've read it needs to vent out the C02, but needs to be protected from infection (I don't have an airlock to fit). Everything was sanitized.

Whats up!?

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Old 09-21-2006, 07:09 AM   #2
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Just give it more time. By the time you wake up, log on, and read this post I'll bet you $5 you'll see action. That is of course if the yeast is alive and you properly aerated it first.

I'm assuming you're not going to intentionally screw it up for a $5 internet wager.

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Old 09-21-2006, 12:09 PM   #3
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Well I can't afford the five bucks, so I might just screw it up!

Right now it looks the same. The air in my apt. is about 66F, so to keep it at 70F I've been keeping it in a pyrex dish filled with warm water, about 75-80F and changing it every so often. I can't stick around all day to keep changing it tho..

There are little bubbles of C02 (I presume) running up the sides, but the yeast is still sitting at the bottom and there is no activity on the top. I'm keeping the lid just shy of where it catches when it's tightened and I noticed a very very faint pssssst when I was adjusting it last night.. so I guess the yeast is alive, but it's not doing too much.

I'm worried it might be too cold.. but if it is too cold for the yeast to really get going in the starter, can I still pitch it?

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Old 09-21-2006, 12:19 PM   #4
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I suggest tightening the lid and shaking it like crazy for a minute or two. Then loosen the lid for pressure release. I think it needs more aeration. but, you may not ever see a big fermentation - much less an actual krausen. My last starter didn't do much visually other than make my airlock bubble, which you can't see with your loose lid. I used it for two batches a day apart and both were fermenting like crazy within a few hours of pitching.

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Old 09-21-2006, 03:06 PM   #5
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1/2 a cup of DME for 1 pint of water seems a little high. What is the SG of the starter wort? should be around 1040.

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Old 09-21-2006, 03:08 PM   #6
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I don't know if 1/2 cup of DME/pint is too high, but the one I mentioned before used 1 cup DME to 1 quart - so same ratio. If that's too much DME maybe I just got (have been getting) lucky. I didn't take a gravity reading on it though, but its what I usually use.

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Old 09-21-2006, 03:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarStreetBrewer
W
There are little bubbles of C02 (I presume) running up the sides, but the yeast is still sitting at the bottom and there is no activity on the top.
Sounds like you're starting.
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Old 09-22-2006, 04:58 PM   #8
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I had yeast just recently look like that as well. It was White Labs 029 German Ale. I did a starter and all it did was hae small bubbles come up the sides, No krausen or anything. I added more DME and still nothing else. I ended up pitching it and the brew took off like crazy. Your yeast seems perfectly fine to me.

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Old 09-23-2006, 09:30 PM   #9
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Well you guys were right.. it was fine. Around the 20-22 hour mark, I shook it up a bit and there was a lot of CO2 in suspension. An hour after that, I cracked the seal on the lid and it hissed like a mofo. I'm glad I did that because I don't know how much longer the glass would have held up. By the time I pitched it, it was clearly strong and healthy. I was getting > 200 BPM on the airlock within 18 hours.

Thanks for the tips!

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Old 09-23-2006, 09:33 PM   #10
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If you can, try to use a container that you can put an airlock on for the starter. You can use a glass growler, a gallon jug or what I use, an erlinmeyer flask. Just get a drilled rubber stopper to fit the top and put the airlock in. Exploding glass is never fun.

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