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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Starter tastes sour...
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:46 PM   #1
gyoder
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Default Starter tastes sour...

Hello all. I cultured some Bell's yeast from a bottle of two-hearted and have built it up to about 1500mLs using a stir plate and pressure canned starter wort in the last week. I let the yeast drop out of suspension and decanted some of the wort because I was planning on getting another starter going in a separate flask using the Bell's yeast. The entire ferment smelled great, but when I tasted the wort it had a sour twang to it. This is the first time I have ever tasted a starter made with my stir plate and wasn't sure if there could be another reason other than infection for the sour taste. Thoughts?

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:48 PM   #2
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I would expect the oxidized, un-hopped 'beer' to be rather foul tasting; RDWHAHB. In a volume as small as a starter, I suspect you're tasting a fair of yeast bite as well.

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Old 01-08-2009, 03:33 PM   #3
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Yeah, dont taste the starter.

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Old 01-08-2009, 05:17 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. Cracking a homebrew post-haste. Trying not to laugh at BeerPressure's reponse...

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Old 01-08-2009, 06:53 PM   #5
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I would taste and smell the starter; however, expect it not to be very good. As long as the smell and taste don't make you want to vomit then your yeast is good to go!

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Old 01-19-2009, 10:57 AM   #6
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I agree, in general starter smells and tastes bad, especially if it's oxidized on a stirplate.

I once experienced the difference between the starter that smells bad and the one that smells so bad that it makes you puke ;-) It was the smell of cooked and rotten cabbage and corn with a high dose of stinking farts in it ;-)... I had no doubts it has to go down the drain.

Yesterday I pithed a starter that smelled "funky" - had a kind of yeasty acidic notes to it, but I decided to take a chance and pitched it. I'll see in a week.

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Old 01-19-2009, 04:55 PM   #7
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It's normal that unhopped starters taste sour. I always lightly hop mine to prevent that, since I do taste them to check for unusual flavors that might indicate stressed yeast or infections. Often, they are quite drinkable.
I was quite amazed at my WLP 500 starter that I tasted yesterday - it tasted like a smoked beer, although it was made with nothing but extra light DME and a few pellets of cascade hops.

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcaneXor View Post
It's normal that unhopped starters taste sour. I always lightly hop mine to prevent that, since I do taste them to check for unusual flavors that might indicate stressed yeast or infections. Often, they are quite drinkable.
I was quite amazed at my WLP 500 starter that I tasted yesterday - it tasted like a smoked beer, although it was made with nothing but extra light DME and a few pellets of cascade hops.
Yeah, that's the biggest thing to remember, when making a starter, and not taking Arcanexor's advice, you are making an unhopped beer...hops are a preservative to prevent them from going sour...and that will happen quite rapidly....The beer will go sour.

As long as it only smells to taste sour you are fine..if it smells like dirty rhino diapers rotting in the sun (autolysis...and you will know it,) or like solvents, chemicals, or some other nasty smell,all you have to do is decant off the bad beer and pitch the yeast. If it smells like the other things I described, then start over.
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