Originally Posted by ajwillys
Whoa there, hold up! You drink it?!?!
I usually take a few swigs from the decanted beer from my starters. It gives me an early clue if there's anything horribly wrong.
But more than that, it's incredibly educational to see what flavors the yeast contributes when it's not competing with all the specialty grains and hops.
Nottingham is surprisingly fruity from a starter held around 75F. Wyeast 3711 has a lot of spice but finishes very clean and dry. Wyeast 3787 is pungent and complex. Well, you get the idea. I've learned more about the flavor contributions of different yeast by sampling the starter beers than I have from the batches of beer I brew with them.