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Old 11-21-2007, 11:59 AM   #1
e lo
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Default WLP300 starter taste/smell question

First off, I'm embarrased for posting a "is this infected" question. But ...

I pressure canned some wort this weekend, because I was tired of using DME for starters and grain for everything else. On Monday, I pitched a 500 ml starter from a tube of WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast. It was in the "Date Challenged Yeast" bin at my LHBS, and because I'm a cheap bastard, I bought it instead of one which was within its best by date. It was just over a month past its best by date, which means it was bottled 5 months ago. Fine. I'm using a starter on a stirplate, so I figured I'd be OK.

It appears to have fermented out (gravity is down to 1.010 from 1.040), and it's no longer active. However, it has a smell that's not quite what I expected. It's not a bad smell, it's just ... different. I get the banana smell that I would expect from the weizen yeast, but there's something else ... Maybe "plastic" would be the best word to describe it. Phenolic, perhaps? It tastes pretty sour, and the phenolic/plastic taste is prominent, but it is hard to distinguish this from the banana like flavor.

So my question for you guys is, does it sound like this is infected? I've never used this strain before, and I've never made a starter with a hefe yeast before, so I really don't know what flavors and aromas to expect from the starter. Also, I've never used pressure canned starter wort before, so I don't know how the retained DMS will affect the taste and smell of the starter.

Any thought would be appreciated.



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Old 11-28-2007, 08:31 PM   #2
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I'm curious about the same thing. I just did my first thaw from my yeast bank, it was a tube of Wyeast 3068 Weizen. After two days the starter is going pretty well, but it's smell is - well, interesting. It's got a slight banana smell, but some other smells that I can't pin down. I don't think it's infected, I just don't know what to expect since I thawed this one out.



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Old 11-28-2007, 08:35 PM   #3
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IMO its hard to tell from a starter. I have had some taste really gross. But turn out great beer. I stopped smelling/ tasting starters for that very reason. I would go ahead and use it, but thats just me.

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Old 11-28-2007, 08:39 PM   #4
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Yeah, I figure I'll just use it and see what happens. It's a hefe, so the ingredients are pretty cheap, and it'll tell me if my freezing methods worked or not.

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Old 11-28-2007, 10:10 PM   #5
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I actually wound up tossing that starter and buying a fresh tube of the same yeast -- WLP300. The fresh yeast gave a similar starter smell and flavor profile, although it did seem a little less sour. In any event, I pitched Sat. night, and by Sunday afternoon, I had a happily bubbling carboy. The blowoff tube vessel (filled with odorless StarSan) smells amazing -- damn near exactly like banana nut bread! Can't wait to try this one, even if I missed my target OG.

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Old 11-29-2007, 01:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e lo
I actually wound up tossing that starter and buying a fresh tube of the same yeast -- WLP300. The fresh yeast gave a similar starter smell and flavor profile, although it did seem a little less sour. In any event, I pitched Sat. night, and by Sunday afternoon, I had a happily bubbling carboy. The blowoff tube vessel (filled with odorless StarSan) smells amazing -- damn near exactly like banana nut bread! Can't wait to try this one, even if I missed my target OG.
Ahh man that sucks.. I never even saw this thread until today. Glade the brew went alright though.
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Old 11-29-2007, 02:02 AM   #7
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Ah, no worries. It was a learning experience, and well worth the extra $3.00 for the expired tube of yeast.

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Old 11-29-2007, 09:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor Frink
I'm curious about the same thing. I just did my first thaw from my yeast bank, it was a tube of Wyeast 3068 Weizen. After two days the starter is going pretty well, but it's smell is - well, interesting. It's got a slight banana smell, but some other smells that I can't pin down. I don't think it's infected, I just don't know what to expect since I thawed this one out.

WOW... the 3068 is the reason that I just did a search and found this thread in the first place... I just made a starter with it, it fermented out great, but that has got to be the worst smelling yeast I have worked with so far. From everything I can find, I do not think that it has been contaminated, it just puts off a ton of esters that I do not fine overly enjoyable. Also, mine was not frozen, but straight from the slap pack, and was well maintained before use.

PS...
This is from the Wyeast website, in their description of the 3068
"Dominated by banana ester production, phenols and clove-like characteristics."
I would have to guess it is the phenols and clove smells that I (and you) are not liking.
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Old 12-02-2007, 03:15 PM   #9
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Well, now that it is in the primary, the stuff smells like banana bread. I don't get it. In the starter it smells horrible, and yet in the primary it smells fantastic. Well, assuming that you like banana bread (which I do not), but that is another issue.

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Old 12-02-2007, 03:30 PM   #10
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Yep. Mine smells the same way. Unfortunately, I tasted my hydrometer sample last night after one week of fermentation, and it tastes terrible. Fairly sour and unpleasant. Hopefully it matures a little.



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