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Old 07-25-2012, 10:43 AM   #1
DickyBenfield
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Default Did my starter actually start?

I know this is probably over asked and I think I know what I have to do, but I'll ask if anyone has any thoughts or not just the same...

I made my first starter Monday night (7/23 @ 9PM). It was with Wyeast 1272 American Ale II yeast. I took the pack out of the fridge and smacked it. After almost 3 hours it seemed like it was swelling, but it was not significant and I'm not sure it was actually swelling vs me just assuming it was. I put about 1 cup DME in about 4 1/4 cups spring water, 1/2 teaspoon Wyeast nutrient, boiled 15 minutes. Poured it in the flask, covered with foil and chilled. Pitched the yeast and then shook the crap out of it to aerate. Was it a bad move to shake vigorously after I pitched instead of before? I don't have a stir plate, but I've swirled it up by hand when I could. I'm at about 33 hours in and I have not seen any indication of fermentation except for the fact that (I think) the layer of yeast is thicker than when I started. Is this normal or should I be concerned? I didn't take a gravity reading of the starter when I first made it, but I assume it should have been at about 1.040. I will take a reading tonight when I am able (probably at 48 - 50 hours) and I'm hoping there will be clear evidence that it has fermented but was curious to read others thoughts.

Thanks in advance,
Dicky

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Old 07-25-2012, 12:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by DickyBenfield View Post
I know this is probably over asked and I think I know what I have to do, but I'll ask if anyone has any thoughts or not just the same...

I made my first starter Monday night (7/23 @ 9PM). It was with Wyeast 1272 American Ale II yeast. I took the pack out of the fridge and smacked it. After almost 3 hours it seemed like it was swelling, but it was not significant and I'm not sure it was actually swelling vs me just assuming it was. I put about 1 cup DME in about 4 1/4 cups spring water, 1/2 teaspoon Wyeast nutrient, boiled 15 minutes. Poured it in the flask, covered with foil and chilled. Pitched the yeast and then shook the crap out of it to aerate. Was it a bad move to shake vigorously after I pitched instead of before? I don't have a stir plate, but I've swirled it up by hand when I could. I'm at about 33 hours in and I have not seen any indication of fermentation except for the fact that (I think) the layer of yeast is thicker than when I started. Is this normal or should I be concerned? I didn't take a gravity reading of the starter when I first made it, but I assume it should have been at about 1.040. I will take a reading tonight when I am able (probably at 48 - 50 hours) and I'm hoping there will be clear evidence that it has fermented but was curious to read others thoughts.

Thanks in advance,
Dicky
Not only was it NOT bad to shake it after pitching, but you should keep swirling it until it's done. I never take a gravity reading of my starters, so I would recommend you not even worry about that. Since you've put foil over the flask instead of an airlock, it's difficult to actually "see" fermentation; one way to tell is if there are tiny bubbles rising up the side of the flask. Either way, it is incredibly difficult to mix yeast with sugar and not get fermentation.

One thing I would highly recommend is using the "10 grams DME per 100 mL water" equation rather than the more rudimentary practice of measuring by cups. This does require the purchase of a scale that can measure in grams, but they're pretty cheap and a great investment, particularly since you can use them to more accurately measure out your hops.

Cheers!
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Brulosopher View Post
Not only was it NOT bad to shake it after pitching, but you should keep swirling it until it's done. I never take a gravity reading of my starters, so I would recommend you not even worry about that. Since you've put foil over the flask instead of an airlock, it's difficult to actually "see" fermentation; one way to tell is if there are tiny bubbles rising up the side of the flask. Either way, it is incredibly difficult to mix yeast with sugar and not get fermentation.

One thing I would highly recommend is using the "10 grams DME per 100 mL water" equation rather than the more rudimentary practice of measuring by cups. This does require the purchase of a scale that can measure in grams, but they're pretty cheap and a great investment, particularly since you can use them to more accurately measure out your hops.

Cheers!
+1, exactly and I too recommend weighing out the DME versus using measuring cups, there can be a large difference between the two measurements!
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:33 PM   #4
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Thank you both. Points well taken. I will look into getting a scale soon.

As for this starter, I have been swirling it up when I am able, probably only about 8 times since I made it. There were no bubbles to be seen anywhere, and I was looking closely. However, when I got home from work today (about 15 minutes ago) there were finally signs of life. There was a little bit of foam on the surface and when I swirled it up there was obviously some dissolved co2 in the beer that I had driven out and came to the surface. Not a lot mind you, but clear enough for me to know its fermenting. I'm not sure when it finally started (at least in a clearly visible way). It had to have been somewhere beyond the 34 hour mark. None the less, it is clearly making progress. I'm not sure if I should give it until tomorrow night, then chill, decant and brew Friday night, or push it out one more day. But anyway, thanks again for the feedback.

Cheers!

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Old 07-25-2012, 10:38 PM   #5
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When there is no more foam it has fermented out

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Old 07-26-2012, 02:13 AM   #6
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At the rate this seems to be fermenting, that may take a while, but I will try to be patient but I may have to brew on Sat finished or not... See I ran out of homebrew Sunday night so I'm starting to twitch... lol...

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