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Old 11-08-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
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Default Didn't see activity in starter, proceed with step up?

I'm reusing some washed yeast from 7/7/12. I used about 23mL in a .5L starter and then am stepping up to a .75L starter to get to my 123B needed. Yeast smelled/tasted fine.

I let the first stage starter run 24 hours on my stirplate and then threw in my fridge last night. I had a few beers and wasn't thinking....there wasn't really any activity in the starter. What does this mean for my .75L step two or am I probably still ok?

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Old 11-08-2012, 07:51 PM   #2
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I usually go 3 days on a stirplate before fridge regardless of what I'm stirring. But, up to .75 is a smallish step, so I think you'll be fine.

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Old 11-08-2012, 08:02 PM   #3
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Activity in a starter really only means one thing and one thing only.

It doesn't matter one blip in your fermenter or your starter flask if the airlock bubbles or not (if you are using an airlock and not tinfoil if you are using tinfoil, you aren't getting bubbling anyway,) or if you see a krauzen.

In fact starter fermentation are some of the fastest or slowest but most importantly, the most boring fermentations out there. Usually it's done withing a few hours of yeast pitch...usually overnight when we are sleeping, and the starter looks like nothing ever happened...except for the little band at the bottom. Or it can take awhile...but either way there's often no "activity" whatsoever....

I usually run my stirplate for the first 24 hours, then shut it down, if you are spinning your starter it is really hard to get a krausen to form anyway, since it's all spinning, and there's often a head of foam on it from the movement.


All that really matters is that creamy band o yeast at the bottom.





This is a chilled sample so it's flocculated, but even with an unchilled sample you should see a band of yeast at the bottom. Here's an unchilled version



Same thing, a band.

As it is I've only ever seen two or three krausens actually on my starter (one blew off a bunch of krausen and knocked the tinfoil off the flask,) and the evidence of one on the flask at the "waterline" once. But I've never not had a starter take off.

Look for the yeast at the bottom, don't worry what it looks like on top.

If you have yeast on the bottom....that's all you really need.

If it looks anything like that, your are ready to either feed it again, or use it.

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:52 PM   #4
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Agree, 24 hours is enough for yeast growth.
Greg Doss.. again..

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Old 11-09-2012, 05:35 PM   #5
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One way to tell if you got fermentation is to swirl the starter vigorously. Usually I get some carbonation when I do this telling me that fermentation did occur. I have had really old vials of yeast that took a day or two to really take off on the first step but 3 months isn't that old. The only for sure way is to test the gravity of the wort to see if it fermented at all.

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Old 11-09-2012, 06:35 PM   #6
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I always see bubbles in my yeast on a stir plate. In fact I just last put lager yeast on my stir plate dated 12/26/2011. This was an experiment to see if the yeast would come back to life and sure enough it fired up. So I guess washed yeast can last a year the yeast wash process is done correctly.

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Old 11-13-2012, 03:06 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. I did chill for 24 hours and had a nice yeast layer at the bottom. I decanted the wort from the top and pitched slurry to the step up starter. I actually did see some activity this time. I chilled/decanted/pitched to my beer and had activity within about 8 hours.

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