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Old 12-07-2011, 03:03 PM   #1
Todd820
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Default Evidence of starter activity

Hey all, I am on the edge of panic here. Started a Belgian 3 days ago and had no evidence of fermentation. Worse yet, my fermenter had sucked all the liquid out of my airlock so I am convinced that my wort was too hot when I pitched. I think my temp gauge was too close to the edge of my pot and got a false read so probably killed the yeast. So anyways, picked up a vial of yeast last night and made a starter with it with the intent of pitching that tonight. I did not see any evidence of activity in my flask this morning but I have never made a starter before - should this be obvious in a starter given the low gravity? It had been 12+ hours when I checked. Thanks in advance!

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Old 12-07-2011, 03:07 PM   #2
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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 bibbling 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 12-07-2011, 06:21 PM   #3
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Great! Thanks for the information!

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