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Old 02-16-2012, 05:18 PM   #1
flyingfinbar
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Default First starter question/panic

Hello everyone!

I made my first starter last night, approximately 2.5 liters following the standard 100 grams DME per liter of water using light DME. I am swirling intermittently.

Into this starter, I pitched Wyeast 1388, belgian strong ale. The date on the yeast is October 17 2011, so we're looking at about 4 months old. I pitched this last night around 8pm eastern, and it's 1pm today and I've noticed very little activity in the starter. I know it's a little premature, but I'm a little worried about the viability of this yeast, given the date and the relative lack of movement. There is definitely some fermentation going on, as I get a small whiff of it when I shake it up...still lots of malty body to the aroma though.

The yeast will be going into a ~1.080 Belgian Tripel this saturday afternoon/evening. Mr. Malty is giving me doomsday prophecies for this yeast, stating that at this production date I need an absurd amount of packets or a tremendous starter. I'm worried that this yeast will not perform when it counts!

My question is, do I have enough time to chill, decant, and step up the starter before a projected Saturday afternoon brew time? A LHBS carries whitelabs, should I try to see if they have the WL equivalent and pitch that in with my starter? Am I freaking out prematurely? Thanks in advance for the help, you guys/gals always come through

Edit-I just called the LHBS...no luck on the WL equivalent, so that option is flushed!

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Old 02-16-2012, 05:59 PM   #2
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My thought.....Let it ferment overnight, and swirl often if you don't have a stir plate. Chill tomorrow afternoon,decant, and get it in another starter by Fri night. Let it ferment till your ready to pitch. Mr Malty probably has you making a 2 gallon starter( J/K I use Mr Malty also), but sometimes the starter size does seem excessive. Since the LHBS is a bust, Just make the best of it.

BTW......was that a "use by" date? The actual manufacture date is 4 months before that, so your looking at 8 months since packaging.

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Old 02-16-2012, 06:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by whitehause View Post
My thought.....Let it ferment overnight, and swirl often if you don't have a stir plate. Chill tomorrow afternoon,decant, and get it in another starter by Fri night. Let it ferment till your ready to pitch. Mr Malty probably has you making a 2 gallon starter( J/K I use Mr Malty also), but sometimes the starter size does seem excessive. Since the LHBS is a bust, Just make the best of it.

BTW......was that a "use by" date? The actual manufacture date is 4 months before that, so your looking at 8 months since packaging.
The date is the MFG date, and the packaging says the yeast should be good for six months after the packaging date. There's been some more activity, still not blowing up like I would have expected a strong belgian ale yeast would have, but it's something. Thanks for the advice, I'll check it tomorrow and see how it looks, greatly appreciated!

Will pitching a whole fermenting starter mess with a light, dry beer such as a tripel? My recipe is simple; 12.5lbs pils, .5 flaked barley, 1.5-2lbs candi sugar, and Styrian and Saaz hops.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:24 PM   #4
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If you used light DME for the starter, I would think so.

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Old 02-16-2012, 07:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitehause
If you used light DME for the starter, I would think so.
Just out of curiosity, was that supposed to read "wouldn't think so?"
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:42 PM   #6
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Most of my starters do not show activity for about 24hrs, but then ferment out very quickly. I think you'll be fine for Saturday. You can let it ferment through Friday evening, stick it in the fridge overnight, decant & pitch the next day.

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Old 02-16-2012, 08:11 PM   #7
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Yes...I think it should be fine to pitch

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Old 02-17-2012, 02:34 AM   #8
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Yes...I think it should be fine to pitch
Haha, that's what I figured. This is gonna be my first Belgian, my third AG BIAB batch, and my first yeast starter, so I'm definitely on the leading edge of my own brewing experience.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:08 AM   #9
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Yep...I did the same thing when I got into it. Started with BIAB and dry yeast (notty mostly) Once I got my efficiencies up with BIaB, I began using liquid yeast and starters. I still use BIAB, and until I go 10Gal, I don't see that I'll change. Got 79% eff.on my Hefe last week and didn't have to worry about a stuck sparge.
For some reason I thought you made a .5L starter...I see it's 2.5L, so like exe said, when they get going, they'll finish quick. If your seeing activity, let it ride and you should be in good shape by Sat. Just keep swirling!

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Old 02-17-2012, 04:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitehause View Post
Yep...I did the same thing when I got into it. Started with BIAB and dry yeast (notty mostly) Once I got my efficiencies up with BIaB, I began using liquid yeast and starters. I still use BIAB, and until I go 10Gal, I don't see that I'll change. Got 79% eff.on my Hefe last week and didn't have to worry about a stuck sparge.
For some reason I thought you made a .5L starter...I see it's 2.5L, so like exe said, when they get going, they'll finish quick. If your seeing activity, let it ride and you should be in good shape by Sat. Just keep swirling!
Yeah, she's a biggie, haha. I've seen some activity, but again, it's nothing big and crazy like I've heard. Mostly some small bubbles floating up the sides of the vessel and a little sedimentation on the bottom (which I then shake up). It's been smelling boozy, but still no major visible activity.
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