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-   -   First time harvesting yeast. First time making a yeast starter (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/first-time-harvesting-yeast-first-time-making-yeast-starter-348366/)

MikefromMichigan 08-18-2012 12:45 PM

First time harvesting yeast. First time making a yeast starter
 
I was up at the crack of dawn this morning (figuratively speaking), ran downstairs, excited like a little kid on his birthday to inspect his gift. But I was disappointed.

I harvested some yeast for the first time 2 weeks ago and collected about 2 4oz mason jars of it. I refrigerated the yeast. Yesterday I made my first yeast starter from collected yeast. I sanitized all equipment, added cup of DME to 1 qrt of boiling water and simmered for 15 min. Poured the wort into a qrt mason jar, cooled the wort to room temperature and added the harvested yeast, and shook the mixture for about 30 sec. I left the mixture at room temperature. This was about 4pm yesterday (Friday). I shook the liquid several times during the evening.

So when I came down this morning I was disappointed to find that the contents did not appear any different that the previous day. I expected the mixture to be giving off some bubbles. I am pretty sure I followed the correct steps for both harvesting and the yeast starter. I want to brew tomorrow and have a pack of Wyeast as a back up just in case, which I will smack this evening if need be.

Have I been too impatient? Should I add the 2nd jar of harvested to the mixture? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

VaBrewer 08-18-2012 12:54 PM

Did you allow your yeast to warm up to room temp before adding it to the starter wort?
It could have shocked it if you didn't and there would be a longer lag time. Other than that it seems you did everything right.

kh54s10 08-18-2012 01:21 PM

Wait longer. A starter that is just intermittently shaken may take a bit of time.

The other thing to look for is; has there been any buildup of the layer on the bottom of the jar. Sometimes starters show very little activity and still are working. A gravity test can also tell you if the yeast are working.

As to the extra smack pack, you should make a starter with that also.

A better yeast to keep for emergencies/backup would be dry yeast.

MikefromMichigan 08-18-2012 04:29 PM

VAbrewer, The yeast may have been a bit on the cool side, as I took it out of the fridge about 1 hour before using. I will for a build up of on the bottom of the jar.

Kh54s10, I may just wait longer as you suggested, and see what happens and brew during next week instead of Sunday. Keeping a dry yeast as a back up is a good idea.

Thanks

MikefromMichigan 08-18-2012 08:43 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Its been 24 hrs now and here is what it currently looks like, not sure if you can see much on the image. Still not much activity, but there has been a build up on the bottom of the jar. I intend cutting a hole in the lid and adding an air lock to see if I can notice any activity.

What is the best way of taking a gravity test, as there is only approx a pint of starter in the jar, would I be able to pour the test sample back into the jar?

Thanks

revansCAAD8 08-18-2012 09:35 PM

Uh, yeah the starter needs air. Definitely don't want it airtight with a lid! Air-rate and covered with tinfoil or an airlock. I use an growler for my starters.

Robert
Building our RV Beer 'Keezer'

MikefromMichigan 08-19-2012 11:39 PM

I decided to make another yeast starter with my second jar of harvested yeast. This time I was a little bit more methodical is my approach. I again made a wort using Light DME, but this time I decided to make a 1/2 gallon starter, knowing that I would draw some off for periodic gravity checks. I took and initial gravity check of the cooled wort and the reading was 1040, just what I hoped for. I took the harvested yeast out of the fridge about 4 hours I needed and pitched it into the cooled wort. I gave it a good add some oxygen and then sealed it with a tin foil cap to allow it to breathe. I hope I have better luck this time

kingwood-kid 08-20-2012 01:46 AM

If you shake the starter, you'll see a lot of CO2 come out of solution. If you have an airtight container (e.g., empty 2L soda bottle), you can shake holy hell out of it every few hours to aerate, and you can hear the hiss everytime you pop the cap. Very reassuring sound.

revansCAAD8 08-20-2012 02:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MikefromMichigan (Post 4344782)
I decided to make another yeast starter with my second jar of harvested yeast. This time I was a little bit more methodical is my approach. I again made a wort using Light DME, but this time I decided to make a 1/2 gallon starter, knowing that I would draw some off for periodic gravity checks. I took and initial gravity check of the cooled wort and the reading was 1040, just what I hoped for. I took the harvested yeast out of the fridge about 4 hours I needed and pitched it into the cooled wort. I gave it a good add some oxygen and then sealed it with a tin foil cap to allow it to breathe. I hope I have better luck this time

Sounds good, let us know how it turns out this time.

Robert
Building our RV Beer 'Keezer'


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