Ss Brewing Technologies Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > First time making a starter... I think I fouled it up noobie style.
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-09-2013, 05:34 PM   #1
Tupperwolf
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 271
Liked 35 Times on 27 Posts
Likes Given: 38

Default First time making a starter... I think I fouled it up noobie style.

Sorry about this novel-length post, I like to type and like to get all the details in.

So here's the scoop, I made a 1.5L starter for some WLP 2565 Kolsch yeast for a wheat beer recipe I found here on HBT.

I got my ingredients in from the LHBS, yeast was kept refrigerated. I smacked the smack pack rather incautiously, this being my first time using liquid yeast; I basically just whacked the hell out of it rather than identifying the nutrient pouch inside and chivvying it into a corner to smack. I smacked the pack so hard between my hands that I actually popped the bag itself; a tiny hole opened in the bottom and a squirt of yeast spurted out.

Presuming that the pack wouldn't really swell due to there being a hole in the bag to release the pressure that would normally build up, I propped it up in such a way that it wouldn't leak and went about making the starter with instructions found on MrMalty - I believe 1.5L of liquid and 150g of extra light DME using the 10/1 rule. After battling boilovers and cooling the wort to room temperature in a growler, I pitched the yeast - elapsed time between smacking the pack and pitching possibly 1 hour at most.

I later learned that you're supposed to wait 3-5 hours before pitching, oops. Well, the yeast nutrient should be in the wort, right?

I capped the growler with a sanitized bit of foil and swirled the yeast by hand a few times every hour until bedtime; When I got up in the morning there was no krausen and a creamy layer of yeast on the bottom of the growler, which made me quite worried until I gave it another swirl. PSHHH! This time a massive quantity of CO2 was released and the wort foamed up, which was reassuring that the yeasties were going to work and had probably passed their lag time and multiplied. I did notice that the yeast kept falling back to the bottom, but every time I swirled to rouse them more CO2 was released.

I brewed my beer that day and pitched the full 1.5L starter after cooling both the wort and the starter to pitching temp (approx. 60*). The pitch into the 5.5 gal batch of wort was approximately 24 hours after making the starter.

It's been 18 hours since pitching into the wort and zero sign of activity from the blowoff hose; This is my first time using a bucket, so I can't see the wort, but I was hoping for a rapid takeoff from the starter and lots of krausen coming through the blowoff by now. I haven't yet seen a bubble. The bucket is in my chest freezer which is currently temp controlled to around 57* as measured by a thermometer resting in the neck of a bottle of water.

1) should I have waited 3-5 hours before pitching the yeast into the starter?
2) should I have waited another couple of days before pitching the starter into the wort? Did I not give the yeasties enough chance to multiply and massively underpitch?

Thanks y'all... RDWHAHB, hope everyone that's brewing this weekend is enjoying themselves

__________________
Tupperwolf is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-09-2013, 07:23 PM   #2
RM-MN
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Solway, MN
Posts: 6,658
Liked 750 Times on 628 Posts
Likes Given: 241

Default

I think the answer might be #3, the wort is too cold for the yeast to get really active. Your temperature is pretty near the bottom of its preferred range and it will take a while longer for it to get active.

__________________
RM-MN is offline
3
People Like This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-09-2013, 08:04 PM   #3
Tupperwolf
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 271
Liked 35 Times on 27 Posts
Likes Given: 38

Default

Thank you for the reply. I know this yeast likes to be a little colder and the recipe recommends to ferment at 62*. I set the chamber for the mid-high 50s under the assumption that the fermentation would kick off and the wort would be around 62. I just pulled the bucket out of the chamber and will let it warm up a few degrees!

This is only my 2nd batch of beer, the first batch I pitched a bit too warm. Minimal impact on the flavor of that brew but an error I wanted to correct. This time around I wanted to make sure I pitched when the wort was cool.

__________________
Tupperwolf is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-09-2013, 08:11 PM   #4
BBL_Brewer
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
BBL_Brewer's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Kokomo, IN
Posts: 3,698
Liked 425 Times on 295 Posts
Likes Given: 321

Default

It's better to cold crash the yeast the night before brewday in the frige. This way you are pitching colder yeast to a warmer wort. The warming trend will activate the yeast much faster than a cooling/gradual warming trend. Just give it some time, and if you can, keep the fermenter in a warmer area. Once things kick off, then you can move it back to someplace cooler. It'll take off, the yeast are just a little confused.

__________________
Slots Down Brewery
Stick with the plan....not the sparge.


Never Ending Liquid Yeast - How to Farm Yeast and Freeze it.

BBL_Brewer is offline
Tupperwolf Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-09-2013, 08:19 PM   #5
Demus
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,224
Liked 154 Times on 126 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default

It's a mistake to make your fridge cooler than fermentation temperature until you actually observe active fermentation. At this point the ferment will indeed generate its own heat and you need to cool the fridge down 5 or 6 degrees below your desired fermentation temperature. My guess is you're just going to get a longer lag phase.
You may have underpitched somewhat as well with such a short starter, but there should have been at least some growth. What was the OG of the brew?
As for the smack pack, the bubble inside is the nutrient, so even if you didn't pop it you should be fine in the case of making a starter. The only advantage to letting it swell is reassurance you have viable yeast. My only concern with your description is potential contamination when you popped the outer bag of the yeast, but there's really no way of knowing. I hope it all works out for you, and try to have some patience...

__________________
Demus is offline
Tupperwolf Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-09-2013, 08:39 PM   #6
Tupperwolf
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 271
Liked 35 Times on 27 Posts
Likes Given: 38

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBL_Brewer View Post
It's better to cold crash the yeast the night before brewday in the frige. This way you are pitching colder yeast to a warmer wort. The warming trend will activate the yeast much faster than a cooling/gradual warming trend. Just give it some time, and if you can, keep the fermenter in a warmer area. Once things kick off, then you can move it back to someplace cooler. It'll take off, the yeast are just a little confused.
I put the yeast starter in the fridge for a while... Should have kept better notes, I obviously didn't have the time to cold crash it completely as I only made the starter the day before. But this is good information on pitching colder yeast into warmer wort!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demus View Post
It's a mistake to make your fridge cooler than fermentation temperature until you actually observe active fermentation. At this point the ferment will indeed generate its own heat and you need to cool the fridge down 5 or 6 degrees below your desired fermentation temperature. My guess is you're just going to get a longer lag phase.
You may have underpitched somewhat as well with such a short starter, but there should have been at least some growth. What was the OG of the brew?
As for the smack pack, the bubble inside is the nutrient, so even if you didn't pop it you should be fine in the case of making a starter. The only advantage to letting it swell is reassurance you have viable yeast. My only concern with your description is potential contamination when you popped the outer bag of the yeast, but there's really no way of knowing. I hope it all works out for you, and try to have some patience...
Measured OG was approximately 1.049, this is with some fuzzy math and googling to account for temperature correction of the post-boil wort. Thanks for the advice on the fridge. I should have known this but because I pitched the yeast into my first batch too warm I think I overcompensated and wanted to have the wort set up in a nice cold place.

I didn't touch the area of the bag that popped (it was actually the bottom of the bag). I sanitized the whole pack, maneuvered it around until I could cut an opposite corner (with sanitized scissors) and poured it out from there. Not too worried about contamination - It was a fairly short time between smacking the pack and pitching it into the starter. The nutrient bag was popped, by the way - I smacked the hell out of it!

Thanks again for the responses - I am relaxed and not worrying, I just like to learn how to make my practices better
__________________
Tupperwolf is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-10-2013, 01:12 AM   #7
Cyclman
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
 
Cyclman's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 4,227
Liked 384 Times on 336 Posts
Likes Given: 122

Default

Just be patient, from what you've written you should be just fine.

__________________

Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime! Bill Owen quote

Join the Beacon Point (Aurora, CO) Brewclub on Facebook- casual, fun brewing, drinking, socializing!

Cyclman is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-10-2013, 03:40 AM   #8
Demus
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,224
Liked 154 Times on 126 Posts
Likes Given: 6

Default

Sounds like you're on pretty solid ground. Even an underdone starter should be plenty for a 1.049 beer. How's it progressing?

__________________
Demus is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-10-2013, 12:12 PM   #9
zacster
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 996
Liked 19 Times on 18 Posts

Default

Warm it up and you'll be OK. Really the only potentially fatal mistake was in not sanitizing the smack pack before it popped on you, but even that is a small risk. Other than that, you'll recover from your other mistakes.

__________________
zacster is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-10-2013, 12:19 PM   #10
Tupperwolf
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 271
Liked 35 Times on 27 Posts
Likes Given: 38

Default

Well I left it out at 72 overnight and there was still zero activity in the blowoff, so I sprayed starsan around the lid and my hands and carefully pried up the edge. I was surprised to see a nice thick healthy looking krausen almost up to the lid and it smelled great!

I guess this bucket just does not seal at all. I figured the blowoff would be the path of least resistance for escaping gas during strong fermentation but apparently not. This is my first time using a bucket.

I've put the bucket back in the fridge (now at 60 or a little over) and will monitor the temps from here.

Thanks again for the advice!

__________________

Bottles: Weedwhacker Wheat, SimCity IPA, MO/Cascade SMaSH
Primary: Sasquatch Imperial Stout, Bee Cave Kolsch
Next to brew: Some sort of enamel-melting IPA and a nut brown

Tupperwolf is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
First time making a starter Delaney Fermentation & Yeast 7 02-07-2012 01:23 AM
first time making a starter and... akimbo78 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 4 01-08-2012 09:10 PM
First time making starter... jjones17 Fermentation & Yeast 10 12-09-2010 07:21 PM
First time making a starter.... fotomatt1 Fermentation & Yeast 16 01-03-2010 07:30 PM
First Time Making a Starter tgrier General Techniques 3 08-27-2008 09:51 PM