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Old 03-21-2010, 07:42 PM   #1
mjs483
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Default Is my starter infected?

So yesterday when I pulled my starter out of the fermentation chamber, I noticed a lot of dark almost burgundy or dark reddish/brown stuff at the bottom of my flask. (See pics link below). Is this just trubb from boiling the malt extract (I used extra light DME) or is this some kind of infection?

This was only about my 5th starter, but I don't remember the previous ones having anything but a nice white yeast cake on the bottom. To be on the safe side I didn't use this starter and ran to the brew shop and picked up some new yeast. I still have the starter though and may try to wash and store the yeast if you folks here think it is A-okay. What do you think?

Here's a link to pictures of it:
Note: You can use the Zoom and Rotate buttons to the upper right from the photo to zoom in and see better. After zooming in just drag with your mouse to move around.
http://picasaweb.google.com/10331888...eat=directlink

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Old 03-21-2010, 08:09 PM   #2
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how does it taste?

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Old 03-21-2010, 08:28 PM   #3
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It looks like you scorched your malt.

Taste it. The wort on the top - use a thief or a baster and grab some wort off the top. If it tastes ok, give the whole thing a swirl, get everything in suspension. Wait 20 mins, this will let the heavier caramalized malt drop out while the yeast stays suspended, pour off the liquid on top leaving the sediment behind, and restart your starter. If it looks the same then I would say you have an infection toss it, and start over. If it looks ok then feel free to pitch it.

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Old 03-21-2010, 10:07 PM   #4
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Interesting. Didn't realize I could scorch it that bad with a gas stove. So what exactly should it taste like? Very yeasty beer?

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Old 03-21-2010, 10:34 PM   #5
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Ok. Stuck a sanitized thief in there and pulled out a sample for tasting. Didn't taste bad at all actually. Tasted like a very light and somewhat malty beer. Even had a bit of carbonation. So now I need to decide what to do with it. I think I may try following the yeast washing instructions on the sticky post on this forum and then save it.

I guess I just scorched the malt extract during the boil...

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Old 03-21-2010, 11:01 PM   #6
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You are looking for a yeasty, light beer taste. No bad tastes: acid, banana, band-aids, etc. It's not gonna taste like a proper pale-ale or whatever. "Light, somewhat malty beer" would be a good description of good yeast.

Gas is actually easy to scorch or caramelize the sugars/malt, especially with a starter if you don't keep everything moving and some malt contact the flame it can scorch it pretty quick. Good news is that carbonation is pretty dense and will drop out of solution fairly quickly. Just make sure to leave it behind and start over, you should be fine.

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Old 03-21-2010, 11:11 PM   #7
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Will do. Thanks for all the info!

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