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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Is my starter OK?
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Old 10-29-2014, 06:15 PM   #1
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Default Is my starter OK?

Soon Monday I started some Wyeast American Ale II. It was an older package, and the Mr. Malty calculator said it had 3% viability.I had just been agitating it by hand, and took it into the bedroom with me on Monday night. That night the fire went out, and the room got pretty cold. Maybe 50°. I slowly warmed it back up into the mid 60s and agitated it throughout the day yesterday, but there were no obvious signs of life. I figured that either because of the age or the drop in the temperature the yeast wasn't viable at all, and I needed to get a new pack. This morning as soon as I touched it it sprang to life, and produce a nice rich foam as soon as I agitated it. Is it okay to brew with?

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:18 PM   #2
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If it was only 3%, are you planning to do a multi-stage starter? I would think that you're still way low on the cell count for a 5g batch.

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:21 PM   #3
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We're not using the term "starter" as a term for a little personal happy time are we?

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:21 PM   #4
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The OG I'm brewing is 1.05. Would a multistage be necessary?

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:28 PM   #5
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if there is 3% viability you definitely need to step up a few times. 1 time will probably not be enough.

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:29 PM   #6
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I'm not sure how to even determine how many stages you'd need to get from 3% viability to enough cells. Mr Malty says you need 4L of slurry or 11vials of 3%. Somebody with more experience might have a better clue. If it were me I'd go at least another stage (double the volume of your original), then cold crash and look at the volume of sediment. Part of it will be dead yeast cells from straight out of the package, the rest will be newly created cells - you want to make sure you have enough new cells.

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:33 PM   #7
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OK... sorry, I'm fairly new to this. When I pitch should I just be using the sludge at the bottom, or the whole volume of the starter?

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:37 PM   #8
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As long as you cold crash and/or leave it sit to settle out you just want the sediment. The yeast will fall to the bottom once they have stopped eating the sugars. In a typical starter that happens after about 24hours. The liquid above is now devoid of sugars and would only dilute the wort that you want to ferment.

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:38 PM   #9
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OK, that makes sense. I feel like an idiot for pitching the whole thing. So can I just boil up a new volume of sugar for the small layer of sediment that I've got from this 2l batch?

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Old 10-29-2014, 06:44 PM   #10
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I don't recall the recommended step size... it might be 2x or 4x or more between steps. So if you did a 2L starter you should do a 1g (4L) for the 2nd stage. But even if you only have room to do another 2L, another stage at that size is better than nothing.

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