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Old 11-21-2009, 04:20 PM   #1
Spannuta
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First attempt at making a starter last night and everything went fine. Simple enough. I made a 1 Liter starter with 1 vial of White labs (California Ale V 051) yeast and just used some shaking for aeration, OG ~1.048. I woke up this morning and was expecting to see somewhat vigorous fermentation but there is none. It is cloudy which would mean there is yeast in suspension. I was expecting to brew tonight and read that after 12-18 hours the yeast have done most of their growing. However, I have read other accounts as well. So...is my yeast alive? Have they expanded? Should I get another vial? Should I expect a lot of krausen? Should I wait longer?

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Old 11-21-2009, 04:25 PM   #2
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Starters are some of the most "un-exciting" fermentations ever. Of over a dozen starters with tubes, smack packs or bottle harvesting, I have ever only seen one Krauzen or "activity ring."

All that really matters is that creamy band o yeast at the bottom.





That one is cold crashed, but even if it is a t room temp, you should see the sediment in the bottom. I use a stirplate, but usually stop it a few hours early to let it settle.

The thing is, even if it's NOT ready...a starter that at least is beginning to work, is STILL BETTER than pitching yeast without a starter. And POSSIBLY better than delaying pitching and leaving a wort sitting un yeasted, and vulnerable to other micro-organisms.

It may not be ideal, but if the yeast have woken up to start tackling your starter, than it going to be less of a shock for them if you dumped them into your wort.

There's is some thought that with starters the best time to pitch them is at "High Krausen" that means during active fermentation of the starter, NOT as we often do, after the yeast has flocculated. More than likely you are going to be close to high krausen at 12-14 hours, meaning the yeast will be pretty active, and if you pitch everything in you will be dumping yeasts that should be past the lag and starting to wake up.

I once had a brew schedule change and pitched a combination of a 10 hour starter and an extra tube of the same yeast which I picked up on the way to the brew, and fermentation took off really fast.

So it's up to you...you have yeast in suspension now, and you are brewing late today, so that's STILL a lot of hours of happy yeast activity in your starter...so I wouldn't worry...

I mean you CAN get another tube and pour that with the starter you made...or just use what you got...it's still better than NOT making a starter.

Hope this helps.

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Old 11-21-2009, 04:37 PM   #3
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Alright, well that makes me feel better. I guess I was expecting it to act like a mini-brew and have some activity after 12 hours or so. I have heard others mention the "unexciting fermentation" of starters but I wasn't sure. I think I may have been worried because I bought this vial a month ago and planned to use it much earlier but we moved and other things came up. It has been in my fridge since then though. I am sure it was atleast 50% viable. I will probably just let it go until I brew later today and see how it goes. Thanks for you help Revvy!

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Old 11-21-2009, 04:41 PM   #4
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Bobby M recently did a test on year old stored yeast here; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/test...bility-126707/

And my LHBS cells outdated tubes and packs of yeast dirt cheap 2-3 dollars each and I usually grab a couple tubes of belgian or other interesting yeast when I am there and shove it in my fridge. and I have never had a problem with one of those tubes. I usually make a starter but I once pitched a year old tube of Belgian High Gravity yeast directly into a 2.5 gallon batch of a Belgian Dark Strong, and after about 4 days it took off beautifully.

With any stored, old yeast you just need first to apply the "sniff test" if it smell bad, especially if it smells like week old gorilla poop in a diaper left on the side of the road in the heat of summer.

Then make a starter, and if it takes off you are fine. The purpose of a starter is to reproduce any viable cells in a batch of yeast....that;s how we can grow a starter form the dregs in a bottle of beer incrementally...and that beer may be months old.

Even if you have a few still living cells, you can grow them....That's how we can harvest a huge starter (incrementally) from the dregs in a bottle of some commercial beers. You take those few living cells and grow them into more.

If yeast can be grown from a tiny amount that has been encased in amber for 45 million years, 45 million year old yeast ferments amber ale we really don't need to sweat too much about yeast viability....

we just need to think in terms of making starters.

In other words, you'll be fine.

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Old 11-21-2009, 04:43 PM   #5
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Default Thick Starter

Hey Revvy I have a question for you pertaining to this thread and starters. I made a starter using DME and Wyeast 1272. I used 1 qt of water to 1 cup of DME as per Palmers instructions, boiled, cooled, etc. Put it on the stirplate yesterday evening and went to check on it before bedtime and I could hardly see a vortex - this baby is thick! The stirplate was on a lower setting and was struggling to stir this up so I cranked it up full blast. The starter looks like it is doing well but my previous starters were made from 16 oz of water and 1/2 cup DME and were not nearly as thick. Is this "normal"? Montanaandy

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Old 11-21-2009, 04:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanaandy View Post
Hey Revvy I have a question for you pertaining to this thread and starters. I made a starter using DME and Wyeast 1272. I used 1 qt of water to 1 cup of DME as per Palmers instructions, boiled, cooled, etc. Put it on the stirplate yesterday evening and went to check on it before bedtime and I could hardly see a vortex - this baby is thick! The stirplate was on a lower setting and was struggling to stir this up so I cranked it up full blast. The starter looks like it is doing well but my previous starters were made from 16 oz of water and 1/2 cup DME and were not nearly as thick. Is this "normal"? Montanaandy
I'm sure it's fine....stop the stirplate and see what flocculates down and you'll know.
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Old 11-21-2009, 05:13 PM   #7
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Thanks Revvy. Montanaandy

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