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Old 08-12-2011, 08:38 PM   #1
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Default Starter viability question -- need fast answer

Ideally I need the answer to this question in the next 30 minutes-ish, so I'll be brief and then expound on the situation in a subsequent comment:

A vial of WLP001 got real hot during shipping. I am planning to use it in an extract IIPA with a target OG of ~1.090. I made a 1-qt starter. I didn't see any kraeusen for about 4 days, and then thought a little had come and gone and that was the whole show. Today is day 8 and it's actually got a healthy kraeusen and it looks like a fair bit of yeast sediment. My best opportunity to brew this beer will be tomorrow night at 9PM. What should I do?

Options I can think of:

* Do nothing now, pitch it however it is tomorrow.
* Make another starter right now, decant that one, and try to step it up one more level.
* Scrap the WLP001 and use some packets of US-05 I have on hand. (I know this is probably the most logical, but for a couple of different reasons I reeeallly don't want to)

Thoughts? The reason for the urgency is that if I am going to do another starter to try and step it up, I need to do it like right now.

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Old 08-12-2011, 08:46 PM   #2
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Longer version: There was a WLP840 in the same shipment, the box got left outside all day in direct sun in a freakin' heatwave. I made a 1-pt starter with that, and the lag time on the starter was a good 72 hours or maybe even a little longer. But it did take off eventually, I pitched it soon afterwards, and that beer is doin' just fine. So I'm not surprised it took this one longer to take off... but I am surprised it took THIS long. Eight days to have a healthy kraeusen! Hell, I haven't smelled it yet; for all I know I have an infection. But it looks real healthy, nice white creamy kraeusen, no pellicles or anything funny-lookin'.

My reasons for not wanting to use the US-05 are probably totally irrational... I had a beer recently that had a really weird ferment with US-05, so much yeast that it looked downright milky during primary fermentation, and I had a lot of trouble getting it to flocculate. And that beer tastes so sickly sweet I can barely even drink it. I know it's probably unrelated to the weird ferment, but... now I've got an IPA going that is doing the same thing, where I also used US-05. I haven't tasted it yet, but... I'm paranoid that I bought some packets from like a funky batch or something. I dunno, that's probably silly, cuz there's no way the yeast should make it taste <i>sweet</i> as long as the FG is low enough. Still worried though...

I probably should have made a 2-qt starter for this beer. Dunno what I was thinking.

Anyway, that's the story.

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Old 08-12-2011, 08:49 PM   #3
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If the WLP001 starter looks healthy by pitching time tomorrow then I'd use that. Otherwise, I'd go with 2 packets of US-05.

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:06 PM   #4
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I like that answer, since it involves least work

Incidentally, I just went down to the basement to check on something else, and I noticed that the IPA I referred to is starting to clear a bit. So that one weird fermentation may remain just one weird fluke. Geez I hope so...

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:09 PM   #5
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8 days seems too long to me. Almost sounds like it could have picked up something else which fermented it out. I'd go with the S-05 anyway. If you're having trouble getting it to floc then try using gelatin and cold crashing.

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:25 PM   #6
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I'd say it's madness to even think of pitching only 1 quart starter onto a 1.090 wort.
Double that, at least, and aerate the <bleep> out of it.
It sounds like your 1 quart is doing well, the doubling will take much less time.

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Old 08-13-2011, 01:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfman_48442
I'd say it's madness to even think of pitching only 1 quart starter onto a 1.090 wort.
Double that, at least, and aerate the <bleep> out of it.
It sounds like your 1 quart is doing well, the doubling will take much less time.
Heh, this reply would have been useful 4 hours ago . I'll just have to do my best.
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