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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Yeast Geek 001/Conan Starter - Tart Taste?
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:09 PM   #1
brewinginct
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Default Yeast Geek 001/Conan Starter - Tart Taste?

About three weeks ago, I made a half-gallon yeast starter with 2 vials of the Yeast Geek 001 strain, which is supposed to be the conan strain.

I let this ferment for one week, put it in the fridge for the second. Then I took it out for a third week at room temperature, just to make sure all of the sugars were eaten.

Today I decanted the starter wort into a couple of pint glasses, and split up the yeast between three mason jars and a fresh starter.

The thing is, the starter wort is tart. It's not a completely bad taste, but not what I've ever experienced with a yeast starter before.

I know this yeast can give off some peach notes, but is this normal? I'm worried I have an infection on my hands, although apart from the taste, the starter wort had no off flavor and looked healthy.

Thoughts?

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Old 09-09-2013, 09:16 PM   #2
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How tart are we talking? If it's fairly strong, it could be an infection, but I wouldn't dump it or do anything drastic until you hear from others that have used that specific product from Yeast Geek.

Personally, I have used that strain before and propped it up from a colony, and I never had a strong tart taste. Fruity, yes. But tart like a sour, no.

Good Luck! CHeers!

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Old 09-09-2013, 09:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply. It's somewhere not strong enough to make you pu

Another note, I poured off a container of the starter after the first week for a friend and they brewed a light pale ale with no flavor issues. Perhaps the off-flavor is from the starter wort sitting in the container for an additional couple of weeks after?

Anyone else???

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Old 09-10-2013, 01:12 AM   #4
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Starters can taste pretty gross in general because you're dealing with unhopped oxidized wort that fermented at high temps.

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Old 09-11-2013, 05:29 AM   #5
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I just sampled the starter wort from this same yeast tonight and had the exact same thoughts. Tart. I'm curious if this is normal from this strand or if I'm about to ruin the beer I'm brewing....

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Old 09-17-2013, 09:12 PM   #6
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I've been dealing with the same thing, but I've been taking dregs directly from cans of heady topper to make a starter batch. It's been maddening! I've been convinced that I've been infecting each and every batch and then dumping it and trying it again. I'm on the FOURTH ATTEMPT and once again the starter smells slightly tart, similar to an infected batch of beer I had before... I don't want to say "screw it" and pitch the yeast into a 5 gallon batch of IPA only to realize that it is actually infected... but I cant seem to find any other explanation as my sanitizing methods are solid... I'm interested to hear your results.

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Old 09-18-2013, 12:22 AM   #7
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Well, I fermented/decanted the starter that I made from the suspect half-gallon starter. The beer from this new starter was slightly tart, but then again there was a lot of wort from the original half-gallon starter in this second starter, which could account for the taste.

After I decanted the newer starter, I added about 300 ml of wort, just to get the yeast active before I pitched it. I wasn't able to taste the yeast before I pitched it, but it smelled very yeasty (in a healthy way). I only pitched it this past Saturday, but I just pulled a small sample and don't detect any tart flavors/aroma. The fermentation looked normal/healthy as well, and it's already starting to flocculate. It's still early to really say, but these are all encouraging signs.

I looked through more threads about this issue, and found that a lot of of people attribute the tart wort to the fact that these starters are made in the summer with no hops, and the high ambient temperatures make the starter wort spoil. That seems plausible, and if that is the case, hopefully the bacteria that spoils the wort doesn't linger in the yeast culture.

I'll post another update in a week or so, once the beer finishes primary and starts to condition.

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Old 09-18-2013, 02:33 PM   #8
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So I did something very similar to OP. I made a 1.4L starter, let it ferment for a couple days on a stir plate and then put it in the fridge. The fermentation had almost no krausen, and I never got any peachy notes or really much smell of fermentation in general. I have had WLP001 have so much krausen that it overflow'd my 2L flask.

So after about a week of sitting in the fridge, I finally decanted the wort and split the starter batch into two mason jars. OMG the smell was terrible, I can not pin point what it smells like, but its not good. Yeast looked OK, a soft white color. I will most likely build up another starter and see what its like, and possibly make a small batch of beer to test the yeast out. I am very interested to hear OP's story about how his beer turns out. Going to be a total bummer since I found a heady topper clone and was very excited to try making that!

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Old 09-18-2013, 08:57 PM   #9
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I've settled on making a simple 1 gallon IPA batch and using the yeast I've propagated on it to see if it produces any tart off-flavors. If it gives me a desirable beer I'll just chalk it up to a mystery and continue growing up my own personal Conan supply! I'll Update with any progress. Not sure when I'll get to make my 1 gallon batch, but it will hopefully be this weekend.

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Old 09-18-2013, 09:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewinginct View Post
I let this ferment for one week, put it in the fridge for the second. Then I took it out for a third week at room temperature, just to make sure all of the sugars were eaten.

Today I decanted the starter wort into a couple of pint glasses, and split up the yeast between three mason jars and a fresh starter.
a week for each of your 3 steps is too long. a starter should be done in less than 3 days, especially if it's on a stir plate. going 7 days just gives extra time for other nasties to potentially take up residence. rarely a problem if you sanitation is good, but why chance it?

48 hours is typically enough to get the yeast to settle out, 72 max. going a full week isn't going to hurt much, just longer than needed.

leaving it out at room temp for a week after the cold crash is a bad idea. your fear of there being uneaten sugars is misplaced. in fact, you starved your yeast for a week because they had nothing to eat but were warmed up, so they became active. they had to dig into their energy reserves. you want the yeast to use those reserves for fermenting your beer, not staying alive in an old starter devoid of nutrition. next time, pull the starter out of the fridge a few hours before pitching. or: pull it out and feed it again to get the yeast active for a few hours, then pitch the whole thing into your beer (decant the old spent wort before adding the fresh stuff).

my typical starter regimen for a saturday brew day:
tuesday night or wednesday AM: boil and cool starter wort, pitch yeast, put on stir plate
thursday before bed: put starter in fridge
saturday early afternoon: pull starter out of fridge, set on counter to slowly warm up
saturday late afternoon: decant spent wort, swirl up yeast, and pitch.
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