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Old 10-22-2009, 05:34 PM   #1
Heimholder
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Default Yeast Starter - tastes like vinegar

Last weekend I was all set to brew my favorite double IPA recipe. Pulled my 2-quart WLP001 California Ale yeast starter out of the fridge to let it warm up. It had looked & smelled normal during its' 3-day incubation and then sat in the fridge for 2 days. I used standard sanitization practices, nothing different from previous successful starters I've done. Had a nice thick whitish layer of yeast on the bottom, transparent brownish liquid on top, looked pretty good.

Then I got bored while waiting for my water to boil and decided to taste the liquid and got a distinct vinegar taste! Gave it another smell, and it still smelled like yeast, not vinegar. I furiously googled, but could find very little info on how a starter should taste, just sight & smell. I concluded I didn't want to waste ~ $50 in ingredients, threw out the starter, and pitched a dry packet of Danstar Winstor instead (shooting foam out of the blow-off within 5 hours!)

Has anyone else tasted their starters? Should they taste like beer, or does it taste "off"? So now I'm wondering if I should taste all my starters since the sight/smell didn't clue me in at all to a potential problem. Or maybe I'll just stick with the Windsor since it's turning out to be quite the champ... Any thoughts?

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Old 10-22-2009, 06:14 PM   #2
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I tasted a starter with Irish Ale (White Labs) and I remember it being very "green" and fruity. Mostly though, I just go by smell.

However if it tasted like vinegar, there was probably some acetobacter in there and you did the right thing by tossing it.

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Old 03-28-2010, 11:34 PM   #3
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I'm sorry to revive a 6 month old thread, but I just went to use my WLP001 White Labs California Ale Yeast and the starter smells STRONGLY of vinegar. I wonder if it's this type of yeast???

Steve

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Last weekend I was all set to brew my favorite double IPA recipe. Pulled my 2-quart WLP001 California Ale yeast starter out of the fridge to let it warm up. It had looked & smelled normal during its' 3-day incubation and then sat in the fridge for 2 days. I used standard sanitization practices, nothing different from previous successful starters I've done. Had a nice thick whitish layer of yeast on the bottom, transparent brownish liquid on top, looked pretty good.

Then I got bored while waiting for my water to boil and decided to taste the liquid and got a distinct vinegar taste! Gave it another smell, and it still smelled like yeast, not vinegar. I furiously googled, but could find very little info on how a starter should taste, just sight & smell. I concluded I didn't want to waste ~ $50 in ingredients, threw out the starter, and pitched a dry packet of Danstar Winstor instead (shooting foam out of the blow-off within 5 hours!)

Has anyone else tasted their starters? Should they taste like beer, or does it taste "off"? So now I'm wondering if I should taste all my starters since the sight/smell didn't clue me in at all to a potential problem. Or maybe I'll just stick with the Windsor since it's turning out to be quite the champ... Any thoughts?

Thanks
Heimholder
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:49 AM   #4
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Interesting thread right here. I have been doing starters for all my beers since I started AG (going on 6 years) and I have always wanted to taste the beer that I decant, but I have never gotten around to it.



If it was me, I would have dumped th starter and threw in some dry yeast also if I tasted vinegar. But, I'll tell you what. I'm doing a starter with WLP300 next weekend. I'm going to try that friggin Beer that comes from the starter.

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Old 09-04-2010, 07:01 PM   #5
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Interesting thread right here. I have been doing starters for all my beers since I started AG (going on 6 years) and I have always wanted to taste the beer that I decant, but I have never gotten around to it.



If it was me, I would have dumped th starter and threw in some dry yeast also if I tasted vinegar. But, I'll tell you what. I'm doing a starter with WLP300 next weekend. I'm going to try that friggin Beer that comes from the starter.
Did you ever try this? I just tasted a bit of starter wort from my WLP300, and it tasted very sour. I'm curious as to whether it's an infection or if that's just what the starter wort tastes like since its so much yeast in such a small volume of wort?
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:57 PM   #6
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reviving this thread because im a little concerned with my starter. its a wyeast ringwood ale strain.. made is last night , just walked over to give it a swirl and it sort of smelled sort of like apple/cidery but behind it was beer smell... need some guidance on what to do...

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Old 09-06-2011, 05:01 PM   #7
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The apple is normal for fermentation. The yeast produce acetaldehyde during fermentation which smells and tastes like cider. They then convert that into ethanol.

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Old 09-06-2011, 05:05 PM   #8
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The beer on top of a starter often smells sour or apply or funky, since there are no hops added as a preservative. Especially in the summer it will turn quickly. But it doesn't mean anyhting, nor does it affect the starter itself. Especially if you decant it off.

Your not making beer with your starter, you're making yeast, what is above it really is of no consequence.

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Old 09-06-2011, 05:11 PM   #9
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thanks guys wish me luck on my chocolate oat stout, first ag aswell , wanted to do a 2.5g batch but this might explain betterhttp://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/i-go...roblem-266821/

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Old 09-06-2011, 09:10 PM   #10
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Boiling would have eliminated lacto and acetobacter. The starter should only be 'off' from oxidation, not contamination.

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