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Old 07-07-2008, 01:48 PM   #1
DutchK9
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Default Starter doesn't appear to be doing anything

I was planning on brewing a hefe Wednesday and started my liquid starter on Saturday night. I used 400ml water and 1/2 cup light DME and boiled it for 20 minutes. Then chilled to 70* and added my WYeast 3068 WHNSTPHN W yeast to the batch and put it on my homemade spinner.
On the last yeast batch I made for my Sierra Nevada Pal Ale, the next morning the beaker was over flowing from fermentation activity. But on this batch all I saw was spinning wort. The things I did different were, instead of putting on an airlock, I put on some foil that loosely covered the opening, and didn't put in the yeast fuel thinking I would save it for the primary fermentation.
After seeing what looked like no activity, I added the fuel packet and kept it spinning. Later that night it still looked as if nothing was working, so I gave it a 30 second shot of oxygen and stopped the spinner until last night where I started it again but very slowly and put an airlock on it so I can look for bubbles. Now it is Monday morning and still I have nothing. I know it can take up to 72 hours according to some of the things I have read on the forum, but since a Hefe is a beer that has high fermentation, shouldn't I have seen something by now?

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Old 07-07-2008, 01:58 PM   #2
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The one thing I've learned is that there is no consistancy where yeasts are concerned...They are living things after all.

I've had starters that had krauzen and I've had starters that looked like nothing happened...but was fine.

Turn off your stirplate and let it rest for a couple hours and see if you have flocculation and yeast settling out in the bottom. I've noticed on some that I don't get krauzening until I turn off my stir plate...then a few hours later I get a nice yeast bloom.

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Old 07-07-2008, 03:37 PM   #3
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Okay I will try turning it off again. I did see some settling at the bottom when I turned it off last time, but I am new with liquid yeast and a rookie brewer period so I thought maybe it was just yeast from the package. I appreciate your quick response.

If I pitch it after brewing and it doesn't do anything after a day or two, can I pitch dry yeast on top of it?

If so, which kind would be the best?

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Old 07-07-2008, 03:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DutchK9 View Post
Okay I will try turning it off again. I did see some settling at the bottom when I turned it off last time, but I am new with liquid yeast and a rookie brewer period so I thought maybe it was just yeast from the package. I appreciate your quick response.

If I pitch it after brewing and it doesn't do anything after a day or two, can I pitch dry yeast on top of it?

If so, which kind would be the best?
Your best would be to RDWHAHB for 72 hours....and to remember that bubbling in the airlock means nothing, and only your hydrometer will tell you

You're brewing a hefe though...I don't think you'll have to worry about anything...in fact you may want to rig up a blowoff tube.
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Old 07-09-2008, 02:22 PM   #5
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Patience and time are two of the best tools for any brewer.

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Old 07-10-2008, 05:45 AM   #6
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Well my friends you were correct once again! I brewed up my wort today and pitched the yeast I thought was dead. After 3 hours I had slight bubbling, and after 5 hrs I have 1" krausen.
Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it!

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Old 07-11-2008, 01:42 AM   #7
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If it makes you feel any better, the WLP300 hefe starter I made last Friday did the same thing, looked like a whole lot of nothing. I pitched it, checked it the next morning and there was a hefty amount of krausen in the blowoff tube. Also, not that I'm a pro by any means but from everything I've read you want to keep the starter OG between 1.03 - 1.04 and you definitely want to use yeast nutrient. Don't forget that the purpose of the starter is to produce a reasonable amount of healthy yeast, not a lot of weak yeast. Don't remember where I read it but someone stated it to the tune of "If you were building a house, would you rather have a team of fifty 80 year olds or twenty-five 30 year olds?" I only mention because a half cup of DME in 400ml seems like it would result in a fairly high OG.

Chris

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Old 07-12-2008, 02:49 PM   #8
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If it makes you feel any better, the WLP300 hefe starter I made last Friday did the same thing, looked like a whole lot of nothing. I pitched it, checked it the next morning and there was a hefty amount of krausen in the blowoff tube. Also, not that I'm a pro by any means but from everything I've read you want to keep the starter OG between 1.03 - 1.04 and you definitely want to use yeast nutrient. Don't forget that the purpose of the starter is to produce a reasonable amount of healthy yeast, not a lot of weak yeast. Don't remember where I read it but someone stated it to the tune of "If you were building a house, would you rather have a team of fifty 80 year olds or twenty-five 30 year olds?" I only mention because a half cup of DME in 400ml seems like it would result in a fairly high OG.

Chris
Makes sense. How much DME to you use? I seen that amount with the starter kit I purchased and online elsewhere. I have never tested the OG on my starters, I guess I should start doing it. Should the OG always be between 1.03-1.04? Or is it specific to the brew you are making?
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