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PaulC 12-28-2011 04:21 PM

Brew day, but yeast starter not ready....Store my boiled wort?
 
Hi guys,
So in anticipation of brewing today, I made up a starter a few days ago. Well, it looks like the starter either didn't start or is going very slowly.

I won't have time later in the week to brew, so what I am thinking about doing is boiling my wort as per normal, cooling and transferring to my sanitary primary fermenter, sealing and letting it sit and wait a day or two while my starter gets going. Am I asking for trouble?

Thanks!

Double_D 12-28-2011 04:25 PM

You're going to get a half and half response to this. I'd say it depends on your sanitation practices but most likely you'll be fine. Of course you could just pitch your starter. That would be fine too.

PaulC 12-28-2011 04:27 PM

Also, forgot to mention one thing. The rubber stopper I have for my erlenmeyer flask just would not stay seated in the flask. It kept pushing out no matter what I did. I have used this before and while it has sometimes been annoying it has always ended up seating and sealing properly. I did not have any foil as all of it went to sealing up take home dishes of Christmas leftovers, so I ended up using a sanitized ziplock back held on with a rubber band. Is this okay, or could this be a reason why my starter didn't start? The flask was definitely open to the air a few times, but only for the minimum amount of time required to either attempt to reseal or finally give up and seal with the ziplock bag.


Thanks guys!

badbrew 12-28-2011 04:28 PM

A day sounds o.k. I wouldn't do 2. Make the starter on brew day and add it the next day.

badbrew 12-28-2011 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PaulC (Post 3606809)
Also, forgot to mention one thing. The rubber stopper I have for my erlenmeyer flask just would not stay seated in the flask. It kept pushing out no matter what I did. I have used this before and while it has sometimes been annoying it has always ended up seating and sealing properly. I did not have any foil as all of it went to sealing up take home dishes of Christmas leftovers, so I ended up using a sanitized ziplock back held on with a rubber band. Is this okay, or could this be a reason why my starter didn't start? The flask was definitely open to the air a few times, but only for the minimum amount of time required to either attempt to reseal or finally give up and seal with the ziplock bag.


Thanks guys!

Did you shake it around good as many times as you could?

PaulC 12-28-2011 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by badbrew (Post 3606820)
Did you shake it around good as many times as you could?

Yes, I shake it up every few hours or as often as I think of it. Also, the flask was in a 65 degree room. I have left them in 70+ degree rooms previously.

Revvy 12-28-2011 04:35 PM

You're starter took off fine, you just are probably looking for signs that weren't there. Go ahead and brew and pitch today.

After 3-4 days your starter is most assuredly finished. Yeast just doesn't not work like most new brewers think it doesn't.

Here's what you need to know about starters.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Revvy (Post 3598295)
Activity in a starter really only means one thing and one thing only.

It doesn't matter one blip in your fermenter or your starter flask if the airlock bubbles or not (if you are using an airlock and not tinfoil if you are using tinfoil, you aren't getting bibbling anyway,) or if you see a krauzen. In fact starter fermentation are some of the fastest or slowest but most importantly, the most boring fermentations out there. Usually it's done withing a few hours of yeast pitch...usually overnight when we are sleeping, and the starter looks like nothing ever happened...except for the little band at the bottom. Or it can take awhile...but either way there's often no "activity" whatsoever....

I usually run my stirplate for the first 24 hours, then shut it down, if you are spinning your starter it is really hard to get a krausen to form anyway, since it's all spinning, and there's often a head of foam on it from the movement.


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



http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_QnWMzNoOKj...hilled_001.jpg

This is a chilled sample so it's flocculated, but even with an unchilled sample you should see a band of yeast at the bottom. Here's an unchilled version

http://www.the-gift-of-wine.com/Images/starter.jpg

Same thing, a band.

As it is I've only ever seen two or three krausens actually on my starter (one blew off a bunch of krausen and knocked the tinfoil off the flask,) and the evidence of one on the flask at the "waterline" once. But I've never not had a starter take off.

Look for the yeast at the bottom, don't worry what it looks like on top.

If you have yeast on the bottom....that's all you really need.

If it looks anything like that, your are ready to either feed it again, or use it.

I betcha you are fine.

Revvy 12-28-2011 04:44 PM

New brewers have this idea in their heads, based on books written 30 years ago that brewing yeast is a weak sickly thing, that it often "dies" or fails to start. When in reality unless you freeze it or dumped it into boiling wort it's going to do it's job 99.99% OF THE TIME.

I wish I could inject massive doses of rdwhahb into all your brains so you wouldn't have freakout moments. I hope that by providing you all with detailed info, you'd see how most of the time you are all stressing out for absolutely nothing...Or are going by wrong "cues" and looking for signs (like airlock bubbling/krausen, etc) that sometimes just aren't there.

The yeasts are our friends, and they're stronger and more resilient than we often give them credit for.

If 45 million year old yeast that was preserved in amber could be grown into a starter and beer made from it, really why would you think your yeast would be any different?

The yeast wants to work for us, it wants to F*&k and eat sugar and fart co2 and pee alcohol, it's the entire purpose for living. That's in it's dna.....

You guys just gotta breath and learn to trust.

I've brewed hundreds of batches of beer, with both liquid and dry yeast and I've never had yeast not do what it's supposed to do.

Most of the times the folks who think their yeast is dead are looking for signs that really don't tell you anything, can be missed outright or mis interpreted, like lack of airlock bubbling for instance.

Colobrewer has a great thread that I wish more folks would read. Stop bashing my yeast friends!!!

PaulC 12-28-2011 04:47 PM

Thanks Revvy,

I have made 4 starters prior to this one, and all of them ended up with a thicker yeast band at the bottom of the flask, which is what I interpreted as a slow starter.

I haven't used this yeast before, so I guess it is possible that there is just more in suspense than others, but I wanted to make sure the yeast was good before I pitched. I am making a Dunkelwiezen, and my only backup yeast is a WLP530 Belgian Abbey Ale, which seems like it wouldn't be the best comination.

All that said, I really have no clue so maybe I should just brew, pitch what I have and forget about it.

Revvy 12-28-2011 04:55 PM

Sounds to me like you have "expectations" of how your beer is supposed to act, and you're stressing out because it's not acting to your expectation. "Not enough krausen, too much of this, not at my time frame."

The problem is not that there's anything wrong, in fact it sounds like everything's progressing hunky dory, the problem is that you are imposing your expectations on the beer, instead of trusting the yeast to do their jobs, and acknowledge the wildcard factor that you get with living micro-organisms.

I find that my beer behaves just fine whether I try to expect it to behave a certain way or not...And I find that I worry less, if I just pitch my yeast and walk away, and not expect the airlock or the amount of krausen or the timeframe to behave according to me.

I realized that I'm not the boss of this, the yeast are, and they have their own timeframe, their own agenda, and ways of doing things.

There is nothing "typical" in brewing...every fermentation is different, and should not be used to compare one with another...you can't do that.

No two fermentations are ever exactly the same.

When we are dealing with living creatures, there is a wild card factor in play..Just like with other animals, including humans...No two behave the same.

You can split a batch in half put them in 2 identical carboys, and pitch equal amounts of yeast from the same starter...and have them act completely differently...for some reason on a subatomic level...think about it...yeasties are small...1 degree difference in temp to us, could be a 50 degree difference to them...one fermenter can be a couple degrees warmer because it's closer to a vent all the way across the room and the yeasties take off...

Someone, Grinder I think posted a pic once of 2 carboys touching each other, and one one of the carboys the krausen had formed only on the side that touched the other carboy...probably reacting to the heat of the first fermentation....but it was like symbiotic or something...


Yeasts are like teenagers, swmbos, and humans in general, they have their own individual way of doing things.

When you brew enough, you'll understand.

"This yeast band is thinner than x yeast" really doesn't mean much. Different yeasts are going to produce different amounts of everything, krausen, airlock bubbles, trub, etc. The variables are too many to try to compare....

You have to start like I said with the premise that your yeast is fine...and knows what it needs to do.

That it's not 30 years ago and the yeast didn't arrive in a hot cargo ship from germany and sat on a shelf in some grocery store for god knows how long (which was the condition of most yeast 30 years ago when Papazain wrote his book, and then influenced palmer to write his.

It's the 21st century, in MOST situations, except for rare situations where a strain gets recalled like Nottingham a couple years back, you should begin with the idea that everything's fine...

Because most of the time it is.

You have a band of yeast....regardless of what size YOU think it should be, it's the right size for what it needs to be.

And it will ferment your beer.


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