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Old 06-16-2013, 12:34 PM   #1
Kozwald
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Default First Yeast Starter Issues

Ok, this question has been asked 1 million times but I've read many threads on this and am still not sure about the outcome.
Last night I tried my first yeast starter by boiling 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of DME. I let it cool, added it to a sanatized growler and then added a vile of White Labs WLP800. I then added some more water to bring it up to 2Liters of volume. That was around 8pm last night. I shook it a few times before going to bed.
This morning there is no evidence of anything going on. The liquid is still cloudy, no krausen or yeast on the bottom of the bottle.
I was planning on brewing a pilsner this morning but am worried about the yeast. Did I mess up when I added the extra water??

Any suggestions??????

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Old 06-16-2013, 01:24 PM   #2
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It's very common to not see signs of fermentation in the starter. If you swirl it, you should hear co2 come out of the solution. (Sounds like soda carbonation in a glass). Since you're in a growler, which I'm assuming is brown, it's hard to see the yeast settle on the bottom.

Yes, you should not have added water to the starter without sanitizing it first but that wouldn't stop your starter from working (unless the added water was so hot that it killed the yeast, or so cold that it made them dormant--not likely!). In the future, make sure you sanitize anything that yeast will touch. I doubt this would lead to an infection, but it is possible.

You can either step it up again and see if you get more noticeable signs to convince yourself it's good, or go ahead and pitch and check your brew. Worst case if you pitch and its dead, is that it won't ferment and you'll have to go buy more yeast.

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Old 06-16-2013, 01:41 PM   #3
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DocScott, thanks for the input. The solution does fizz / foam when I swirl it but then nothing after the foam disapates. The growler is actually clear so I have good view of the bottom.
I'll probably just go ahead and use this yeast and see what happens.

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Old 06-16-2013, 02:17 PM   #4
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Half a cup of DME in 2 cups of water is about the right proportions for a starter (actually it's a little bit strong). But you then topped it up to 2 liters. This is going to dilute the starter, and give it an OG of ~ 1.010. You're starving you yeasties and I doubt that they will reproduce to the extent that you want.

-a.

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Old 06-16-2013, 03:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
Half a cup of DME in 2 cups of water is about the right proportions for a starter (actually it's a little bit strong). But you then topped it up to 2 liters. This is going to dilute the starter, and give it an OG of ~ 1.010. You're starving you yeasties and I doubt that they will reproduce to the extent that you want.

-a.
That's what I was thinking. You thinned it out way too much.

I'd crash/decant the current one and then add some freshly prepped starter wort. Since it sounds like a simple starter (no stir plate), you may need to plan on giving it more time.
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Old 06-16-2013, 03:56 PM   #6
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Try using YeastCalc next you make a starter. It has a DME calculator that tells you how much water and DME to use for whatever size and gravity starter you are making.

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Old 06-16-2013, 03:57 PM   #7
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Starters using the intermittent shaking method will take about three days to finish. Some brewers pitch their starters when they are at high krausen which can reduce the time by one day. I use YeastCalc for starter calculations and yeast information. http://yeastcalc.com/
Happy brewing.

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Old 06-16-2013, 05:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf
Half a cup of DME in 2 cups of water is about the right proportions for a starter (actually it's a little bit strong). But you then topped it up to 2 liters. This is going to dilute the starter, and give it an OG of ~ 1.010. You're starving you yeasties and I doubt that they will reproduce to the extent that you want.

-a.
+1. I didn't see the op added water to 2L total volume!
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:51 PM   #9
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Thanks again for all the input. I went ahead and brewed the batch and used the starter as is. I'll see if anything happens in the next couple of days.

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Old 06-16-2013, 07:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocScott View Post
+1. I didn't see the op added water to 2L total volume!
This. Always use the exact volume of water when u boil. Topping off runs the risk of contaminating it as well, thats why u always wanna boil with what ur gonna need, maybe just a hair extra to account for boil off.
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