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Old 11-30-2009, 01:00 AM   #1
JamesM
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Default how long can you keep a starter?

I made a starter on Nov. 5th (3 and 1/2 weeks ago) for a brew date that never happened. The strain is White Labs WLP011 European Ale Yeast. Its sitting in a growler with its top wrapped over in alum foil at room temp. I'd hate to waste it so I thought I'd put in some more water and dextrose, wait for it to wake up, then use the yeast washing procedure so I can stash some in old WhiteLabs tubes.

Is this starter too far gone?

Does my plan sound good?

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:13 AM   #2
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I wouldn't risk using it. Starters can be good up to a few weeks, but only if you refridgerate it or keep it actively fermenting.

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:48 AM   #3
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what's the risk? infection or something else?

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Old 11-30-2009, 12:32 PM   #4
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infection is possible. Also, using old, tired yeast that's been stored improperly can leave off flavors in the beer.

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Old 11-30-2009, 02:23 PM   #5
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I disagree... I would probably wash it as is and put it into a vial for storage.

Just make sure you make a starter when you go to use it again... and confirm that it isn't infected and you are good to go IMO. That being said, I am really cheap and not willing to buy a fresh vial if I think there is a chance that I have some viable yeast... However, since starters (generally) don't contain hops, they don't have quite as long of a shelf life... so YMMV.

OTOH, why would you add dextrose to the starter? That is just getting the yeast used to eating simple sugars and making them too lazy to ferment maltose.

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Old 12-01-2009, 12:39 AM   #6
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Lazy yeast??? is this a real thing or are we personifying (sp?)

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Old 12-01-2009, 11:02 AM   #7
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If yeast begin to eat dextrose (a monosaccharide) they will become used to eating only simple sugars and when they reproduce, the next generations will be less able to convert maltose (a disaccharide) so... they will lack the ability to convert the beer sugar into booze and CO2 because they are only used to converting only the easy to consume sugars, like dextrose.

Maybe it is personifying... but, it is fairly close to what is going on.

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Originally Posted by How To Brew
A key condition to this recommendation is that the composition of the starter wort and the main wort must be very similar if the starter is pitched at or near peak activity. Why? Because the yeast in the starter wort have produced a specific set of enzymes for that wort's sugar profile. If those yeast are then pitched to a different wort, with a different relative percentage of sugars, the yeast will be impaired and the fermentation may be affected. Kind of like trying to change boats in mid-stream. This is especially true for starter worts made from extract that includes refined sugars. Yeast that has been eating sucrose, glucose/dextrose, or fructose will quit making the enzyme that allows it to eat maltose - the main sugar of brewer's wort.
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