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Old 03-14-2010, 03:42 PM   #1
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Default (lack of) yeast starter activity

I tried making 3 yeast starters yesterday by boiling 1 Liter of water and adding 100 grams of DME per batch. These were for Wyeast smack packs which I did smack an hour prior to adding to the yeast starter. 1 of the 3 batches shows activity but how do I really know if the other 2 batches are going to be ok? I have strirred them gently every 2 hours and they have been mixed for 14 hours so far? Thus, how do I know if these yeast are viable?

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Old 03-14-2010, 03:49 PM   #2
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forgot to mention that I did cool the water/dme solution to around 70 F prior to adding the yeast and I sanitized eveything including the foil covering the tops of the bottles. The water/dme was boiled for 10 minutes.

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Old 03-14-2010, 05:02 PM   #3
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Not sure what you started them in. From what I understand about Smack Packs though is you get a lot of cell growth after smacking if you leave the yeast in the pack--yeast mixes with nutrient... and that you give them more of a headstart if you leave them in the pack for 3 to 8 hours. It provides a built in viability test too--because the pack swells... then you can know if they're kicking before they hit the starter wort.

If you've already pitched, and still don't know... if you made your starters in bottles with airlocks--you can tell from the airlock if their viable right? Because you'll see all the normal signals that fermentation is active.

Short of that--if your starters are not in sealed bottles and able to signal fermentation--I don't know if another viability test. Sorry if that's not helpful.

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Old 03-14-2010, 05:16 PM   #4
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I did the same as you a few days ago. I did mine Thursday afternoon for my brew on Friday. I went for 24 hours and all I got was aittle action. Just streams of bubbles up the side. I pitched it in my wort and about 16 hours later it was going nuts!! So you might be having some lag.

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Old 03-14-2010, 05:24 PM   #5
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There is very little activity with making starters, rarely do they bubble, even more rarely is there a krausen that we see. The only true activity that most of us see is just a creamy band at the bottom when it flocculates out.

Starters are some of the most "un-exciting" fermentations ever.



That one is cold crashed, but even if it is a t room temp, you should see the sediment in the bottom. I use a stirplate, but usually stop it a few hours early to let it settle.

Basically if you see a creamy band of sediment at the bottom, then it's done it's job.

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Old 03-14-2010, 05:30 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the help. From the picture Revy posted I can see the same type of sediment on the bottoms of my flasks. I forgot to mention that I am using larger Erlinmeyer flasks for the starters but I did not whisk the boiled water/dme liquid prior to adding the yeast. Thus, there may not be a significant amount of oxygen to begin with. I am using sanitized foil tops that are not too tight so that some O2 can get into the solution.

If my final product matches the picture posted by Revy, should I swirl the contents prior to adding it to the cooled wort so that I get the slurry mixture at the bottom or do I want to try to not add that mixture? Sorry if this is a NOOB type question but this is the first time I have tried making yeast starters.

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Old 03-14-2010, 07:15 PM   #7
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It's really a matter of choice, though it seems most folks, myself included like to decant most of the "starter beer" off the top of the yeast. Often that liquid will sour, unless, like some brewers do, a hop pellet or two is added to it. So although it wont harm our beer, especially in such a small quantity, who wants to add soured beer to our fermentation?

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Old 03-14-2010, 07:21 PM   #8
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Good to know and I will definitley try this today. I have 4 batches that I want to get done in the next 2 days. If I get 2 done today, should I leave the yeast starters for the other 2 batches out at room temperature or should I place them in the refrigetator until tomorrow afternoon?

Thanks for the quick relpy. My membership here and buying BeerSmith have been some of the best values I have received in the last several years.

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Old 03-14-2010, 07:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
It's really a matter of choice, though it seems most folks, myself included like to decant most of the "starter beer" off the top of the yeast. Often that liquid will sour, unless, like some brewers do, a hop pellet or two is added to it. So although it wont harm our beer, especially in such a small quantity, who wants to add soured beer to our fermentation?
I know for me, I do the starter usually 2 days before I brew. I never do it ahead then refridgerate. Again, it's a personal choice. I usually pour everything into the beer. Yeast and all, because there is still a lot of yeast in suspension. So I want them too. If your starter gets to a point where the liquid is really clear, then I'd say decant some of it, leave a little to swirl the yeast off the bottom and pitch to your wort.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkSide View Post
I know for me, I do the starter usually 2 days before I brew. I never do it ahead then refridgerate. Again, it's a personal choice. I usually pour everything into the beer. Yeast and all, because there is still a lot of yeast in suspension. So I want them too. If your starter gets to a point where the liquid is really clear, then I'd say decant some of it, leave a little to swirl the yeast off the bottom and pitch to your wort.
Yeah, i've been known to do the same thing if it's only been 24-48 hours on a starter, just dump it all. Like we both said, it's really a matter of choice.
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