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Old 11-14-2007, 11:12 PM   #1
bulleitb
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Default Problems with Starter

First of all. Im new. My first batch turned out great. Now I might be getting ambitious trying to brew a lager. I boiled a quart of water with 6 oz. of liquid malt for about 10 minutes. I then cooled it to 70 degrees like the yeast pack said and then added the yeast to the starter wort. It is now 48 hours later and Ive got some very light bubbling but no real activity. There is also a pile of yeast at the bottom of the starter about a 1/2 inch thick. I thought starters were supposed to get going fast. My first attempt at a lager failed miserably and Im starting to get frustrated. Is this starter ever going to start?

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Old 11-14-2007, 11:15 PM   #2
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That's not uncommon for a starter. As long as you see some activity (bubbles), don't worry. Starters don't necessarily take off like normal fermentation does.

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Old 11-14-2007, 11:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor Frink
That's not uncommon for a starter. As long as you see some activity (bubbles), don't worry. Starters don't necessarily take off like normal fermentation does.
so I should wait another day to brew? Also, the yeast was a Wy'East Propogator Pack. I smacked it and shook it and it took like 12 hours for the package to swell, and it didnt swell too much. Maybe the yeast is just unusually slow?
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:40 PM   #4
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What kind of yeast specifically?

You're using WYeast, what number?

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Old 11-14-2007, 11:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brett
What kind of yeast specifically?

You're using WYeast, what number?
#2278 Czech Pils
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Old 11-14-2007, 11:52 PM   #6
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I've had similar issues with propagator packs. I now almost always spring for the "activator" packs. I still make starters, but they seem to take off a lot faster.

Anywho, my specific problems turned out to be nothing. I would recommend letting the starter go for another few days, then pitch as you normally would. The only other thing that I can think could possibly be a problem is the temperature. Either that or the yeast is dead.

Just kidding. Since the pack swelled I think you're fine.

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Old 11-15-2007, 03:54 AM   #7
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the fact that it took 12 hours to swell is the exact reason you should make starters. if it didn't swell, you'd have time to go get more yeast.

as long as you see yeast piling up at the bottom, its doing its thing, and that's the purpose...making more yeast.
I like the activator packs as well...more yeast in em...pitchable quantity...but not necessarily 'optimal'.

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Old 11-15-2007, 01:35 PM   #8
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In reality, starters arent even about activity. The main purpose of the starter is to get a head start on the growth and reproduction stage of yeast. It is not the bubbles in the airlock you are looking for, it is the layer of yeast on the bottom. With a 1/2 inch layer, I would say that your starter is doing very well. Just keep swirling that thing every so often and you will be good to pitch when the time comes.

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Old 11-15-2007, 04:07 PM   #9
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I made a starter for the first time a few days ago and had the same concerns, no noticeable activity at all for 3 days. probablly had about 1/2 inch at the bottom as well when i pitched it and it took off within 6-7 hours. yours should be fine.

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Old 11-15-2007, 04:22 PM   #10
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A one quart starter for a lager is pretty small but much better than no starter at all. If you have a half inch of yeast on the bottom I would say its done as most of the reproduction takes place in 12-18 hours.

My lager starters are normally 4 to 5 liters depending on the age of my smack pack.

There is a tone of great info here as well as a Yeast Pitching Calculator. http://www.mrmalty.com/

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