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Wingfan13 06-19-2011 01:50 PM

Quick yeast starter question
 
I have a quick question I was hoping someone could help me with. I
made a yeast starter Friday afternoon and it was kind of a train
wreck just because I had a boil over. I do not have a stir plate so as
often as I can remember I give the starter a swirl. I was going to brew
today but every time I check on it, it seems the yeast has just
settled to the bottom of the container and there is no visible sign of
any fermentation. When I swirl the yeast is very chunky and does not mix well.

Is this normal ? Should I be concerned ? Thanks in advance.

Eoin 06-19-2011 02:22 PM

What was the size of your starter and what temperature did you ferment at?

If you made the starter on Friday and today is Sunday, I would say it is probably done fermenting. You most likely missed it in the overnight. If I'm not mistaken, and I'm sure I will be if I am wrong, a starter will completely ferment out in 24 to 48 hours.

As far as the chunky goes that is normal but if you agitate at this point you are mist like just putting the yeast back into suspension until they settle back down since they are probably done.

What beer are you using this starter for ?

Wingfan13 06-19-2011 02:32 PM

If I missed any signs of fermentation it happened during the night when i was sleeping but there is no krausen at all. I have been swirling it every hour or two so if it did show signs, I would have seen it.

The starter is for a brown ale and it was 1000ml. My home brew shop has directions I printed out and I used 3 cups of water to 3oz DME.

It just looks like beer on top of a yeast cake.

Eoin 06-19-2011 02:45 PM

That sounds about right to me. If you were swirling while you were awake every two hours, then there would not have been time to form a krausen. One might have formed overnight but would probably have fallen by morning. A starter ferments out really fast.

And your starter should look like beer on top of a yeast cake. I'm sure the yeast cake is more volume that the original pack of yeast you pitched.

If your concern is that there isn't like a gallon (figuratively speaking) of yeast at the bottom of the container... I have to review my How to Brew, but I believe (and someone chime in if I am wrong) that you don't even double the amount of yeast in a vial or smack pack with a 1000ml starter. You do with a 2000ml but not a 1000ml.

Wingfan13 06-19-2011 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eoin (Post 3017626)
That sounds about right to me. If you were swirling while you were awake every two hours, then there would not have been time to form a krausen. One might have formed overnight but would probably have fallen by morning. A starter ferments out really fast.

And your starter should look like beer on top of a yeast cake. I'm sure the yeast cake is more volume that the original pack of yeast you pitched.

If your concern is that there isn't like a gallon (figuratively speaking) of yeast at the bottom of the container... I have to review my How to Brew, but I believe (and someone chime in if I am wrong) that you don't even double the amount of yeast in a vial or smack pack with a 1000ml starter. You do with a 2000ml but not a 1000ml.

Good point. There definitely is more yeast than what I started with. I guess I expected to see signs of fermentation and there wasn't any. Not even anything sticking to the sides of the container.

Wingfan13 06-19-2011 02:53 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Here are a couple of pictures. I think I am going to dump most of the liquid in case my ration was off from the boil over.

PantherCity 06-19-2011 02:58 PM

That looks good. If you are going to decant the starter I would suggest cold crashing it in the fridge over night then pooring of the "starter beer".

Wingfan13 06-19-2011 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PantherCity (Post 3017652)
That looks good. If you are going to decant the starter I would suggest cold crashing it in the fridge over night then pooring of the "starter beer".

Just to drop all the yeast ? I need to brew today though. Should I just pitch the whole thing and cross my fingers instead ?

Eoin 06-19-2011 03:01 PM

If you are going to decant the liquid, I would definitely put it in the fridge first to settle out all the yeast. If you have only had that on you counter an have been trying to swirl it, there are probably still a bunch of yeast in suspension and without settling them out, they will get wasted.

I wouldn't worry about that boil over and if you are brewing today, I would pitch the whole thing.

Do you know the OG of your ale?

Eoin 06-19-2011 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wingfan13
Just to drop all the yeast ? I need to brew today though. Should I just pitch the whole thing and cross my fingers instead ?

I usually put it in the fridge in the morning of brew day and pull it out at the start of the boil and decant. By the time I am ready to pitch the starter is back up to room temperature.


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