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Old 07-07-2009, 06:34 PM   #1
The_Fledgling_Brewer
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Default Should I dilute this starter? Buy new yeast?

Tomorrow a friend and I are brewing a Fat Tire clone ("Beer Captured" recipe, extract version, target O.G. of 1.048-1.050). We made a yeast starter yesterday afternoon. We used a propagator pack and followed the Wyeast starter recipe, 2 cups light DME with 2 liters of water, plus 1/4 tsp nutrient. Didn't take an O.G. before pitching because I assumed the recipe would put me in the correct gravity range. Twenty-four hours later I'm a little concerned. It smells yeasty and there is some increased cloudiness at the bottom of the growler, but there has never been much bubbling/foaming activity even when I swirl. (Unlike a smaller starter I made a few weeks ago for another batch. That one would try to overflow when I swirled it.) Took a reading a few hours ago and the S.G. is at 1.060(!). Clearly I did something wrong when mixing ingredients.

To complicate matters, the yeast (Belgian Abbey II Wyeast W1762) was mail-ordered because it is unavailable locally. Was delivered to my friend (new brewer) with the other ingredients and he didn't realize it needed to be refrigerated. It sat in the insulated shipping pack for two extra days after delivery. (Did I mention we're learning?) Pack, which was dated mid-May, was smacked on Saturday morning and was about halfway expanded when he brought it over yesterday (Monday).

So, between the elevated gravity and the storage conditions, is this yeast going to be too stressed to use? Is there something I can do to help it along, like dilute the wort? Should I just relax, not worry, and have a homebrew while pitching this starter tomorrow? Or should I just plan on picking up a new pack or two of an alternative yeast tomorrow morning? Thanks in advance for any thoughts/assistance.

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Old 07-07-2009, 06:47 PM   #2
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Something else is going on 1 liter is a little over 4 cups . My normal mix for a 1.040 starter is 1/2 cup DME to 2 cups water so 2 cups to 2 liters is pretty much dead on . I dont see how you can be at 1.060


Might be the yeast wasn't at full viability what was the temp it was stored at in the box?

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Old 07-07-2009, 06:55 PM   #3
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How long did you boil the wort for the starter? I've noticed that if I'm not careful I can boil off a lot more water than expected when doing my starter. Maybe you boiled off too much water giving it a higher gravity?

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Old 07-07-2009, 06:57 PM   #4
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I did forget to mention that when we transferred the cool wort from the pot to the growler via a funnel, we went a little too fast and some of the wort foamed over from the growler. So we lost a bit of wort to the floor before pitching. I don't feel like that would make a difference but maybe I'm wrong.

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Old 07-07-2009, 06:58 PM   #5
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marubozo, we boiled the wort for 10 mins.

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Old 07-07-2009, 07:06 PM   #6
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what temp was it when you pitched the yeast?

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Old 07-07-2009, 07:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackey View Post
I did forget to mention that when we transferred the cool wort from the pot to the growler via a funnel, we went a little too fast and some of the wort foamed over from the growler. So we lost a bit of wort to the floor before pitching. I don't feel like that would make a difference but maybe I'm wrong.

none. all you would have is less volume same OG. The only thing I can think of is maybe it was less than 2 liters you added when you made the starter. Also when you took the reading was it at 60° most hydro's are calibrated at that temp. Did you also let it sit a while and spin it a few times as this will dislodge any bubbles which would cause the meter to float higher.
did you aerate the wort starter prior to pitching the yeast ?
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:20 PM   #8
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FlySpargeVorlauf: We cooled the wort down to 70F, but we were using a brand new thermometer (uncalibrated... let's face it, this is turning into an embarrassing calamity of errors) so I suppose it could have been the wrong reading.

springer: The reading is most likely at closer to 72F or so. I also took the reading with a second hydrometer since posting just to double-check, and it reads the same. I hear what you are saying about the reading temp but according to the sheet that comes with the hydrometer it mentions adjustments of +/- .001 or so. That still puts me way high. And I did make sure I spun the hydrometer and that it wasn't bumping the walls of the testing cylinder. Learned my lesson about that last time we brewed. haha

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Old 07-07-2009, 08:02 PM   #9
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Are you sure you are reading the SG scale on the hydrometer? It sounds like you are using the potential alcohol scale.

Reading from the top of the hydrometer, the scale you want should read:
1.000
10
20
30
...
80
90
1.100
10
20
etc

The potential alcohol scale starts at 0, then reads 1, 2, 3, 4 etc, and you don't what that one

-a.

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Old 07-07-2009, 08:50 PM   #10
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Yes, the potential alcohol scale read close to 8% and the balling scale was around 15. Thanks for checking though. I appreciate the helpfulness.

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