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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Starter smells like bread, not beer
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:03 PM   #1
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Default Starter smells like bread, not beer

I have a Boddington's clone fermenting now. It started at 1.041, got to 1.020 after a week and is still at 1.019 4 days later. I was using a liquid yeast, WLP 002, and pitched directly, not making a starter, and it was slow to start.

So, to try and kick it back up, I took some of the yeasties I had saved and started a starter. I want to ramp it up to a liter or so and repitch. I made a ~ 1.020 - 1.030 wort, boiled for 15 mins and cooled. Yeasties are growing in about 100 ml of it right now, with a bit of a krausen... but it smells like bread, not beer. They are just standing in the kitchen at room temperature, and I'm shaking it once in a while.

[I do have some more in the lab at work shaking in an incubator, but we have a snow day, so I'm at home with the kids right now.]

Is the bread smell normal? Or have I contaminated my starter?

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Old 01-28-2009, 03:53 PM   #2
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an infected starter would not smell like bread. it would smell nasty disgusting horrible.

you could taste it. some people add a tiny amount of hops to make tasting a starter a little easier on the palate

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Old 01-28-2009, 04:03 PM   #3
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Bread smell sounds normal to me. Most my starters smell like the same yeast slurry that you make with active yeast for pizza dough. Think it's mainly because you have a much higher concentration of yeast to malt. That plus no hops...well it just isn't beer yet!

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Old 01-28-2009, 04:35 PM   #4
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Bread smell is normal. All of my starters (all 3 of them :P) smelled like bread. For my starter, I only use DME and water, boil, cool, pitch the yeast.

I assume bacterial infection would smell like vinegar, not the sweet smell of bread dough.

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Old 01-28-2009, 04:46 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. Its too early in the am to RDWHAHB, so I had to post!

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Old 01-28-2009, 04:52 PM   #6
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Your starter sounds perfectly normal.

I doubt, however, that pitching more yeast will do anything aside from...pitching more yeast.

Low attenuation is normally due to:

  • Too low a fermentation temperature.
  • Poor aeration prior to pitching.
  • Too high of a mash temp if you do all grain. (156 and above)
  • Too high of a concentration of liquid malt extract for extract brewers.

By this point you probably have 5 times more yeast in the bottom of your fermenter than you are planning on re-pitching.

Try doing two things first:
  1. Raise the ambient temperature to at least 70 degrees of it is not already.
  2. Take you racking cane and use it to swirl the yeast cake on the bottom and rouse that yeast back to work.
  3. Give it more time.

Okay...three things.
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:08 PM   #7
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It fermented in the mid to high 60's. Pitch rate was too low (one vial of liquid yeast directly into vessel). Aeration might well have been too low too. I have given it a shake - I'll go stir it too. I can always use the starter on my next batch...

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Old 01-28-2009, 05:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BioBeing View Post
It fermented in the mid to high 60's. Pitch rate was too low (one vial of liquid yeast directly into vessel). Aeration might well have been too low too. I have given it a shake - I'll go stir it too. I can always use the starter on my next batch...
Bring that puppy up to 72-74 degrees and I bet you get an extra couple of points out of it.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:29 AM   #9
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Update: I followed BierMuncher's suggestions [stirring, then raising temp for a few days], and got some bubbles in the airlock. Just took a reading, and it down to 1.015. Gonna leave it now for another week and a half till I can bottle, but the hydro sample was tasting pretty good. Thanks!

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Old 02-05-2009, 04:55 AM   #10
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I thought I read a beer book somewhere where it said beer is liquid bread. I can't remember which one.

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