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Old 01-21-2011, 11:05 PM   #1
loxnar
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Default Yeast starter

So made a yeast starter with some London Ale Yeast on wednesday around 7pm at night PST. Has yeast nutrient and 3/4 cup of DME in about 1200ml of water that was boiled with the DME for 15 minutes and then cooled to 80 degrees, aerated and yeast pitched.
Yeast was plenty viable...think the date on the bottle was sometime in april and my LHBS ALWAYS has fresh stuff.

Ive done plenty of yeast starters before and 2 days prior was always plenty of time for the starter to do its thing, cold crash the night before brew, and then pour off the top layer of liquid leaving you that nice yeast cake at the bottom.

Problem is it hasnt taken off yet, at least visibly, and ive been swirling the flask multiple times daily and its sitting at about 76 degrees as i never really have done extreme temperature control on my yeast starters as they were never above 80. The yeast settles like its fat and happy but i dont really see anything going on and im somewhat afraid to take a SG reading because i dont have much liquid in there to take a sample with. Also i didnt take a OG, never really thought i had to for a starter.

My goal is to brew tomorrow should i grab another from the LHBS before they close or should i just try pitching the whole flask and see if that takes off with the brew i am going to make tomorrow? Or i could cold crash it tonight and see how the yeast does anything within the first 12 hours?

Thoughts?Ideas?



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Old 01-21-2011, 11:26 PM   #2
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The yeast settles like its fat and happy but i dont really see anything going on
Are you expecting krausen and are worried that you're not getting it? A lot of things can affect that, and its not necessarily a good indication of fermentation, especially in a starter.


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Old 01-21-2011, 11:37 PM   #3
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Are you expecting krausen and are worried that you're not getting it? A lot of things can affect that, and its not necessarily a good indication of fermentation, especially in a starter.
I would say that is a fair statement. Before i swirl it and after it has been sitting for a couple hours i do see what looks like some bubbles on top but i have yet to see any krausen type material forming on top. What are the things this can indicate and is it necessarily a bad thing? should i just trying cold crashing tonight and assuming my yeast is good. There is nothing for me to think that is in bad shape other that im seeing zero physical activity...even the normal swirling type hurricane effect you can see going on inside a fermentation vessel.
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:48 PM   #4
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If it has a nice layer of foam (bubbles) you are good to go. All my starters are just 'fizzy' looking, never really had a krausen.

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Old 01-21-2011, 11:51 PM   #5
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There's a lot of chemistry involved in the production of foam and the release of gas from solution to form bubbles. I don't understand much about it, but I know that slight variations in temperature, protein composition, and emulsifiers can mean the difference between blow off and zero krausen. The fact that you're not getting anything could mean that your yeast is totally dead, or it could just mean that you had a steadily, slight temperature rise (which isn't bad in and of itself but does mean you won't see bubbles coming out of solution when you shake). I know that's not terribly helpful; I just mean to say that I wouldn't count on krausen to mean the yeast was healthy or unhealthy.

Some actually productive advice: I'd cold crash... If you've got a nice thick layer of creamy yeast bigger than what you would have had from your smack pack, you've got growth and are likely in good shape.

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Old 01-21-2011, 11:55 PM   #6
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Also...

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Originally Posted by loxnar View Post
after it has been sitting for a couple hours i do see what looks like some bubbles on top
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Originally Posted by loxnar View Post
im seeing zero physical activity...
both of these can't be true at the same time
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:15 AM   #7
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If it has a nice layer of foam (bubbles) you are good to go. All my starters are just 'fizzy' looking, never really had a krausen.
i would say mine have all been the complete opposite...foaming krausen up and out the top of the erlenmeyer flasks.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:20 AM   #8
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Some actually productive advice: I'd cold crash... If you've got a nice thick layer of creamy yeast bigger than what you would have had from your smack pack, you've got growth and are likely in good shape.

Was a white labs liquid yeast...normally i have back up dry yeasts but i just ran out last brew cuz i was using up yeasts that was going to go beyond its best by date. I cant say that its a lot more but possibly about the same amount. I may just end up having to go to the brew store tomorrow and buying a dry yeast packet so i can get it going with a decent amount of healthy yeast cells. I only got one day i can brew so the fact the yeast starter didnt get going shouldnt stop me from brewing. or i have to wait another week =(
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:51 AM   #9
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i would say mine have all been the complete opposite...foaming krausen up and out the top of the erlenmeyer flasks.
Making me feel a bit cro magnon, I use a 1/2 gal growler, probably the best I have seen is about a good 1 inch of head on my starters. I pitch about ~24 hrs after starting don't decant either. Just saying if it is still 'foamy' few hours after shaking you should be alright.
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:05 AM   #10
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i think im going to roll with it...stop at the brew store this weekend and pick u p a back up dry yeast packet just in case the actual fermentation doesnt take off.



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