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Old 02-06-2011, 06:14 PM   #21
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Jun 2008
The Cold Part of AZ
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Meh, I wouldn't worry about that either. Just because the beer on top of the yeast smells bad, even sour doesn't mean the yeast below is bad.

When we make a starter we are growing more yeast, we're not trying to make a good tasting tiny beer, so we usually don't hop it, or put it in a temp controlled eviroment. So the "beer" on top is not going to be in that great a condition. Often in summer our starter beers go sour, that's why some folks add a hop pellet or two to the boil. And then if we DO hop it, we're leaving it on our kitchen counter in bright sunlight and THAT'S going to skunk, and smell bad....

But unless you go the extra mile, that beer on top, which often sits in the sun, or in a hot room, and without hops is often going to smell, or even taste bad. But that tiny bit of beer won't effect the 5 gallons you are making. You can always decant the starter beer of the top and pitch it.

But I wouldn't scrap it. Half of the starters I've pitched I've never bothered to sniff, and of those I did, many smelled sour or other wise nasty, and I've still pitched them, and never had a bad beer.
Revvy speaks the truth here (again ).

I've heard people dump their starters because they smell "sour" or taste "bad." My response is, have you ever smelled or tasted your beer after ~18-24 hours of fermentation (afterall, a starter is basically ~705mL of "beer" sans hops (usually)? It shouldn't be any different than 5 gallons in a fermenter.

I have yet to find anyone that has....but I'm sure it smells "sour" and tastes "bad" - just like a starter does.

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Old 02-06-2011, 09:25 PM   #22
Jun 2009
San Antonio, Texas
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Yeast can sometimes clump together oddly. I once had yeast flocculate on top of a fermenting batch in such an odd way that I could've sworn it was a pellicle. It looked filmy with big chunky bubbles and everything. But after two days it went away.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:41 PM   #23
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Jan 2009
Ames, Iowa
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Originally Posted by dunnright00 View Post
If I remember, isn't 1968 the Wyeast version of 005?
1968 is supposedly the same as 002; 005 is similar to those yeasts, but more attenuative.

i was just listening to a 'Can You Brew It' podcast today and they wanted to see how a 10 gal batch of Lagunitas Maximus turned out using 002 in one fermenter and 1968 in the other. the 002 finished 1 degree plato lower and was concluded 'not cloned' while the 1968 produced a 'cloned' version. it was interesting to hear them discuss the differences.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:44 PM   #24
Sep 2009
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This is bull****. If it's not right, why risk a batch? Get a packet of dry yeast and set your mind at ease. Might be, could be, should be, are all wishful thinking.

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Old 02-07-2011, 08:59 AM   #25
Jun 2009
Oakland, CA
Posts: 57

I've even seen fresh vials of White Labs' various English yeasts that looked a lot like that. Some of them look pretty much like cottage cheese to me. Also, I've never been able to tell anything by smelling the yeast or the starter. It just depends so much on the strain, it's impossible to know what to expect.

My vote definitely leans to the "it's fine" side.

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Old 02-07-2011, 09:23 AM   #26
Jun 2009
Austin, TX
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
That's what I was thinking.
Same here. I must have learned something over the last year.5, woohoo!

That looks like a chunky English yeast to me.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:52 PM   #27
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Jan 2011
NE Columbia SC - Formerly, Montreal Canada
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I certainly would keep a couple packets of dry yeast on standby.

But unless you completely know the characteristics of the yeast you are using, you could be throwing away a perfectly good yeast starter.


Originally Posted by Reelale View Post
This is bull****. If it's not right, why risk a batch? Get a packet of dry yeast and set your mind at ease. Might be, could be, should be, are all wishful thinking.
Originally Posted by Misplaced_Canuck
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:04 PM   #28
Aug 2010
Indy-Madison (WI)
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I would bet my farm, if I had one, that the starter is good.

Have you smelled an opened package of liquid yeast before? It smells like what I call "microbiology lab"; that sour putrefied smell. It's the sure sign of good and healthy yeast and starters will smell just the same, but likely stronger due to the larger number of cells. The clumping pattern is probably just something inherent to the yeast strain, perhaps exacerbated by the conditions during fermentations, like temperature, amount of O2, etc. About the krausen, remember that these tiny worts (starters) ferment pretty quickly because of the low absolute sugar content, so the krausen forms and vanishes quickly too. I have actually missed the krausen once with a very small starter but I took a FG at the end just to be sure and there was full attenuation! You’re fine mate, no worries!

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Old 02-07-2011, 04:37 PM   #29
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Aug 2009
San Diego
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Thanks for the replies all!

I pitched it yesterday, so lets hope it was good (I'm pretty confident now that it is), and I'll update back here with the progress.
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