So for batch #5 I figured I'd try using liquid yeast for the first time. I got a Wyeast smack pack 1272 American Ale II for my latest light ale. I read about creating a starter here and figured it was a good idea even though the batch was only estimated around 1.052 OG.
First off I wasn't sure if I could brew Saturday (today) or if I had to wait until Sunday. I wanted to pitch the starter directly while it was active. I found out Friday that Saturday was the brew day so when I got home from work I took the pack out of the fridge and smacked it around a bit. A few hours later I cooked up the starter. I went for 2 quarts since that's around what Mr. Malty recommended, and also I had that much extra-light extract laying around. I got it down 70 degrees, put it in my container, and aerated it with a whisk for 5 minutes.
Then went to pitch the yeast when I found that I hadn't smacked it hard enough and the nutrient pouch was still intact. No problem, I thought, that's why you do a starter. So I just poured it directly into the starter, mixed well, shook it a few times and went to sleep.
This morning I went to check on it first thing and I found no activity and all the yeast sitting on the bottom of the container. Ack! It's dead, Jim, I thought. Wait, RDWHAHB. Okay, after the beer (mmmm, 7am beer), I thought maybe it was too cold overnight and it's not dead, just asleep. So I stirred it back up, put in somewhere warmer (Wake up, little beer-making soldiers!), and proceeded with the brewing and the pitching. There was a bit of foam on top when I pitched so maybe they were okay. As a contingency plan, I ran over to the LHBS and got a packet of dry yeast since they're closed on Sundays. I figured if there was no activity by Monday morning, I'd fall back to the dry yeast.
Of course about 6 hours after pitching the yeast is eating and foaming and farting like me on taco night. The airlock is bubbling non-stop and the krausen is getting dangerously close to the airlock (time for blowoff tube, stat!). So the moral of this story is, no worries, HAHB. Best Advice Ever.