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Old 03-07-2012, 03:56 PM   #1
Cromwell
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I'm making a yeast starter, and for this one I did a mini-mash of 2lbs of 2 row to make a gallon of wort to use as starter. But when I pitched the yeast into a quart of it, I have absolutely no kreusen - no bubbles at all.
I'm trying to figure out why and the only two things I've done differently are that I mashed some 2 row instead of using DME but the SG is about 1.045, so I think it's good...
And I used a drop of Fermtabs. So, does Fermtabs kill kreusen? If so, how do I tell if the yeast are growing? It's a little tough to take a gravity sample from a 1L starter...
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:00 PM   #2
TyTanium
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Taste a small sample. Does it taste like sweet wort? Or more "beerish"? Trust that the yeast know what they're doing...they live to eat sugar.

Most starters krausen & finish pretty darn quick, so it's possible (likley?) you could've just missed it.

 
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:03 PM   #3
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Activity in a starter really only means one thing and one thing only.

It doesn't matter one blip in your fermenter or your starter flask if the airlock bubbles or not (if you are using an airlock and not tinfoil if you are using tinfoil, you aren't getting bibbling anyway,) or if you see a krauzen. In fact starter fermentation are some of the fastest or slowest but most importantly, the most boring fermentations out there. Usually it's done withing a few hours of yeast pitch...usually overnight when we are sleeping, and the starter looks like nothing ever happened...except for the little band at the bottom. Or it can take awhile...but either way there's often no "activity" whatsoever....

I usually run my stirplate for the first 24 hours, then shut it down, if you are spinning your starter it is really hard to get a krausen to form anyway, since it's all spinning, and there's often a head of foam on it from the movement.


All that really matters is that creamy band o yeast at the bottom.





This is a chilled sample so it's flocculated, but even with an unchilled sample you should see a band of yeast at the bottom. Here's an unchilled version



Same thing, a band.

As it is I've only ever seen two or three krausens actually on my starter (one blew off a bunch of krausen and knocked the tinfoil off the flask,) and the evidence of one on the flask at the "waterline" once. But I've never not had a starter take off.

Look for the yeast at the bottom, don't worry what it looks like on top.

If you have yeast on the bottom....that's all you really need.

If it looks anything like that, your are ready to either feed it again, or use it.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:09 PM   #4
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Ok, thanks. I'll taste it, and I'll pitch the second step on the yeast cake. But since I pitched a tube of yeast, wouldn't that make a band of yeast on the bottom even if it was dead? I'm using a stir plate, so I can see that I might miss a krausen, although I've always seen one before.

But I'm still curious - does Fermcap keep krausen down?
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:12 PM   #5
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You still see no tiny bubbles rising at the surface with a stir plate after a few hours? And fermcap will cap the krausen down but 1 drop shouldn't eliminate it all together.

 
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