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Old 07-14-2012, 02:43 AM   #1
wrangler83
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Default First yeast starter - no signs of fermentation

I am doing my first ever brew with liquid yeast and tried to do a starter. I did 1 cup of DME 4 cups of water. I brought the water to a boil and then stirred in the DME. Fighting boil overs, I boiled for about 15 minutes. I took off heat and cooled in an ice bath until 75 degrees. Then I added the wart to my flask and pitched the yeast. I covered with foil and shook well. After 6 hours I can't see any signs of fermentation.... I think I have a little bit more wart in the flask than I need. Also, I may not have let the yeast warm up to exactly room temp (directions said take out of fridge 3hrs prior to pitching but I only did about 1hr). My question is - should I be seeing fermentation at this point? Should I pour out the starter and try again??? Any help would be appreciated.


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Old 07-14-2012, 03:28 AM   #2
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I would advise patience. In 6 hours, my starters don't usually look like much either, and I use a stir plate. If you don't see activity in the morning, then you should be worried. To borrow an oft repeated phrase DSWHAHB.


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Old 07-14-2012, 05:29 AM   #3
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Yeah, 6 hours isn't enough.

And for me personally, the starters never look like much. All you are concerned about is the beautiful yeast that will be at the bottom of your starter.
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. You were right. I checked this morning and she's fermenting away! I guess I should alow it to completely finish prior to pitching into my primary wart batch? I was originally planning on brewing today but may wait until tomorrow since the starter isn't finished... Any suggestions?
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Old 07-14-2012, 02:15 PM   #5
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I usually make my starters the night before and use them for brewing the next day regardless. It isn't so important to let them, finish out,and from what I've read,actually preferred to catch them at the height of fermentation to have your yeast at it's strongest and most active. Happy brewing!
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrangler83 View Post
Thanks guys. You were right. I checked this morning and she's fermenting away! I guess I should alow it to completely finish prior to pitching into my primary wart batch? I was originally planning on brewing today but may wait until tomorrow since the starter isn't finished... Any suggestions?
I typically do it the day before and use it the next day. So you are good to use it if you want, but its entirely up to you.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:00 PM   #7
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I was taught to make your starter three days before you need to pitch. That way, you get every last yeast cell you can out of your wort. Stir plates are nice but not essential.

The night before, I put the starter in the refrigerator for a cold crash and then bring it out on brew day and let it sit on the counter for at least 4-5 hours to make sure of room temp before pitching. I always decant the liquid and pitch the cake. I do that only to satisfy my over whelming urge to not mix off flavors in my wort. I probably doesn't make a difference, but it makes me feel better and that's good enough for me.....lol.
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Old 07-14-2012, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cherrob123
I was taught to make your starter three days before you need to pitch. That way, you get every last yeast cell you can out of your wort. Stir plates are nice but not essential.

The night before, I put the starter in the refrigerator for a cold crash and then bring it out on brew day and let it sit on the counter for at least 4-5 hours to make sure of room temp before pitching. I always decant the liquid and pitch the cake. I do that only to satisfy my over whelming urge to not mix off flavors in my wort. I probably doesn't make a difference, but it makes me feel better and that's good enough for me.....lol.
Do you just decant most of the liquid and leave a little behind to swirl the cake into suspension before pitching? Also, when making a particular size starter (eg: 1 liter, 2 liter) what defines the size? Is it amount of wort?
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:52 PM   #9
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Since you are, in effect, only pitching yeast and not any liquid, you should use as little of the decanted liquid as possible to swirl the cake. That's in theory. I really don't think a little is going to hurt anything and I've never noticed a really bad effect on any I've used a starter on.

As for the size, I usually try to make a bigger starter based on how old my yeast is. If the yeast is reasonably fresh, then I'll use 4-6 oz of LME and a liter or quart of water and get after it. I'll make the starter bigger if the beer I'm making needs a particularly large amount of yeast too. For example. The Kolsch I am kegging tomorrow needed, according to Mr. Malty, around 300 billion cells. The smack pack claimed that it could produce 100 million. I went ahead with a standard sized starter based on what Mr. Malty suggested.

What's important to note though is that every yeast manufacturer lists the optimal fermenting temps for the specific yeast you are using. Pay attention to yeast count, fermenting temps, and a robust starter and the worst thing that will happen is that you will end up with beer.

Cheers
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:59 PM   #10
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Starter turned out great. I brewed today so we will see how it turns out. Thanks for all the input.


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