First Yeast Starter - No Activity - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > First Yeast Starter - No Activity

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-18-2012, 05:03 AM   #1
scruff311
Recipes 
 
Nov 2008
Providence, RI
Posts: 104
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts



I've never bothered with a yeast starter before and have never had any major problems with fermentation, but after reading so many posts where people swear by it, I decided to give it a shot.

I basically followed White Labs instructions for a 1L starter. I boiled 1/2 cup of DME in 1000 mL for 10 minutes, chilled it down to room temperature, gave it a good shake, and pitched the yeast (WLP810, San Francisco Lager). It has been sitting at room temperature for >2 days and I see absolutely zero signs of any activity. I know it shouldn't be vigorously fermenting or anything, but I was expecting to see at least some sign of life. I've been swirling the wort around occasionally also.

Could something be wrong? Should I be concerned? Can I just pitch the entire 1000mL solution into the wort when the time comes?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 06:00 AM   #2
helibrewer
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
 
helibrewer's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Nov 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 3,808
Liked 324 Times on 274 Posts


How old was the yeast? I have had starters that take up to 3 days to get going.
__________________
Something is always fermenting....
"It's Bahl Hornin'"

Primary:
Kegged: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
On Deck: German Lager

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 08:05 AM   #3
theveganbrewer
Recipes 
 
Sep 2011
Beaverton, OR
Posts: 1,929
Liked 296 Times on 209 Posts


I'd expect activity by now, but in starters often times it happens and is over before you notice it. Are there any signs of even the slightest bit of krausen? Even just a few specs of darker brown will indicate activity. What about sweat? Above the wort line to to the next you should get some inner sweat or condensation if activity occurred.

If neither happened, sanitize and take a gravity reading.
__________________
-Retired Homebrewer

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 11:33 AM   #4
KAMMEE
Recipes 
 
Mar 2010
Peoria, Illinois
Posts: 376
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts


I'll second the gravity reading, thats the true way to tell... your starter should have been somewhere between 1.03 and 1.04 starting gravity, so if its down around 1.010 or so, then you know that the yeast did what its supposed to. If you have a 2L starter flask you can add another liter of wort to grow some cells, as 1L will basically just wake up the yeast, it won't create a lot of growth in that volume.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 11:45 AM   #5
Pratzie
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
Pratzie's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Sep 2012
Northeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,621
Liked 173 Times on 121 Posts


Something I picked up since using starters, I thought my Weihenstephan Wheat stalled or was dead a few weeks ago. Does it appear any cloudier then when you first pitched it? Also, whats it smell like? Stronger odor usually (but not necessarily always) means its active but slow going.
__________________
Bottled: Nothing :(
Kegged: Nothing :(
Primary: Empty
Secondary: Empty
Aging:
On Deck: Cider

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 11:50 AM   #6
TheBiGZ
Recipes 
 
Sep 2010
MD
Posts: 111
Liked 14 Times on 5 Posts


This happened to me the first starter I made also. My problem was I used an airlock on the flask instead of just covering it with foil. It needs to be able to get oxygen.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 01:27 PM   #7
mttaylor1066
Recipes 
 
Jun 2011
Stamford, Connecticut
Posts: 42
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


I recently went through something similar with a starter. Things I learned:

1. Lack of bubbling/krausen doesn't mean your culture is dead.
2. Change in color of the starter liquid (brownish to gold/blonde) is an indicator that your culture is growing and viable

Have you noticed a color change?
__________________
1066 -- The Year of the Norman Conquest

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 01:50 PM   #8
scruff311
Recipes 
 
Nov 2008
Providence, RI
Posts: 104
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


I did use an airlock so that could be part of it. I'm going to switch to foil now for the next 12 hours. I do see some condensation in the neck of the flask. In terms of color change, I suppose it has lightened slightly but that could just be the yeast falling out of solution and settling on the bottom, thus lightening the overlying liquid. The yeast should be plenty viable as the best before date was December and I bought it from the LHBS who takes good care of their yeast.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 01:58 PM   #9
JonM
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
 
JonM's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Aug 2010
Milwaukee
Posts: 8,052
Liked 2997 Times on 1737 Posts


Yep, check gravity - its the only way to tell. I once had a starter with a really aggressive yeast ferment completely out in less than 24 hours. I didn't see the activity and assumed nothing had happened - until I took a gravity reading.
__________________
Who is this Rorschach guy? And why did he paint so many pictures of my parents fighting?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-18-2012, 02:42 PM   #10
scruff311
Recipes 
 
Nov 2008
Providence, RI
Posts: 104
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


Just checked the gravity and it is 1.010. I'm guessing the yeast did its job and I didn't even notice. Stealthy.

 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools



Forum Jump