Didn't see activity in starter, proceed with step up? - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Didn't see activity in starter, proceed with step up?

Thread Tools
Old 11-08-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
May 2012
Ephrata, PA
Posts: 268
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

I'm reusing some washed yeast from 7/7/12. I used about 23mL in a .5L starter and then am stepping up to a .75L starter to get to my 123B needed. Yeast smelled/tasted fine.

I let the first stage starter run 24 hours on my stirplate and then threw in my fridge last night. I had a few beers and wasn't thinking....there wasn't really any activity in the starter. What does this mean for my .75L step two or am I probably still ok?

Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 07:51 PM   #2
Sep 2011
Beaverton, OR
Posts: 1,929
Liked 296 Times on 209 Posts

I usually go 3 days on a stirplate before fridge regardless of what I'm stirring. But, up to .75 is a smallish step, so I think you'll be fine.
-Retired Homebrewer

Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 08:02 PM   #3
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,937
Liked 3212 Times on 1896 Posts

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 bubbling 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.
Like my snazzy new avatar? Get Sons of Zymurgy swag, here, and brew with the best.

Revvy's one of the cool reverends. He has a Harley and a t-shirt that says on the back "If you can read this, the bitch was Raptured. - Madman

I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

cbehr Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2012, 03:52 PM   #4
diS's Avatar
Apr 2011
Posts: 997
Liked 49 Times on 46 Posts

Agree, 24 hours is enough for yeast growth.
Greg Doss.. again..
We are only 10,000 years into beer... there are thousands of years left to go!
Things are bound to change!!

Brewroom with HERMS build
Fermentation chamber and Keezer.. a.k.a. FermKeezer

Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2012, 05:35 PM   #5
Sep 2010
Las Vegas
Posts: 651
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts

One way to tell if you got fermentation is to swirl the starter vigorously. Usually I get some carbonation when I do this telling me that fermentation did occur. I have had really old vials of yeast that took a day or two to really take off on the first step but 3 months isn't that old. The only for sure way is to test the gravity of the wort to see if it fermented at all.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2012, 06:35 PM   #6
Feb 2011
Mahanoy City, PA
Posts: 619
Liked 28 Times on 23 Posts

I always see bubbles in my yeast on a stir plate. In fact I just last put lager yeast on my stir plate dated 12/26/2011. This was an experiment to see if the yeast would come back to life and sure enough it fired up. So I guess washed yeast can last a year the yeast wash process is done correctly.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012, 03:06 PM   #7
May 2012
Ephrata, PA
Posts: 268
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

Thanks guys. I did chill for 24 hours and had a nice yeast layer at the bottom. I decanted the wort from the top and pitched slurry to the step up starter. I actually did see some activity this time. I chilled/decanted/pitched to my beer and had activity within about 8 hours.

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
wlp838 starter activity? first lager starter... haeffnkr Fermentation & Yeast 6 07-10-2012 05:15 PM
How to proceed with this wild starter artyboy Lambic & Wild Brewing 6 07-04-2010 02:03 AM
No activity in starter Buffman General Beer Discussion 2 04-20-2010 02:38 PM
Making a yeast starter - Step by Step Video johnnyc Fermentation & Yeast 2 02-05-2010 08:52 PM
Should I see activity in my starter? Driftwood Recipes/Ingredients 7 07-26-2005 08:16 PM

Forum Jump