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bad Yeast - Starter Issues

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mgortel

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Did a 1L starter last nite for WLP036 9Dusseldorf Alt). Packaged date was 4 months ago....nice job LHBS....anyway figured be fine with starter.

This was first time doing starter with stir plate . Loose aluminum foil on top erlemeyer flask. Been 21 hours and i have seen no krausen or indication of fermentation. Iam used to doing the "swirl it around once in awhile method". and seeing yeast settled on bottom in between swirling...also used to seeing krausen as well...none of that...so I am wondering if it has fermented and the yeast are just in suspension and I cant see them.

Turned off stir plate to see if yeast settles out on bottom

Any thoughts? Advice.

Suppose to brew Dusseldorf Alt tomorrow and all i have now is Nottingham dry yeast in fridge.....unless the WLP 036 is actually ok.
 

Vamptrump

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The stir plate's job is to keep the yeast in suspension. Never had a krausen form when I used a stir plate.
 

IslandLizard

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It may take a few days on the stir plate, depending on how the yeast was handled, aside from it being 4 months old. If it were stored outside the fridge for a long time it needs to rebuild a lot of cells.

Stir plate is the best method as it keep the yeast exposed to most oxygen for proper propagation, which is what you want. Yield is up to 200% more than just swirling, with far less foaming (sign of fermentation).

It may need 2 stages if it is not very viable.

BTW, 1l starter is not nearly enough for 5 gal of Alt. Maybe postpone to next week, and brew something else S-04 ale-y tomorrow?
 
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mgortel

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Thanks Vamp......well been 21 hours......not pitching until tomorrow evening....should I keep at room temp and make sure it is finished.....or put in fridge to settle out.....and see what i got?
 
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mgortel

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Was actually a 1.25 L.....which based on beersmith should give me the cell count i need for this base don the yeast "born on date"

Maybe i will pick up another wlp036 tonite....and toss it in.......to make sure....
 

Vamptrump

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I like to do starters for 3 days. That traditionally gives me enough time for the colony to establish to the cell count I need. As far how much is needed for the Dusseldorf Alt, no idea if you will be good or not. IslandLizard seems to know, so I would say go with their call. S-04 batch tomorrow and Dusseldorf later (if feasible).

If you are locked into the Dusseldorf Alt tomorrow, then I would recommend keeping the starter going as long as you can. I don't bother settling my starter and I pitch straight without letting it fall out of suspension. Worst thing that can happen* is you under pitch and you get some off-flavors from the stress.

*Technically worst thing is all the yeast were dead and you've been doing a starter with dead yeast :p.
 

IslandLizard

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You could take a drop out and put on your refractometer and see where it is.

IF there is progress, I'd let it go on the stir plate as long as possible, definitely another night, then in the fridge tomorrow morning. It may not floc out all the way though, which means you'd lose a lot of good cells by decanting it too early.

So maybe better to let it stir and just pitch the whole 1.25l flask. If the extra vial is of the same quality/age, it won't have much to contribute. It's still pretty lean pitch of yeast though.

I would not use Notty if you want a real Alt. Alts are all about clean balance and subtlety.

Fermentation on the cool side is needed to prevent esters and other off flavors. Therefore a good solid yeast pitch is better than stressing it by underpitching. Any diacetyl formation, even in small amounts, will ruin that beautiful beer. Be on the safe side and brew it next week.
 
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mgortel

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hanks guys!

BTW...this is an outstanding idea...never thought of that...so simple.....

You could take a drop out and put on your refractometer and see where it is
 
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mgortel

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I checked the gravity like IslandLizard suggested.....deader than a doornail.....same as OG.....damn LHBS

Looks like I will be brewing my Chocolate Milk Stout tomorrow instead......be ready for the fall or winter
 

IslandLizard

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Glad you didn't pitch the dud yeast.

I would tell the LHBS about your findings, though. You could have ruined a batch with that. Makes one wonder if they store their yeasts properly. Maybe it got frozen... or cooked.

If they have Wyeast 1007, you can use it instead, it works very nice for Alts. Make a big starter, 2l minimum. Just keep it cool for the first 2 weeks or until 80% done, then raise 5-10°F gradually, to let it condition out. It's a very slow flocculator, so be prepared for a long cold clearing/lagering period, even with gelatin. It will also take a week or longer for the starter to settle out in the fridge, so allow time for that.
 

KangerBrew6

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Call me old fashioned, but I always taste the beer before I pitch any starters into a brew. I have back-up dry-yeast if anything is not palatable. I've never had to use the dry back-up. I reckon a Sumerian wouldn't of pitched his yeast if it smelt or tasted bad. Call me old fashioned.
 
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mgortel

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I would tell the LHBS about your findings, though. You could have ruined a batch with that. Makes one wonder if they store their yeasts properly. Maybe it got frozen... or cooked.
Called them and told them....essentially like you said I told them I would hate to see someone else buy bad yeast.....and hate for them to piss off their customers.....they offered me 50% off another vial..... :mad: WTF.....so I can get another dud yeast...why would I do that...they should have offered me my money back on it....I wasn't even asking for anything back...but still....piss poor move on their part.....they just lost a customer....100% internet for me for now on. Dumbassess........unbelievable
 
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