Quantcast

Did I kill my starter?

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

JayPowHound

Active Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Malden, MA
I'm about to embark on my first attempt at a lager, and the guys at my LHS suggested I make a starter. It is my first attempt at that too, and I have to admit that I changed things a little from what I was told. I'm afraid this may be my problem...

Rather than use DME, which I thought I had and then didn't, so I used LME instead. I didn't really measure it so much since it's so damn messy, but I put in a good sized dollop I'd say. I boiled for 5 or 10 minutes, cooled it down, and threw in my Wyeast 2206 Bavarian. I had popped the pack an hour or two beforehand, but it didn't really swell all that much.

It's now two days later and not much is happening. There are a couple of small bubbles on top, and a visible yeast cake on the bottom but no big signs of any fermentation.

So did I screw something up? Was the yeast bad? (evidenced by the packet not swelling in the hour or two after it was broken) Should I have waited until I got DME so I could measure it? Do I just need to wait another day? Should I scrap it and try again?
 

ajf

Senior Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Messages
4,648
Reaction score
119
Location
Long Island
You can use LME instead of DME, but you need to use the right amount. That would be about 8.5 oz for a 2 liter starter, and anything less that 2 liters would not be big enough for most lagers (although 1 liter would be better than nothing).
I don't usually see any obvious signs of starters starting, except for the increase in the amount of yeast. Most of the smack packs I have used haven't swelled within an hour or two of smacking, so that isn't a problem. With a starter, it is a good idea to give it a good swirl every couple hours.

-a.
 
OP
J

JayPowHound

Active Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Malden, MA
You can use LME instead of DME, but you need to use the right amount. That would be about 8.5 oz for a 2 liter starter, and anything less that 2 liters would not be big enough for most lagers (although 1 liter would be better than nothing).
I don't usually see any obvious signs of starters starting, except for the increase in the amount of yeast. Most of the smack packs I have used haven't swelled within an hour or two of smacking, so that isn't a problem. With a starter, it is a good idea to give it a good swirl every couple hours.

-a.
Sorry I left out the size, it's 2 liters. I tried to estimate what I thought would be about 8 oz, but who knows what ended up happening!

You say you don't usually see any signs of starters starting... is that the normal experience?
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
4,877
Reaction score
260
Location
Keller, Texas
After a couple of days your starter should be complete. Is the liquid above the cake fairly light? That's a good sign fermentation is complete and it's time to pitch it and get some wort fermenting.
 

ajf

Senior Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Messages
4,648
Reaction score
119
Location
Long Island
I do my starters on a stir plate. I sometimes see a few bubbles on top, but that's because of the continuous stirring rather than krausen. What I do see is that there is more solid matter (yeast) in the flask, but it doesn't really look like it is fermenting.

-a.
 
Top