Inactive Starter with WLP655

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DuckBrown

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Two days ago I created a starter with White Labs Belgian Sour Mix I. Since then, I've seen very little activity in the flask. Should I be worried?

I am brewing a Flander's Red tomorrow and the plan is to only use the 655.

Does the lack of activity indicate that something has gone wrong, or is to be expected with this yeasty/beasty mix?
 

Revvy

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Is there a band of yeast at the bottom of the vessel? If you have yeast at the bottom you had fermentation. (It's really really rare that modern yeast doesn't work, unless it froze or you dropped it in boiling wort. So it's doubtful nothing happen.)
 

mkeckjr

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What was the date on the vial? Subtract 4 months from that best-by date, and you have the manufacturing date, so you can estimate viability.

Some notes for the future: that Belgian sour mix 1 is, in my opinion, a little more suited to the lambic and gueuze styles, as opposed to the Flanders ones. I prefer the Wyeast 3763 blend for those ones. Also, unlike the monocultures commonly pitched for most ales and lagers, these blends for sour beers have specific ratios of yeast and bacteria to get final beer profiles similar to the target style. When you make a starter, you change those ratios, and may end up with a different balance in the end. For these yeast blends, it is suggested to not make a starter for that reason (see the Q&A section here). You should still get a drinkable sour beer, but the time needed to get sour will likely be longer and final flavor profile will likely be different than the targeted style.
 
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DuckBrown

DuckBrown

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Thanks Revvy and mkeckjr. The vial was best before June-2016 and I did have a band of yeast on the bottom, so hopefully all is well. I pitched it today, so we'll see.

As for not doing a starter with this blend, I learned this shortly after I did the starter. Alas. After a couple weeks in the fermenter, it will be going into a bourbon barrel for 6 months, so it will be some time before I know what I'll wind up with for sure. Hopefully something sour yet drinkable, and even if it is not true to the style, I'm still going to call it "Stupid Sexy Flanders".
 

mkeckjr

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Fantastic. Glad to hear it is bubbling, you should be fine. And like I say, you'll still get a sour Belgian-like beer in the end, it just may take a little longer. Cheers.
 
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