Need Reassurance on yeast starter

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teaser452

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On my 3rd batch.

Using a kit from Northern Brewer called Dead Ringer. Instructions say to make a starter yeast. So, here is what I did.

In the morning, I smacked the wyeast smack pack. by 4 pm it was fully inflated. Using a 1 liter glass flask, I filled it with 700 ml of water and brought to a boil. Added 1/8 tablespoon yeast nutrient and added 1/2 cup of liquid malt from the kit. boiled for 20 minutes. I put the flask in an ice bath and brought the temp down to 75 degrees. I shook the flask in order to get some O2 into it, but may not have shook enough. Then I pitched the yeast and put an airlock on. Then I put my 3 year old son's black harley davidson sweatshirt over the flask and placed it on the hutch.

Now, 2 days later, there is sediment on the bottom of the flask, much like in a carboy fermenter for a full brew. There is no krausen at all, just some bubbles, but, and I know this means nothing, the airlock is bubbling, just not vigorously like I am used to. My question is, is this normal? I was under the impression that even with a little starter like this I should get krausen. Is anything happening? and if it is fine, do I just pitch the entire contents of the flask into the wort, and not worry about airation?

Would rather get another smack pack than brew the full batch and find out the yeast is dead in the starter.
 

kh54s10

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Your yeast should be OK. If possible let it go another couple of days. Take the airlock off and cover with a sanitized piece of foil. Every time our pass by shake the starter. Air is beneficial in helping the yeast propagate. You will want to see about 1/4 to 3/8 inch of yeast on the bottom when finished.

Even if you don't get that much you will have more that the pack originally contained.

edit: You do not need to protect a starter from sunlight. You are not making beer. Especially if you decant the wort and pitch only the yeast.
Also DarthMalt may be correct and the yeast may have already eaten through all the sugars available.
 

pabloj13

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It probably krausened while you were asleep. It is a lot of yeast and not much wort. The fermentation can be quite fast. Agree with kh54s10, though. No airlock, just foil.
 

Revvy

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Keep this in your mind for the future.

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 bibbling 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.
 
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teaser452

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Thanks Revvy. That is EXACTLY what my starter looks like! I feel much much better.

Brew time tomorrow! Yee haw!

I just had to ask because I had no idea what to expect, this being my first starter.
 
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teaser452

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Ok. Last question on this topic. It's brew night. When I pitch the starter into the wort, do I want the sediment on the bottom? Or leave it? And if I need that sediment, how do I get it out. Swirling doesn't seem to move it. Thanks!
 

cshamilton

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If your yeast is settled on the bottom, I pour off 80% of the liquid and then swirl the remaining liquid to resuspend the yeast. If you cold crashed you want to let it warm up to room temp - I usually decant the starter cold and let it warm up while the worts boiling. When the wort is cooled, then I'll swirl the heck out of the starter and pitch.

I know some people pitch the whole thing and in many cases that may be ok, but unless you are adding hops it may not taste well.
 
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teaser452

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Thank you to all. Finished at midnight. Had activity at 6 am. Fantastic. And easier than I suspected. Starters from now on! Thanks for making me feel better about what I was doing!
 
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