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Slow starting starter - what to do on brew day

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backsaw13

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I am making a red ale (brewers best) and opted for the white labs WLP008. I made my starter on Friday afternoon (this is my first starter BTW). It has been kept between 68-70 and there is not much activity. There is minimal foam - doesn't even cover half the surface of the wort. It appears to be a slow start. The yeast had a May use by date.

Today (Sunday) is my brew day, otherwise I won't be able to get to it during the week. Should I just pitch the whole starter as it is now and hope for the best? or use the dry yeast that came with the kit?

I - in true noobie fashion (3rd brew) - am impatient, and realise i probably should have made my starter a day or two earlier. Advice is much appreciated
 

joety

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I am told you don't get a big Kreuzen on a starter. I have used mine exactly once, with a stirplate, and the only thing I noticed that told me it was off and running was the cyclone became shallower, which I'd heard happens from other brewers. My fermentation took off explosively in less than ten hours.

You can pitch the starter today and save the dry yeast pack in case it doesn't start.
 

reim0027

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None of my starters had much of a krausen. When I shook them, the CO2 release became more violent as the starter became active. There was also a nice bread/alcohol smell coming from the starter as shook them.

But, the experts may be able to give you more specific advice.
 

Whisler85

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if the starter is small, pitch it

if its a gallon starter, obviously dont

also, if you have shaken the hell out of the starter, it may be highly oxidized, and the flavor may not go unnoticed in your final product
 

reim0027

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Hmm, good point. I guess I don't know how hard to shake the starter. I thought adding oxygen was the point of shaking the starter. How should I shake them?

I don't think I was shaking the hell out of them. But I do notice more and more CO2 being released as the starter gets going. The biggest starter I have done is 1.5 quarts.
 

double_e5

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Adding oxygen is the point of a starter. I'm not sure what Whisler85 is referring to.

It sounds to me like your starter is normal. Most starters don't show a whole lot of action. If CO2 is being released your yeast is working. I wouldn't worry about it and go ahead and pitch it.
 
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backsaw13

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well thanks, makes mine sound more normal then. I was expecting more krausen - like in my last brew. Pitch i will.
 
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backsaw13

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pitched and slight activity within 2 hours of pitching. Decent activity next morning.

cheers
:drunk:
 

ifishsum

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Adding oxygen is the point of the starter, I think Whisler85 meant that if it's a big one you want to pour off the starter wort and only pitch the slurry at the bottom, because a gallon of oxygenated starter wort will be enough to change the taste of your whole batch. Smaller starters up to a quart probably won't affect the taste much when you pitch the whole thing.
 

joety

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Adding oxygen is the point of the starter, I think Whisler85 meant that if it's a big one you want to pour off the starter wort and only pitch the slurry at the bottom, because a gallon of oxygenated starter wort will be enough to change the taste of your whole batch. Smaller starters up to a quart probably won't affect the taste much when you pitch the whole thing.
The consensus seems to be around 1.5 qts before you need to decant. Anyone disagree?

I am sure a bigger beer is more forgiving, but then again, a small beer may not need the starter to begin with, unless it's a lager.
 
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