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phbern

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Hi Gang,

Is my starter starting? :)

It's a WY3944, 650ml distilled water, 1/3 cup of DME. Smacked the pack and let it sit for about 4 hours. It swelled a little. But not much. Pitched at 71f. Been going almost 24 hours now.

Previous starters I've made with other yeast had pretty active fermentation with definite krauesen.

Planning to make a 5gal batch of Belgian Wit.

20211024_095428.jpg
 

IslandLizard

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It looks like it's doing something, it's fairly light in color, and there's some creaminess.

Maybe the yeast is a bit old?
Is it kept on a stir plate? That makes a big difference in growth compared to the occasional swirl.

BTW, 650ml is a fairly small starter, 1.5-2 liters is much more useful for a 5 gallon pitch. But it all depends on how many healthy cells you started out with. I've had many WYeast packs barely swell, but they still made good starters, taking a few days, though.

From another thread, someone mentioned there are "about" 3 cups of DME in a pound (but it varies due to moisture, packing density, etc.). So 1/3 cup is about 1/9 of a pound, or about 454/9 = 50 gram.

Typical yeast starters are made at around 1.037-1.040 SG. You'd arrive at 1.037 when using 100 grams DME per liter (1000 ml).
You used about 50 grams in 650ml, so starter gravity it's a little lower, around 1.028.

Are you using a yeast calculator? Something like this:
BrewUnited's Yeast Calculator
 
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phbern

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Thanks for your quick reply!

The pack was delivered Thursday and went directly into the fridge. The use by date is 25JAN2022. It was not on a stir plate, but swirled often.

I did not use a calculator; I used instructions I found online.

Do you think it would help if I added DME and water to fill to 1000ml?
 

IslandLizard

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Do you think it would help if I added DME and water to fill to 1000ml?
Is that a 1 liter flask? If so, swirling will become much harder, if not impossible, when it's too full.
Agitation, like a stir plate or swirling often, adds oxygen which promotes growth over fermentation, is more important than sheer starter volume. Play with that yeast calculator a bit to get the idea.

Your starter looks healthy, just a little low on cell count yet.
When are you brewing? Today?

If you have a 1/2 gallon growler or a gallon jug (with a screw lid) you can use the "shaken-not-stirred" method (look it up) to increase vitality and growth. Just pour your starter into the growler. Use good sanitation of course.

Here's are the (estimated) prospects of your current starter if you swirl it well every 30-60 minutes:

St 2021-10-24_1.png
 

Conehead

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I would let it sit longer and take a gravity reading. Then step it up for a 5 gallon brew. I also split my starter water with 50% RO and 50% tap water. I am not sure if starters need minerals from tap water for the yeast or not, I just do it anyway.
 
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Well you can always turn off the plate and see if when it all comes to a rest if it's creating its own foam.
It would be a clear indication.

Cheers
Jay
 
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phbern

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Thanks for your help, everyone!

I Made some more wort using the calculator and there was definite activity! I pitched it last night and the Tilt is showing fermentation, so we will see!
 
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