Yeast Starter From Dregs

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chefbri

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I tried making a yeast starter from 2 bottles of saison DuPont. I boiled a solution of 100g of DME to 1L of water. I added half of it to the dregs and put it on a stir plate. I took the remaining half and left it in an air tight container at room temperature. After 24 hours I added the other half to what looked like a nice starter. After I added the solution that had been sitting I noticed a smell from the jar (not the flask on the stir plate). It wasn't bad, just different. It was a sort of cooked cereal rather than a fresh cereal smell of normal wort. It also had a greyish trub (which I did not add). Could the solution go rancid? Are there risks of botulism? I added the "questionable" wort about 12 hours ago. It looks and smells ok. The color is milky yellow brown and it has an inch of frothy head. Any thoughts?
 

Scotty_g

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The gray stuff in the second add is probably hot or cold break. No worries. I would have put it in the fridge, but if you sealed it up hot it is *probably* not contaminated with airborne critters. 24 hours isn't a ton of time for something to grow, although the starter wort is a good media. Next time, make sure the container you store it in is sanitized and put it in the fridge.

You probably don't have a risk of botulism, which I think is a slower-growing anaerobic bacteria that doesn't like acidic conditions. You shouldn't have had it sitting around long enough for anything to go anaerobic, and I've never heard of anyone making botulism-contaminated beer.

The only other thing I would have recommended may be to wash the yeast from the bottle. I must confess I've never washed any yeast although there are lots of members here who have and can advise you. When stepping up your starter, it may be worth washing before you re-pitch.

Otherwise it sounds like you have a good healthy culture - good luck! I've used the commercial version of DuPont yeast and when they say it's fussy, they aren't lying. Keep it hot and agitate it a lot, and be patient. Beer comes out awesome though.

I am not sure if there is any truth to the rumor that DuPont bottles with a different yeast.
 
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chefbri

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Great, thanks for the feedback. I'm going to pitch this into a sort of graff. 4 gallons of local cider and a gallon of wort mashed from munich and 2 row. I think the DuPont yeast will be nice in it. Thanks again!
 

Scotty_g

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I made a batch of graff a couple years ago with some fresh apple cider using 3787 (Westmalle) yeast. I put in 1.80 lbs of extra-light DME and steeped 1 lb of crystal 40L and 2 oz of Carapils (must have had it laying around). Total liquid was 1 gallon of water for steeping and sparging, and 4 gallons of juice. OG was 1.055, FG was 1.000. It was a lot less tart than the Apfelwein recipe floating around (all apple juice + corn sugar), but still a bit too dry for my tastes. I'd want to raise the crystal malt to 1.5 lbs to provide a bit more sweetness. I did use some yeast nutrient as well.

Keep in mind that if you get a good culture of the DuPont yeast and can get it to finish, it is going to be even dryer than that. It should be tasty (tons of fruit flavor and spice notes), but tart. Either live with it dry, finish the yeast off early (low temps will keep it from fermenting out), campden it to kill the yeast, or backsweeten with lactose or a non-fermentable artificial sweetner.
 
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