Yeast Starter Question

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What should Exo do???

  • RDWHAHB

  • Buy some new yeast.

  • Pitch the stuff you got...it's expensive!

  • Starters are over-rated.


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Exo

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I'm going to be brewing Cheesefood's Caramel Creme Ale on Monday. I started my yeast starter today. A prev. yeast starter used for my Wee Heavy did just fine...

So here's the issue. After 12hrs there is no head/krausen forming in my starter container. Just the liquid. When I swirl the starter there is some airlock activity.

Heres what I did. I smacked the Wyeast 1007 German Ale about 1hr prior to pitching it into the starter wort and warmed it up. It didn't swell a WHOLE lot in that hour. Sterilized the container in a rolling boil for 20min.

I made up the starter wort and used 2cups of tap water. Here's where I think the issue might be. My tap water is confirmed to have chloramines. The water was boiled then a 1/2cup of LME was added. Boil time was 15min. I didn't add a hop pellet this time.

I did a good 4 doses of the Oxynator prior to pitching the yeast.

I can think of a few issues. One, the blasted tap water. Two, an alkaline environment. Three, the yeast was "bad" somehow. The yeast was shipped overnight in ice-packs and the Boom-Boom Hefe I brewed was in the same shipment...

So WTF? My last use of Wyeast's 1007 produced some serious blow-off in my O'fest ale w/in 12hrs. I will be doing a LHBS run on Monday prior to the brew for a few last-minute things. Should I just buy some new yeast and pitch this starter?
 

homebrewer_99

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The reason you're starter's not kreusening is you didn't give it enough time.

You have to make starters 1-2 days ahead of your brewing schedule. Since you're making a run to the local HBS tomorrow your starter should be ready then. My guess it'll be alright come this afternoon or early evening.

I made a starter yesterday morning and it's in full kreusen right now.:D
 

Pumbaa

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I've never used a started and only ever used Wyeast smack packs for yeast. IMHO you need to pull that smack pack out of the fridge, let it warm up then smack it and let it swell all the way out. With that method I have always had airlock activity with in 4-6 hours.

If I was useing Whitelabs vials I probably would make a starter but just never saw a need for the smack packs.
 
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Exo

Exo

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Well, it's morning...still no krausen. This was "starter'd on Saturday and Brew is on Monday. If no krausen forms by tommorow morning this is gonna get dumped. Better to replace 5 bucks on yeast than 35 bucks on ingredients.

When I swirl it the airlock goes mad...then things settle. I attribute the problem to wort acidity and blasted tap-water. I just don't want to pitch a half-assed starter into an expensive beer.

A smack-pack is not a mini starter. It just rouses the yeast, ensuring they are active and viable.
 

Prost!

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As long as you're getting airlock action, RDWHAHB. If you have a transparent starter vessel and can see tiny C02 bubbles rising, that you're not getting any krausen isn't that important at this point, the yeast is alive and multiplying. Don't chuck it and buy new yeast. You'll still get a quicker start with the starter than with a new smack pack. And you can't rely on the poll results, starters are very necessary. Next time try White Labs, they're very good.
 

Pumbaa

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Exo said:
A smack-pack is not a mini starter. It just rouses the yeast, ensuring they are active and viable.
and the purpose of a starter is what again? If ya want to do starters fine but . . .

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter6-5.html
But a starter is not always necessary. These days, several companies offer liquid yeasts that are use-by date coded and are packaged at higher cell counts so that they don't need to be pitched to a starter. Below, I describe how to make a yeast starter, which is meant to build up the cell counts for the 50 ml size smack-pack yeast pouches, and yeast packaged as slants. (A slant is a small tube containing agar or similar growth media and a relatively low number of yeast cells.) Ready-to-pitch yeasts, and and the larger 175 ml smack-packs do not need a starter, depending on their freshness, but it never hurts. (Unless your sanitation is poor!)
 
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Exo

Exo

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Ohh, SHMBO decided it would be best to brew the Caramel Cream Ale Sunday instead of Monday. So this starter has been pitched. If nothing is happening in the late morning I'mma run to the LHBS and buy some yeast to pitch I guess. Still, I think it will be just fine.
 

Pumbaa

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Your link also refers to the 50ml smack packs

Maltose Falcons said:
Most homebrewers start out pitching a Wyeast packet. How much are you actually underpitching with one of these 50 ml pouches? Assuming all the yeast in a Wyeast packet are viable (only about 25% truly are!), we are adding only 50 ml of about 60 million/cells per ml.
I havent seen a 50ml smack pack and have only ever used the 125ml (100 Billion cell count)

If you are pitching Whitelabs' vial, a 50ml smack pack, dry or old yeast a starter is a good idea.

If you are pitching a fresh 125ml smack pack a starter cant hurt (unless it's infected) but it's not neccessary.
 
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Exo

Exo

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Well how did this turn out? Well, I had airlock activity in the 6gal carboy w/in 4hrs. At 12-14hrs there was a bit chunk of something floating below the surface. I believe it was some trub that had gotten a bit of CO under it and raised it up.

Krausen really didn't form until about 24hrs into it. And she's churning away now.

Why the slow start I have no idea. If anything, a starter should have gotten it going a bit better. I believe some warm-ish shipping temps killed a few yeast off and the starter may have been a good thing.
 
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