Yeast starter question

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Jun 28, 2007
Reaction score
Buffalo, NY
I made my first starter yesterday for a brew I thought I was going to do today. But I'm having issues with my starter.

I used the Yeast Starter instructions from Northern Brewer's website.

I boiled ~1300ML w/ 1.5cups DME, cooled and pitched. But here's the catch. I was using a Belgian Wyeast Propagator Smack Pack and didn't realize that it was a smack pack until I went to pitch it! So I just pitched the yeast along with nutrients in the 'smack' pack itself instead of smacking, and waiting for it to inflate.

I then put it on the stirplate and let it spin. It's been almost 18 hours and there's not much of a sign of any yeasties. I took it off the stirplate for a couple hours and I see SOME sediment in the bottom, but not much.

I plan on using this next weekend now that my brew day today is shot. I was just going to put it in the fridge and bring it up to pitching temp before I use it. I just want to make sure it's ready by then

But should I be concerned with the lack of sediment and maybe add more boiled DME?
The propagator is the one with the "lessor" amount of yeast right? Sometimes it just takes a while for it to take off. I took a testube of frozen wyeast 1469 out of the freezer on Friday and wanted to brew this weekend, but it took a long time for it to take off. I started w/ a 50mL wort and then upped it to 2L. Yeah I know might stress the yeast, but it's fine. Just took all day Saturday to get going. This morning it has good signs of life.

If it were me, I would let it sit on the stir plate for a day or so (or until its done maybe longer) and then stick it in the fridge and use it next week


-I'm smelling a lotta IF coming offa this plan-
Your plan sounds good. I try to make my starter at least 4 days before brew day, that way it is done and all I have to pitch is the cake on the bottom of the starter rather than the whole thing. Your yeast might be a bit old, and that may be why it is taking some time to take off.
Oh and BTW I never smack my yeast and let it swell before pitching anymore. Not since the time that damned smack-pack exploded like a ketchup packet all over my wall. The starters always take off just fine without smacking.:)
I always have some dry yeast on hand and if your starter fails then you can use an alternate yeast or make another recipe for that brew day. At least the day is not lost. :)
I'm going to let it sit for the rest of the day on the stirplate. I'll put it in the fridge overnight. If I don't see any slurry, I'll try adding some more DME tomorrow.