Yeast starter smells like sulfur and tastes sour/tart

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rtstrider

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Hey all! I'm pretty sure I know the answer here :( I was looking to get other opinions. My yeast starter is using Bells house yeast (built up from my freezer bank). It smells like sulfur but smells like a starter should. However, it's tart and tastes like a sour. I'm pretty sure this is infected because that's not my normal experience with starters. This is not a hopped starter. I'm going ahead and going through with the final 2L 1.040 step up just to see if that does anything. Usually the starters I have experience with (outside of Imperial g03) taste watery, oxidized, and that's about it. Is Bells yeast known for being tart when it's in suspension? This tastes like how a previous G03 starter tasted so I'm not quite freaking out yet. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Edit: It does not taste like vinegar. It's just very tart
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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Well I’ll say this much. Almost 4 hours after stepping this up from 1L 1.020 to 2L 1.040 it’s krausened and smells clean. I’m apt to believe this may be a case of rdwhahb. Did tons of google searches and seems like this may be par for the course of a yeast starter. I’ll update the results here just so there’s a reference if anyone else runs into this issue
 

mashpaddled

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It's not really unusual and especially for frozen yeast in my experience. Even properly frozen yeast have gone through a rough journey and usually perform oddly at first in a starter. This is a good reason to give frozen yeast a small first starter with plenty of oxygen and nutrients.
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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It's not really unusual and especially for frozen yeast in my experience. Even properly frozen yeast have gone through a rough journey and usually perform oddly at first in a starter. This is a good reason to give frozen yeast a small first starter with plenty of oxygen and nutrients.
I usually go

150ml 1.020
1L 1.020
2L 1.040

and add a pinch of nutrient/campden to each step to feed the yeast/kill chloramines
 

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rtstrider

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It's been over 12 hours since the starter step up. I'm going to call this one busted (aka I was wrong lol) It seems @mashpaddled is onto something here with frozen yeast. Going from 1L 1.020 (second step) to 2L 1.040 is a massive difference. This smells exactly like a starter should smell now. No sulfur and it smells clean like a starter made from a smack pack. Guessing now there's more than enough cells to ferment whats in there plus clean up the other byproducts of the previous steps. I'll keep this updated though!
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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The yeast was just pitched into the Morebeer Soulless Hop Pale Ale. The starter smelled and tasted like it should. This is one of those times I was so glad to be wrong :)
 

crazyjake19

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I had a few really rough smelling starters with A38 Juice from Imperial (London Ale III) but went with it anyway and the beers turned out great. Some yeasts just make for interesting starters.
 
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rtstrider

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Just wanted to give an update. It's been almost 11 days since the yeast was pitched into the Soulless Hopped Pale Ale. I pulled a very tiny sample last night. No off flavors outside of what you would expect. Meaning the beer is a tad green and the yeast has a bit of cleaning up to do. The Bell's yeast fermented at 64F paired way too well with that recipe! Going to have to play around with the Bells yeast a bit more for sure. I'll post another update come kegging day. Hoping that's Saturday but that's for the yeast to decide ;)
 
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