Yeast starter smells of creamed corn

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Jun 23, 2013
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I have a yeast starter that I've been stepping up from some Hennepin dregs. The first two steps went good, and I have a nice thick layer of yeast at the bottom after the third - but it smells of burnt creamed corn now. It most certainly did not have this smell after the first two steps.

Starters were all done with DME for 24 hour periods. I went from 600mL @ 1.020 to 1.2 L @ 1.035 to 1.75 L @ 1.040. At the end of the last step I let it rest for about 6 hours and then cold crashed it, I didn't notice the smell until this morning when I went to decant it. I was going to use it later today, but now I'm not so sure.
Cream corn would usually be either a symptom of DMS, bacteria or just a sulphur put out by the yeast. Im not familiar with that beer so I don't know the yeast character but for me if it smells sweet and good I would expect that a yeast culture is fine, if it is more rancid or sour/tart I would ditch it. Taste the starter liquid (after decanting it into a glass) and trust your palette. DMS or the yeast character isn't going to hurt anything, bacteria will.