Yeasties Alive?

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jchadscud

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I bottle harvested Julius Echter yeast from 3 bottles about a week ago and everything was going fine with the step ups. I was going for 1 last dose of wort and didn't have enough room in the flask. I refrigerated overnight, siphoned off the beer and added another round of starter wort (3oz DME, 1/4tsp nutrients, 3 cups water) boiled and cooled of course. It's been sitting for about 2 days with no sign of fermentation.

The liquid in the flask has the sweet wort smell and not a beer smell. Any idea why the yeasties won't eat?
 

brewmasterpa

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too much alcohol content from the other starters in the flask??? just a thought, doesnt mean its right.
 
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jchadscud

jchadscud

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That's a good thought. I siphoned out most of the beer from the previous starters though. There was maybe a half inch of liquid and yeast before I put in the fresh starter.

It's like a stuck mini-fermentation unfortunately. I'd like to brew the batch tonight and pitch, but if the yeasties won't ferment a starter I doubt they would ferment 5 gallons...

I may try warming the starter a bit. It's sitting around 68 degrees right now.
 
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jchadscud

jchadscud

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1.5oz DME in 2 cups water, waited 2 days
Added 1.5oz DME in 2 cups water to fermented mixture, waited 2 days
Refrigerated overnight and siphoned off all but 1/2 inch
Added 3oz DME in 3 cups water (this is where I am stuck)

Nutrients were included, DME was boiled and cooled, etc.

The mixture I siphoned off smelled and tasted like beer. What's currently in the flask is still dark in color and smells like wort. I could take a hydro reading, but the smell and color seems to give away the fact that it hasn't fermented.
 
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jchadscud

jchadscud

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Correct. I boiled the wort in a separate vessel, cooled and then added to the vessel with the yeast.
 

flyangler18

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It is possible that the yeast were simply overwhelmed and pooped out early. I'll assume that you were working with starter wort in the neighborhood of 1.035 - 1.040 to make life a little easier for the yeast. The volumes of wort seem a bit large for the tiny amount of yeast that 3 bottles would have yielded. You have to coddle bottle-harvested yeast a bit, because they are stressed and the cell count is very small. When I build starters from slants, I do 10-fold increases: 10mL to 100mL to 1000mL, averaging two days between each step.
 
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jchadscud

jchadscud

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I'll take a reading when I get home. If it had fermented out, shouldn't it smell more like beer and less like wort though? I've also noticed that the color lightens up quite a bit with all of my other starters.

If the reading is high, any other ideas what could be going on?
 

flyangler18

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If this is the case, I'm guessing pitching into 5 gallons isn't going to do me any good. Are they goners or can I revive them somehow?

Give the starter a shake and some time, they might pull through. Bottle-harvesting is an exercise in persistence and patience.
 
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jchadscud

jchadscud

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Thanks for the insight sir! I've been shaking and waiting for the last few days. There's about 1/8 inch of yeast at the bottom of the flask so I'm hopeful. I may siphon out the current wort and try to go back to the 1.5oz mixture.
 
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jchadscud

jchadscud

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Gravity of the starter liquid is 1.041. I guess I'll give them some time to fire up and if I don't see any activity in a few days I'll start from scratch.
 
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