Yeast starter problems

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

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Yeast starter problems

Postby jayhawk » Thu Aug 15, 2002 9:00 am

I am having a problem generating a yeast starter from Wyeast #1007 German Ale. I let the foil pack incubate and expand to the recommended thickness, then added it to a pint of wort made of DME. 10 hours after adding the yeast, there is no activity at all. The yeast have collected at the bottom of the jar, and there are no bubbles. I agitated the jar for about 1 to 2 minutes after adding the yeast, the wort SG was 1.050, the temperature was about 25C. The yeast was packaged July 22 2002. What have I done wrong? Not enough aeration? (It is possible that this pack is cursed to caused me great frustration, as I had a huge hassle in trying to get the yeast shipped from a local retailer.)
Thanks
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Hot Weather?

Postby andytv » Thu Aug 15, 2002 11:27 am

My buddy had a pack of wyeast that may have had a similar problem; he left it in his car in the summer and it COOKED! Later, the pack expanded to about 1 inch, but I'm accustommed to them really expanding to the point that they feel like they want to explode. We canned the package. After ten hours, you should see some activity. I think that one minute of agitation is enough to aerate. I generally only shake for about 30 sec and always have good results. You may want to use a little yeast nutrient when building starters too. As far as a curse...anythings possible, but I'd put my nickel on poor handling by your shipper or supplier. I've been using dry yeast (see previous posts) with pretty good results for a few months now. Wyeast is expensive, and I've had too many problems with it. I really don't think alot of retailers are capable or willing to handle and store it correctly.

Not to change the subject;I just bought a 2l erlenmeyer flask for yeast starters and can't wait to use it. Ebay has some pretty good deals on labware, es[ecially if you only need a liter.

Prosit

Andy
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Liquid yeast reliability

Postby jayhawk » Thu Aug 15, 2002 1:05 pm

You are probably right about poor handling. Are these liquid cultures always so hit and miss? I also had problems earlier this year using a local microbrew's yeast slurry. The fermentation was slow to start and I had 3 bad batches in a row because I had to keep f**ing around with the brew. Dried yeast is more reliable, but it seems like one can't tweak the brew so much. I was curious to see what effect the German ale yeast would have on the end result. I do have a backup pack of dried yeast though, so I will just go ahead with that and experiment later.
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are ya sure it didn't start?

Postby stumpwater » Thu Aug 15, 2002 1:36 pm

I am no expert on liquid yeast as I have experiences similar to the ones you outline, but I do know that these things can finish a lot of activity very quickly. The fact that you have dead cells on the bottom of your vessel tells me that you may actually have missed the primary activity as it happened so fast. Good Luck!
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Good call stumpy

Postby jayhawk » Thu Aug 15, 2002 3:22 pm

As a test, I strained off the wort I used for the liquid starter from the sediment, reboiled it for sterilization, and pitched a rehydrated packet of dried yeast in to it. Nothing happened! I think I did miss the fun while I was sleeping last night. I guess I will just have to chalk this one up to experience. In hindsight what I should have done was take a hydrometer reading to see if the yeast had activated and fermented the starter wort. I will have to wait until next week to brew now, as I won't be able to get a hold of another German Ale culture until then. Maybe this is what I get for trying to brew a wimpy beer for my football buddies!)
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