Yeast Starter

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

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Yeast Starter

Postby Kilerclown » Wed May 01, 2002 4:42 am

Im planning on brewing a strawberry wheat tonight and need a few opinions. I started a Wyeast smack pack on saturday night and on sunday evening still saw no evidence of activity. That being said I began a starter with sterilized wort in a sterilized jar, added the yeast and sat back. I finally saw activity tuesday morning so I put it into the fridge and just took it out this morning to wake the little guys up. Finally, here's the question, is it worth using and running the risk of contaminating the whole batch or should I just use a dry yeast I keep for an emergency. All knowledgeable opinions are appreciated.
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Check the date

Postby Push Eject » Wed May 01, 2002 9:19 am

If the date on the package is less than 3 months old and you are confident it was stored properly for that time I would go ahead and use it -- then send me a six pack of your strawberry wheat immediately for "testing".
Cheers,
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Someday I will learn

Postby Kilerclown » Wed May 01, 2002 11:05 am

One day I will learn my lesson and check the mfg dates before I leave the shop. This one was 4 months old....Do I feel lucky??? :-)
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Do you fell confident?

Postby andytv » Wed May 01, 2002 4:37 pm

Since you observed activity after you prepared the starter, I guess the question becomes "do feel confident" that your sanitary practices did not allow contaminants to start gobbling up your yeast starter. In other word, did you observe yeast activity or a bacterial frenzy. My bet is that you are OK. I'd give the starter a sniff and see if any crazy off-odors are there. If infected, I'd think the odor would be pretty strong. I've rolled the dice in the past and used yeast from slap packs that was somewhat marginally developed (only about 3/4" thick) and I'm pleased to say that the batch was OK. Please understand though, that my recommendation is based only on similar experiences, and that I am not a yeast expert. That being said..Does anyone have any info on methods of evaluating the health of a yeast starter other than peeping thru a microscope???

Anyway, by now you have probably already made your decision. Hope everything turns out OK.

Andy
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Whimped out....

Postby Kilerclown » Wed May 01, 2002 7:16 pm

Everything smelled fine but I wasnt willing to take a chance....I figured it was worth the couple bucks for the dry yeast...but never fail I tasted the starter before I dumped it and it tasted fine...Im sure it would have worked....at least now I know for next time....
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Know your yeast!

Postby Brewer2001 » Sun May 05, 2002 1:16 pm

You are on the right track. I think you should move to liquid yeast slurry rather than dry. The viability and consistancy is better. The date is a good indicator when you buy the starter but if you reuse the yeast it won't matter once you create a starter slurry. Remember yeast is a alive and want to reproduce themselves. Each pitching, if conditions are right, produces a new generation. (I have a yeast slurry in my frige that is the 14th generation of the original starter.) That being said and without the use of a microscope and lab equipment, the taste, smell and color of the yeast are your best indicators. Most Micro and Brewpub trade brewers, that do not have lab facilities, use these criteria to evaluate their yeast. You just need to become familiar with the characteristics of the particular yeast strain and trust your experience. Remember dry yeast is not repitchable (most of the time). Good brewing.
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old yeast

Postby Fraoch » Mon May 06, 2002 2:58 am

My last batch(kegged today) was a Wyeast 1098 from may of last year, thats 11 months old. I took a gamble on the viability but it came good within 2 days in the starter (started smack pack first though) and brewed out like a treat. Needless to say i judged its condition by giving it a good sniff, hardly scientific i know but what the hell??!! What im trying to say is that the manufacturer will stipulate 3 months or so to GUARRANTEE your yeast but that dont mean that this is a finite time span. At the end of the day, yeast is a lot hardier than we home brewers think.

I must add though that the pack had been stored in refrigerated conditions for that period
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