Is my starter ok?

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

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Is my starter ok?

Postby B Stein » Sat Jan 01, 2005 10:30 pm

I am preparing to start a cherry stout and decided I should make a starter.

Here is what I put into it.

2 Cups water
2/3 Cup Light LME
WL Brittish Ale Yeast

I boiled the water & LME in a pyrex for 5 minutes in the microwave then cooled in an ice bath to 80 degrees. I ensured to sanitize my 22oz beer bottle stopper and bubbler in Idophor sanitizer for at least 10 minutes.

I then poured into the beer bottle shook hard then pitched my yeast it has been 24 hrs and the bubbler is still very slow ( 1 bubble every 10 sec ).
This is the first starter I have ever made. Is this working or not? I was hoping to use the starter tomorrow.

Any help whould be appreciated. This will be my 7th batch of brew and I have never had a contamination problem yet because I am pretty darn anal retentive about sanitation.
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Sounds OK ...

Postby Azorean Brewer » Sun Jan 02, 2005 11:07 am

Stein,

Do you have a white creamy head on your starter, this is Krausen, if yes then everything is good to go. If you are getting air lock activity then I suspect you have krausen (pronounced Kroy-zen)

As for the method I use, I put two cups water and 1/2 cup of DME into my sanitized pyrex erlenmyer flask, and set it on my gas stove burner low-med heat until it boils, and let it boil for 5 minutes, then cool an pitch the yeast in, I usually have krausen in 12-24 hours depending on how fresh the yeast is. If it has expired (but is stiil good, I have used yeast 4 months past expiration) I start my starter 48 hours before brew day. Hope that this help ok?

Paul.
"I drink therefore I am"
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Postby TheUKDave » Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:46 pm

Hi,

Total newbie to the forum here, started brewing about a year ago when I had to take a year out from uni to have surgery - what better way to kill a year than by making beer? - Have done about 7-8 batches now and after about batch 3 decided to do nothing but all grain brewing with liquid yeasts.

Problem is, I often seem to have problems with my starter cultures. I use the Wyeast slap-packs. I have to be honest, I don't think the instructions are clear, it says to activate the pack a day or 2 before pitching, and that you can also make a starter culture. Am I supposed to activate the pack a day or 2 before making the starter culture, or do you only have to wait a day or 2 if pitching straight into the wort?


Thanks for any help
Dave
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Dave, Welcome to the forum

Postby Azorean Brewer » Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:01 pm

We're glad to have you join,

I have not had good luck with smack packs. The problem that I have had with Wyeast is that the smack packs can varry a lot from one batch to another. My recommendation is to find out if WhiteLabs Liquid yeast is available in your area, this variety of yeast (to me) is far superior, sorry Wyeast, just personal preference. Make a starter of 1 pint water to 2/3 cup od D.M.E. (dry Malt extract) boil for 15 minutes and then cool, once cooled to room temp. put it in to a sterile vessle (I use a clear wine bottle or Erlenmyer Flask) shake the vile of whitelabs yeast and pour it in to the starter liquid. Young yeast (not past the expiration date on the label) will give you BIG krausen in 24 hours. If you can not get White Labs, put the smack pack on a table, with the palm of your hand locate the bubble in the foil pouch, press down on it until you feel it pop, wait 24 hours, clean the package with rubbing alcohol, and let air dry, cut it open and pour it in to your starter fom the above procedure, allow it to krausen (24 - 36 hours)this will give you good amount of yeast cells.

Also Dave I have concoted an awesome all grain "Best Bitters" recipe, you can find it in the recipe archives under "Azorean Brewers Best Bitters" ... you will be the envy of the locals with this recipe, it is really great ... or try going here.

http://www.beertools.com/html/recipe.php?view=4437

Regards,

Paul.
"I drink therefore I am"
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My Wyeast experience

Postby jayhawk » Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:50 pm

The only way to play Wyeast is to use fresh cultures. By fresh I mean ones packages within 2-3months. I have simply experienced too much inconsistency in packages over 3 months to recommend using them. I find that fresh packs will swell to full size within 3 hrs, while older packs will often not swell fiully and will take forever to ferment a batch, and the flavours will be inconsistent unless you build a large starter. As Azorean notes, you can get away with using older packs but you must make sure you get them started a few days before brewing. I use basically the same starter prep method as he does, save for the pyrex.
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