Pictures of a Starter

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by AHarper, Mar 8, 2021.

  1. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    #1 AHarper, Mar 8, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
    OK, This is my third attempt at using a liquid yeast (Wyeast) and creating a starter with it. My problem is - It has been 3 days now and very little - if any - life has been noticed in the starter.
    I followed a recipe on the Wyeast web site using one of their yeasts (Wyeast / Scottish Ale 1728) that I kept in the fridge since purchase and warmed it up to room temperature before smacking it. I left it for at least 6 hours but it never swelled up as they depict on their site. Yes it was well within date - BBE July 2021!!
    Anyway... I decided to carry on with it and boiled up the required amount of LME with Yeast nutrient and the right amount of water, let it cool to room temp and dumped it all into a sterilised Erlenmeyer Conical Flask and left it for a day in the kitchen. Nothing... So I put it in my fermentation fridge at 18C and sat it on a plate stirrer on a timer.
    The two pictures below show without the stirrer on and with the stirrer on.
    When left to settle overnight without stirring I would have expected to see some activity - even a few small bubbles or a ring of froth would have been welcome but... nothing.

    Have I wasted my time? What should I see - if anything - to prove it is all viable? Should I just leave it for longer before trusting it's viability in a brew I plan to do on Wednesday?

    Any guidance would be most welcome. I am starting to think these starters - and using liquid yeasts - are a waste of time. Just pitch a dried yeast and get on with it.

    Am I worrying unnecessarily?


    upload_2021-3-8_21-17-38.png upload_2021-3-8_21-18-4.png
     
  2. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Have you checked the gravity? Some of my starters have started and finished between going to bed and checking on it the next day.
     
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  3. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    No, not yet. That was my next action as I didn't want to decant it and possibly infect it. I did make it to the recipe that "suggested" it would work out at 1,040 with the given amounts. I admit to not checking that though as I could not be arsed to go out to the garage at 2 AM and dig out my hydrometer. I could always do a Brix reading though - good idea.

    In any case if the starter has finished - as you suspect could be the case - would it still be viable to use as a starter for a brew if kept in the fridge until Wednesday?

    I'll go check the Brix now and see what it reports.
     
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  4. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I crash all my starters for a couple of days before using, mainly so I can decant off the beer easily. So I'd have no trouble using it any time up to a week. After a week I might just wake it up with 500 mL of wort while I'm waiting for the batch to finish cooling, but I might also just pitch it.
     
  5. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    I have had Wyeast smack packs that did not swell, and packs that did. Both produced a fermentation, fwiw.
     
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  6. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    That’s interesting. By “did not swell” do you mean AT ALL or just didn’t swell a lot? The only Wyeast pack that I had that failed to swell - and I mean it remained flat as a pancake - was DOA. I pitched it and the wort showed 0 activity after 54 hours (that beer was salvaged with an emergency pack of US-05). Now I have had some packs that only blew up about 25% (in 4-5 hours) and they were fine.
     
  7. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    Well I did not notice any significant swelling - sounds like my mrs talking lol - but what I have noticed since I added it to the starter wort is the tell-tale clumps of creamy yeast when I first switch on the stirrer. Almost immediately it goes too frothy to see anything - see picture above - so there may be Some activity now but maybe the wort is too weak for it to take off in a big way. I used commercial Malt Extract rather than a true brewing LME. It shouldn't make any difference but it was all I had left to use.
    It is now in the ferm fridge with the ubiquitous foil hat. I am brewing tomorrow - no today - so if it doesn't kick off when I pitch I do have lots of dry yeasts there and I will top up with one of them if necessary.
     
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  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    I do the same
     
  9. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    The tiny swelling that did occur, I attributed to the temperature change. The ones that swelled, did so very obviously. So I'd put it in the 'didn't swell a lot' category.

    Then there was the one that didn't swell at all. Turned out I didn't smack it hard enough, the packet inside was unbroken. But that's a different issue.:rolleyes:
     
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  10. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    I think that may have been my problem... we are not allowed to smack things here - it's against the law and I'm out of practice.
     
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  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    20210311_154558.jpg
    Took this pic the other day and thought I'd share it with you.
    This is Framgarden Yeast collected from my Cider fermentation 14lt.
    I was astonished how clean the yeast trub was at the bottom of the fermentor so I pre boiled some water in that flask let it cool overnight and swirled up the yeast for collection.

    I'm guestimating over 200 billion off just two teaspoons of slurry crazy propogation I rekon.
    This will be enough for easily many many batches of beer/Cider:)

    Gunna dry this clean harvest In the oven.
    Will post pics
     
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