Starter adventures

Starter adventures

Post by Michali » Sat, 01 Dec 2007 22:33:49



Yesterday i tried to make my first starter. Now I'm thinking to toss it
away and do a new one : )

16:30 Removed Wyeast Propagator pack from fridge. Gave up on trying to
break the inner bag.

18:30 Pack is now at room temperature, which for some reason makes it
easier to find and control the inner bag. Smacked it successfully.

00:30 After 6 hours wait i don't see any significant swelling on the
pack, but decided to make the starter anyway, since the instructions
mention that Propagator packs don't necessarily swell much.

I made a wort of 225 grams (0.5 pound) in 2 litre (0.5gal) of water so
that I end up with a gravity around 1.040.

I boiled on maximum (electric) stove setting, which maybe was too much,
since I ended up with almost half wort (1.1lt / 0.3 gal) after 20
minutes boiling time! (After reading some older posts this morning
concluded that the geometry of the pot must have helped a bit)

The boiling produced millions of little bubbles, making a hissing noise,
and was trying to boil over all the time. Another thing i noticed was
that after I had a little boilover, the dried foam around the stove was
black-ish. Is that normal? Maybe its the actual hot break protein thing?

In spite of the significant reduction on the wort volume, I decided to
do the starter anyway. After cooled to 27C (80F), I aerated well (by
vigorous shaking) and pitched the yeast in. Covered with blow off hose
(optimistic me) and went to sleep.

Next morning (8 hours later) the starter was flat, and a brown - instead
of white - sediment layer was formed on the bottom. I opened and smelled
and the smell reminded me of fermentation, but I'm not 100% positive.

That's it. I don't even know if my yeast is dead or so. But I have a
theory for what might have gotten wrong.

I'm thinking that having nearly half of the water evaporated, I ended up
doubling the gravity, ie pitched the yeast on 1.080 instead. Haven't
measured the gravity, since i don't dare waisting more of my already
reduced starter as a gravity sample.

Should I toss it and make a new one? And if yes, after i verify that the
gravity is indeed 1.080 would it hurt if I added 1 more liter (0.25 gal)
to this wort so that i bring it to 1.040 and re-boil it (not so hard
this time) so i wont waist more extract and use the previous yeast as
nutrient?

Michalis

 
 
 

Starter adventures

Post by Scott Seller » Sun, 02 Dec 2007 02:31:08



[...]

Quote:
>I boiled on maximum (electric) stove setting, which maybe was
>too much, since I ended up with almost half wort (1.1lt / 0.3
>gal) after 20 minutes boiling time! (After reading some older
>posts this morning concluded that the geometry of the pot must
>have helped a bit)

Twenty minutes at max boil is probably overkill for a DME
starter.

Quote:
>The boiling produced millions of little bubbles, making a
>hissing noise, and was trying to boil over all the time. Another
>thing i noticed was that after I had a little boilover, the
>dried foam around the stove was black-ish. Is that normal? Maybe
>its the actual hot break protein thing?

Turn the heat down!  Wort on hot stove top = dark, semi-permanent
stains.

Quote:
>In spite of the significant reduction on the wort volume, I
>decided to do the starter anyway. After cooled to 27C (80F), I
>aerated well (by vigorous shaking) and pitched the yeast in.
>Covered with blow off hose (optimistic me) and went to sleep.
>Next morning (8 hours later) the starter was flat, and a brown -
>instead of white - sediment layer was formed on the bottom. I
>opened and smelled and the smell reminded me of fermentation,
>but I'm not 100% positive.

That brown is probably trub.  Yeast will settle out as a whitish
layer.

Quote:
>That's it. I don't even know if my yeast is dead or so. But I
>have a theory for what might have gotten wrong.

Does the starter look swirly, bubbly, or cloudy?  If so, the
yeast might still be working.

Quote:
>I'm thinking that having nearly half of the water evaporated, I
>ended up doubling the gravity, ie pitched the yeast on 1.080
>instead. Haven't measured the gravity, since i don't dare
>waisting more of my already reduced starter as a gravity sample.

You know what you put in, so you know the gravity without needing
a sample.  As you state, 1.080 is high for a good yeast start.

Quote:
>Should I toss it and make a new one? And if yes, after i verify
>that the gravity is indeed 1.080 would it hurt if I added 1 more
>liter (0.25 gal) to this wort so that i bring it to 1.040 and
>re-boil it (not so hard this time) so i wont waist more extract
>and use the previous yeast as nutrient?

I'd just add boiled and cooled water to get the desired dilution.
No need to reboil the whole thing.

cheers,
Scott S

--
Scott Sellers                |


 
 
 

Starter adventures

Post by John 'Shaggy' Kolesa » Thu, 06 Dec 2007 01:13:23


Quote:

> Yesterday i tried to make my first starter. Now I'm thinking to toss it
> away and do a new one : )

A couple comments below.  In general though, while not going exactly to plan,
I think you're OK with the current starter.  It's probably OK to use.

Quote:
> 00:30 After 6 hours wait i don't see any significant swelling on the
> pack, but decided to make the starter anyway, since the instructions
> mention that Propagator packs don't necessarily swell much.

You don't really need to wait for the pack to swell if you're planning on
making a starter with it.  Just smack it and then make your starter right
away.  That'll save some time.

Quote:
> I boiled on maximum (electric) stove setting, which maybe was too much,
> since I ended up with almost half wort (1.1lt / 0.3 gal) after 20
> minutes boiling time! (After reading some older posts this morning
> concluded that the geometry of the pot must have helped a bit)

I don't think you need to boil for that long.  The idea with the starter wort
is just to kill bacteria, you're not brewing a batch here.  IMO, just boiling
for a couple minutes should be plenty.

Quote:
> The boiling produced millions of little bubbles, making a hissing noise,
> and was trying to boil over all the time. Another thing i noticed was
> that after I had a little boilover, the dried foam around the stove was
> black-ish. Is that normal? Maybe its the actual hot break protein thing?

I think the black-ish stuff was just burnt wort from landing on the stove.

Quote:
> vigorous shaking) and pitched the yeast in. Covered with blow off hose
> (optimistic me) and went to sleep.

Probably don't need the blow off hose, starters don't usually show a lot of
activity like a regular batch does.

Quote:
> Next morning (8 hours later) the starter was flat, and a brown - instead
> of white - sediment layer was formed on the bottom. I opened and smelled
> and the smell reminded me of fermentation, but I'm not 100% positive.

It's probably fine.  Many times you don't see much activity in a starter, and
they can often completely finish overnight, so you never see it fermenting at
all.  The layer on the bottom is most likely your yeast slurry.  It's kind
of a tannish brown color.

Quote:
> I'm thinking that having nearly half of the water evaporated, I ended up
> doubling the gravity, ie pitched the yeast on 1.080 instead. Haven't
> measured the gravity, since i don't dare waisting more of my already
> reduced starter as a gravity sample.

Not idea, but I don't think it would have killed the yeast or made the starter
ineffective.

Quote:
> Should I toss it and make a new one?

No, I think you're fine.  I'd go ahead and use it.  Just try to avoid the
boilover next time (it'll help if you don't boil for that long), and get
closer to 1.040.  That SG is more of an optimal target than really a strict
rule though.  1.080 should still work.

John.