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Really strange starter...


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#1 ER Pemberton

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 08:52 AM

Yesterday I made a small starter of Omega West Coast. It's been on the stirplate for less than 24 hours and the date on it was December 2016.

starter3.jpg

I did give it a shot of O2 before pitching the yeast but that foam has been on the top like that since I made the starter. There is no real 'carb' in it... no bubbles rising in it, etc. and I don't think it's active... it just LOOKS active. I have never seen a starter look this way from the start. I might see foam like this at first and then it would dissipate and just be liquid. My plan was to brew with it tomorrow and I guess we'll see. This was a small 650ml + ½ cup wheat DME starter. I just wanted to make sure the yeast was viable. It looked and smelled great when I poured it into the flask.

#2 Steve Urquell

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 09:44 AM

That looks like aeration foam. Strange it hasn't dissipated.


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#3 ER Pemberton

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:02 AM

That looks like aeration foam. Strange it hasn't dissipated.

Agreed. I picked it up, swirled it, etc. and it stays. I thought it might be the wheat DME but I've used wheat DME in the past and it wasn't like this. I've also made Omega starters in the past (Bayern) and it didn't do this. I'm not worried... it smells good and will eventually get active. I'm just surprised at the appearance.

#4 Steve Urquell

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:18 AM

Agreed. I picked it up, swirled it, etc. and it stays. I thought it might be the wheat DME but I've used wheat DME in the past and it wasn't like this. I've also made Omega starters in the past (Bayern) and it didn't do this. I'm not worried... it smells good and will eventually get active. I'm just surprised at the appearance.

Oh, I knew you weren't. At this point I think we are all in observation of out of the ordinary mode knowing that it'll work out as it usually does.


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#5 ER Pemberton

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:42 AM

Oh, I knew you weren't. At this point I think we are all in observation of out of the ordinary mode knowing that it'll work out as it usually does.

I should mention that this particular yeast was one that I had issues with but the issues were all my own. I bought the yeast fresh and used it right out of the packet in a 5% ale. But there is no nutrient pack in there so the start was slow. The beer ended up looking like a cloudy mess and tasting like a Belgian hefeweizen but it was actually a blonde ale, IIRC.

A pic of it:

badblonde.jpg

I vowed to make it right by getting the yeast again and making a starter for it but then I waited 9-10 months to use it! <_<

#6 SchwanzBrewer

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 10:47 AM

Sounds like an old starter. If it were me, I'd go to the LHBS and get 2 packs of fresh yeast for 5 gallons and just throw it in. IMO spending 6 hours brewing a beer is worth $15 making sure the yeast does it's job right. You can always decant the starter and give it a 1.010 solution of DME and put it in the fridge. It will last a few weeks, then make another starter with it.


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#7 ER Pemberton

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 03:04 PM

I totally get this. I am acutely aware when I open the pack... If it looks or smells off, I abort the mission. This yeast smells great and its starting to get active over the past couple of hours. I think it will be fine but I agree... I try to err on the side of caution and good beer.

#8 Bklmt2000

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 03:19 PM

I totally get this. I am acutely aware when I open the pack... If it looks or smells off, I abort the mission. This yeast smells great and its starting to get active over the past couple of hours. I think it will be fine but I agree... I try to err on the side of caution and good beer.

 

I think this is a philosophy we all share in this forum.

 

And I will be doing a similar thing on Monday, when I resurrect a 2-mo old slurry of 34/70.

 

It's my main stash of lager yeast, and I have a brewday scheduled for Turkey Week, so I need to get this going and see if the yeast is still ok, or if it needs to be replaced.

 

But as you said above, I take a sniff of the slurry before I go to the trouble of making a starter, and if it's past its prime, down the drain it goes. 

 

And if it seems otherwise ok, then the starter gets made and I hope for the best.


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#9 ER Pemberton

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 03:59 PM

It's a weird thing because you can look at it, smell it, etc. and still not be sure. I admit that I have goofed: I used a fresh pack of this West Coast without making a starter which is the same as using a White Labs product and just pitching it. I will do that with a fresh pack of Wyeast but the nutrient pack and the packaging tell you that it's good. The West Coast didn't start for about three days and my beer suffered. I also had an 8-month old pack of 2308 which would ordinarily be no issue. I made a starter that looked and smelled fine. I pitched it into a beer where everything looked, smelled and tasted fine. Then I pitched it into another beer and when that primary was done I could smell that something was off. It was bad enough to pour straight out of the primary. That made me concerned about the first batch which was now in a keg, cold & carbed in the on-deck fridge. I took a sample and it was off too. Not as bad as batch 2 but enough where it was noticeable. I have learned from that... don't keep liquid yeast around for long & buy it or order it closer to when you'll use it.

#10 ER Pemberton

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:42 AM

I think this thing actually got active, had kraeusen on it last night and is now dropping off the backside of its active state. There is no foam on top of it now and it's much "lighter" looking than it was yesterday. It still smells lovely too. I was planning on brewing today so I think it's time to roll... :D

#11 SchwanzBrewer

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:24 AM

Do it!
I really need to put together a 5 gal system so I can brew more.
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#12 pickle_rick

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:45 AM

I can usually tell if it went right when I'm not using a stir plate b/c if I gently swirl it outgases A LOT.  on the stir plate I sometimes had a tough time telling b/c I think the swirling can keep the sign of fermentation at bay.


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#13 ER Pemberton

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:06 AM

I can usually tell if it went right when I'm not using a stir plate b/c if I gently swirl it outgases A LOT.  on the stir plate I sometimes had a tough time telling b/c I think the swirling can keep the sign of fermentation at bay.

Yeah, I thought about that. Last night I turned off the stirlate for a minute, picked up the flask and swirled it vigorously and it did foam up and appear active. If there was a doubt I would hold off, use some S-04 that I have in the fridge, etc. I already have 1469 doing some work on a bitter so I really don't want two ale strains of British origin working at the same time... I would like this West Coast to ferment 4-5 batches of beer for me. Mash has begun. Btw... it's snowing. <_<

#14 Bklmt2000

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:18 AM

Yeah, I thought about that. Last night I turned off the stirlate for a minute, picked up the flask and swirled it vigorously and it did foam up and appear active. If there was a doubt I would hold off, use some S-04 that I have in the fridge, etc. I already have 1469 doing some work on a bitter so I really don't want two ale strains of British origin working at the same time... I would like this West Coast to ferment 4-5 batches of beer for me. Mash has begun. Btw... it's snowing. <_<

 

Maybe a beer, to keep warm?


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#15 ER Pemberton

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:25 AM

Maybe a beer, to keep warm?

Eventually, for sure. When I finish brewing I'm going to have some of this chili that I made earlier in the week, get a beer and watch some football. Cheers peeps.

#16 pickle_rick

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:28 AM

one time last year I made a snow fort in the front yard with my son and then snuggled up in there with a 1/2L of amber.  it was nice.


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#17 ER Pemberton

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:30 AM

I had positive pressure in the airlock a couple hours after pitching and slow bubbles and some lovely aroma this morning so it looks like the West Coast is going to do me up righteous on a run of ales. I may make the Cashmere Pale Ale with this (or 1469) and I have an amber ale and a blonde in mind as well. Then I have all of these off-the-map (to me) hops to try: Azacca, Apollo, El Dorado, Lemon Drop, Ella, Loral, etc. and something will be made with them over the next couple of months as well. Cheers Beerheads.

#18 drez77

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 07:44 AM

I had positive pressure in the airlock a couple hours after pitching and slow bubbles and some lovely aroma this morning so it looks like the West Coast is going to do me up righteous on a run of ales. I may make the Cashmere Pale Ale with this (or 1469) and I have an amber ale and a blonde in mind as well. Then I have all of these off-the-map (to me) hops to try: Azacca, Apollo, El Dorado, Lemon Drop, Ella, Loral, etc. and something will be made with them over the next couple of months as well. Cheers Beerheads.

Apollo for me is good for bittering or adding in some dankness in teh DH, little goes a long way. I find Azacca needs a partner but I wonder how it would work alone in a blonde.


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#19 ER Pemberton

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:39 AM

Apollo for me is good for bittering or adding in some dankness in teh DH, little goes a long way. I find Azacca needs a partner but I wonder how it would work alone in a blonde.

I have all of the notes we discussed earlier downstairs in my beer bunker. I don't remember them at the moment but I know I'm going to use Apollo for bittering, use El Dorado and Lemon Drop late, I think you mentioned using Azacca with something like Citra, Mosaic or even Centennial and a number of other things. It's going to be a pale-ale-a-palooza over the next few months and I'm looking forward to seeing how I like these hops. I'm not sure what to do with the Loral and Ella yet but I'll look it up and see. Cheers Drez.

#20 drez77

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 08:42 AM

I have all of the notes we discussed earlier downstairs in my beer bunker. I don't remember them at the moment but I know I'm going to use Apollo for bittering, use El Dorado and Lemon Drop late, I think you mentioned using Azacca with something like Citra, Mosaic or even Centennial and a number of other things. It's going to be a pale-ale-a-palooza over the next few months and I'm looking forward to seeing how I like these hops. I'm not sure what to do with the Loral and Ella yet but I'll look it up and see. Cheers Drez.

Cool!!  I have on tap a amber with Azacca/Bravo and Mosaic and the mosaic is dominate.  next time I will use Azacca 2:1


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