Author Topic: Yeast Starter Unresponsive  (Read 852 times)

Offline wardens355

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« on: October 15, 2014, 01:31:45 AM »
Just started up two starters, one Wyeast 2206 (8-28-14 MFR date), one Wyeast 2308 (8-4-14 MFR date).  Pitched approximately 14 hours ago and the 2206 is nice and milky looking, but the 2308 appears to be inactive so far.  The 2308 did not swell much when I left it out overnight before pitching, so maybe that was a bad sign.  I decided to smell test it to make sure and it still smells like fresh wort, no signs of fermentation.  Pitched at room temp.  I am going to head to the brew shop tomorrow for a replacement if it is not active by tomorrow morning.  Anyone ever have to wait over 24 hours for a yeast starter to become active?  I never have...

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2014, 01:47:23 AM »
I have had old pitches that take a while to get going. Letting it go till morning is what I would do.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6185
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2014, 04:25:51 AM »
Lager starters can take a while to get going, IME. They don't always look like they're doing much, either. Just ride it out. I'm sure you'll be fine.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

S. cerevisiae

  • Guest
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2014, 04:29:19 AM »
I would give the culture time to grow.  In the future, you should wait to see if the smack-pack swells before pitching.  Even if the viable cell count is low, the smack-pack provides an aseptic (sterile) growth environment. A normal starter is not an aseptic growth environment.

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 9607
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
    • View Profile
    • Yellowhammer Brewing Company
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2014, 09:44:37 AM »
I've had to wait over 24 hours a few times. I bet when you get up this AM you see signs of activity.

Offline wardens355

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2014, 11:41:09 AM »
Guess I've just been lucky in the past 40-50 starters to have fast-growing, healthy yeast.  Woke up this morning and the 2308 was nice and milky.

I've had to wait over 24 hours a few times. I bet when you get up this AM you see signs of activity.

You called it.

I would give the culture time to grow.  In the future, you should wait to see if the smack-pack swells before pitching.  Even if the viable cell count is low, the smack-pack provides an aseptic (sterile) growth environment. A normal starter is not an aseptic growth environment.

Good idea for next time.  Right now I just let my starter wort cool slowly in the fridge over night and pitch in the morning, letting the smack packs swell during that time.  In the future I'll set the smack packs out and wait til they swell, then boil the wort.  Maybe I will buy a small coil of copper tubing and make a mini wort chiller to cool the ~2 gallons of wort rapidly so it doesn't sit around for up to 1-2 days while the pack swells.  Would probably cost less than $15 and be easier than an ice bath (I don't have much freezer space or an ice maker).
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 11:45:31 AM by wardens355 »

S. cerevisiae

  • Guest
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2014, 02:29:41 PM »
Good idea for next time.  Right now I just let my starter wort cool slowly in the fridge over night and pitch in the morning, letting the smack packs swell during that time.  In the future I'll set the smack packs out and wait til they swell, then boil the wort.  Maybe I will buy a small coil of copper tubing and make a mini wort chiller to cool the ~2 gallons of wort rapidly so it doesn't sit around for up to 1-2 days while the pack swells.  Would probably cost less than $15 and be easier than an ice bath (I don't have much freezer space or an ice maker).

That's one huge starter.  How much beer are you making?

Offline wardens355

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2014, 06:46:59 PM »
That's one huge starter.  How much beer are you making?

11 gallons @ 1.055ish SG.  Each 5.5 gallon batch will get around 0.75 gallons worth of yeast and I will store the rest in mason jars.  I run two stirplates side-by-side with 2500-3500 mL (0.65-0.9 gallons) in each for 11 gallon lager batches.  I have considered stepping up yeast starters for lagers, but don't feel like taking the extra time or added chance for sanitary issues.

Offline ynotbrusum

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2776
  • Da mihi sis cerevisiam.
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2014, 02:43:05 AM »
Ever consider just making a smaller batch and stepping it up?  I go with a 2 gallon straight pitch batch with minimal hopping, then step up successively to 10 gallon batches.  I guess it depends on how quick you want to get to "production quantity" of batches....
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline wardens355

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2014, 03:56:45 AM »
Ever consider just making a smaller batch and stepping it up?  I go with a 2 gallon straight pitch batch with minimal hopping, then step up successively to 10 gallon batches.  I guess it depends on how quick you want to get to "production quantity" of batches....

I always do split batches with different yeasts, so I am always growing two starters sized for 5.5 gallons.  I guess I am not exactly following what you are getting at.  You mean making a smaller batch of the actual beer I am making, then brewing a larger batch to add the first growth into?

Offline ynotbrusum

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2776
  • Da mihi sis cerevisiam.
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2014, 04:30:03 AM »
Ever consider just making a smaller batch and stepping it up?  I go with a 2 gallon straight pitch batch with minimal hopping, then step up successively to 10 gallon batches.  I guess it depends on how quick you want to get to "production quantity" of batches....

I always do split batches with different yeasts, so I am always growing two starters sized for 5.5 gallons.  I guess I am not exactly following what you are getting at.  You mean making a smaller batch of the actual beer I am making, then brewing a larger batch to add the first growth into?

Yes just consider making the beer at a smaller scale, then pitch it into the  next bigger batch.  When you get it into the range for a full batch, then just pitch it.

Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline wardens355

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Yeast Starter Unresponsive
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2014, 04:34:47 AM »
Ever consider just making a smaller batch and stepping it up?  I go with a 2 gallon straight pitch batch with minimal hopping, then step up successively to 10 gallon batches.  I guess it depends on how quick you want to get to "production quantity" of batches....

I always do split batches with different yeasts, so I am always growing two starters sized for 5.5 gallons.  I guess I am not exactly following what you are getting at.  You mean making a smaller batch of the actual beer I am making, then brewing a larger batch to add the first growth into?

Yes just consider making the beer at a smaller scale, then pitch it into the  next bigger batch.  When you get it into the range for a full batch, then just pitch it.

Interesting concept, but I think preparing a quick 15 minute boiled extract starter would be easier than doing a mini mash.  If I were going to make an entire 11 gallon batch with the same yeast that might make more sense, although stepping up a couple times with a throw-away extract starter may still be easier.  I always cold crash the yeast and decant the entire wort before pitching.  Something to think about if I want to mass produce a single recipe that I am ecstatic about.