Author Topic: Is my starter dead?  (Read 749 times)

Offline H_Bomb

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Is my starter dead?
« on: November 19, 2016, 05:32:19 PM »
Was planning on brewing today but now not sure.

I set up a starter last night using the Fast Pitch canned wort and Omega yeast labs abbey ale yeast.

It's only the second time I have done this as I have always used smack packs in the past.

First time I did this (with London Ale yeast) the starter went nuts and clearly showed bubbling and would froth up when shook. This time there appears to be very little reaction if any at all.

I have read that abbey ale yeast takes longer to get going and I'm now wondering if I'm starting to see some small bubbles in the starter. But don't know if that is just caused by my shaking.

Currently thinking my options are:
- go for it anyway and pitch it - if it doesn't work pick up a smack pack in a few days and add it later.
- assume it's dead and accept the 2 hour round trip to my nearest homebrew store to pick up a smack pack now.
- just wait and brew tomorrow (not ideal but can do)

Advice greatly received!
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 05:39:14 PM by H_Bomb »

Offline Stevie

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2016, 05:56:28 PM »
Give it a light swirl, does the surface fizz?

Offline H_Bomb

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2016, 06:03:08 PM »
Barely.
I guess in reality yes - I get a few bubbles and can see some bubbling under the surface.
However compared to last time when I shook it it frothed up to the point of wanting to overflow the flask then no.
I'm thinking I should just give it another day and see if activity increases.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 06:07:21 PM by H_Bomb »

Offline Philbrew

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2016, 06:53:28 PM »
My 2 cents.  I would go for it.  Those London yeasts are fast starters and furious fermenters.  Your abbey ale yeast is probably happily chugging along at a slower rate.  But I don't decant, I pitch the whole starter. 
Many of us would be on a strict liquid diet if it weren't for pretzels.

Offline H_Bomb

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2016, 08:34:13 PM »
My 2 cents.  I would go for it.  Those London yeasts are fast starters and furious fermenters.  Your abbey ale yeast is probably happily chugging along at a slower rate.  But I don't decant, I pitch the whole starter.

Starter update.

After a day it was a lot more active and very clearly not dead. Very happy I didn't waste time and money yesterday by going to get an emergency smack pack.

Lesson learned - for slower yeasts allow longer for a starter and be prepared for them to look dead for 24 hours!

Offline bierview

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2016, 09:30:16 PM »
Was planning on brewing today but now not sure.

I set up a starter last night using the Fast Pitch canned wort and Omega yeast labs abbey ale yeast.

It's only the second time I have done this as I have always used smack packs in the past.

First time I did this (with London Ale yeast) the starter went nuts and clearly showed bubbling and would froth up when shook. This time there appears to be very little reaction if any at all.

I have read that abbey ale yeast takes longer to get going and I'm now wondering if I'm starting to see some small bubbles in the starter. But don't know if that is just caused by my shaking.

Currently thinking my options are:
- go for it anyway and pitch it - if it doesn't work pick up a smack pack in a few days and add it later.
- assume it's dead and accept the 2 hour round trip to my nearest homebrew store to pick up a smack pack now.
- just wait and brew tomorrow (not ideal but can do)

Advice greatly received!


I typically make my starters days in advance of my brew day and often step it up two or three times to insure a healthy yeast population.  If you are brewing a high gravity beer, you want to make sure you have an abundant amount of healthy yeast cells.

Offline flars

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2016, 09:36:27 PM »
Was planning on brewing today but now not sure.

I set up a starter last night using the Fast Pitch canned wort and Omega yeast labs abbey ale yeast.

It's only the second time I have done this as I have always used smack packs in the past.

First time I did this (with London Ale yeast) the starter went nuts and clearly showed bubbling and would froth up when shook. This time there appears to be very little reaction if any at all.

I have read that abbey ale yeast takes longer to get going and I'm now wondering if I'm starting to see some small bubbles in the starter. But don't know if that is just caused by my shaking.

Currently thinking my options are:
- go for it anyway and pitch it - if it doesn't work pick up a smack pack in a few days and add it later.
- assume it's dead and accept the 2 hour round trip to my nearest homebrew store to pick up a smack pack now.
- just wait and brew tomorrow (not ideal but can do)

Advice greatly received!


I typically make my starters days in advance of my brew day and often step it up two or three times to insure a healthy yeast population.  If you are brewing a high gravity beer, you want to make sure you have an abundant amount of healthy yeast cells.
This is good advice.  I will always plan my starters two to three weeks in advance of brewing.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 09:51:39 PM »
Yeah, good advice. I've been meaning to make small proof of life starters when my slurry is more than a couple of weeks old. This is ahead of making my final 1L SNS starter. Thinking a pint of 1.020 wort, crash decant, pitch to SNS.

Offline bierview

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2016, 10:02:26 AM »
Was planning on brewing today but now not sure.

I set up a starter last night using the Fast Pitch canned wort and Omega yeast labs abbey ale yeast.

It's only the second time I have done this as I have always used smack packs in the past.

First time I did this (with London Ale yeast) the starter went nuts and clearly showed bubbling and would froth up when shook. This time there appears to be very little reaction if any at all.

Two to three weeks may be excessive.  I have found 3-5 days is enough lead time.

I have read that abbey ale yeast takes longer to get going and I'm now wondering if I'm starting to see some small bubbles in the starter. But don't know if that is just caused by my shaking.

Currently thinking my options are:
- go for it anyway and pitch it - if it doesn't work pick up a smack pack in a few days and add it later.
- assume it's dead and accept the 2 hour round trip to my nearest homebrew store to pick up a smack pack now.
- just wait and brew tomorrow (not ideal but can do)

Advice greatly received!


I typically make my starters days in advance of my brew day and often step it up two or three times to insure a healthy yeast population.  If you are brewing a high gravity beer, you want to make sure you have an abundant amount of healthy yeast cells.
This is good advice.  I will always plan my starters two to three weeks in advance of brewing.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Is my starter dead?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2016, 12:06:09 PM »
Was planning on brewing today but now not sure.

I set up a starter last night using the Fast Pitch canned wort and Omega yeast labs abbey ale yeast.

It's only the second time I have done this as I have always used smack packs in the past.

First time I did this (with London Ale yeast) the starter went nuts and clearly showed bubbling and would froth up when shook. This time there appears to be very little reaction if any at all.

I have read that abbey ale yeast takes longer to get going and I'm now wondering if I'm starting to see some small bubbles in the starter. But don't know if that is just caused by my shaking.

Currently thinking my options are:
- go for it anyway and pitch it - if it doesn't work pick up a smack pack in a few days and add it later.
- assume it's dead and accept the 2 hour round trip to my nearest homebrew store to pick up a smack pack now.
- just wait and brew tomorrow (not ideal but can do)

Advice greatly received!


I typically make my starters days in advance of my brew day and often step it up two or three times to insure a healthy yeast population.  If you are brewing a high gravity beer, you want to make sure you have an abundant amount of healthy yeast cells.
This is good advice.  I will always plan my starters two to three weeks in advance of brewing.

I usually mix up my starters 3 to 4 days before I'll need them.  24 hours seems too short and 2 -3 weeks seems too long to me.  I guess I could be Goldilocks or something.  8^)

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?