Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

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timtoos
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Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by timtoos » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:29 pm

Hi all,

I started a yeast starter for my WLP800 Pils. The mfg date was 2/1/18 so its 90+ days old.

I made up a 3L starter with a gravity of 1.037 and pitched at temperature 17.4C. Its sat on a stir plate since.
My intention was to make 2 x starters in order to get the required amount of yeast I require for a 25L batch of lager (using brewers friend calculator).

I have checked the gravity today (24 hours since the starter was started) and the gravity is exactly the same.

What do you think? Old and naff yeast? Left not long enough? Any ideas?

My ale yeast starters generally go like a rocket and when i test the starter after 24-36 hours, they are fully fermented as I would expect, this doesn't seem to be doing anything :-(

TIA

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by guypettigrew » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:02 pm

Yeast starters are new to me, having only done a few. Previously I just tipped the yeast in and hoped for the best.

Hope you'll forgive my ignorance, but why did you do a 3L starter? I always do a 1 litre starter.

Guy

timtoos
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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by timtoos » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:09 pm

Hi,

Brewesfriend calculated that I need quite a large starter for my lager- about 800+ billion cells. (Its a 25L batch with OG 1.048 and I set it as a pro lager 1.75 which also requires that bit more yeast too).

My vial only had 33 billion as it was knocking on a bit.

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by McMullan » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:24 pm

I would have stepped it up from about 500ml to 3L, but, hopefully, it's going to enjoy your 3L wort after some lag. Growing it at room temperature, are you?

Edit: 17*C should be fine.
Last edited by McMullan on Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by McMullan » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:25 pm

:D

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by timtoos » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:57 pm

Hopefully it will set off soon. Still not much happening though and my gravity check a few hours ago proved that.

How long would you think it would take to set off? My ale yeasts generally get going really quick with the starter complete in 24 to 36 hours.

Yes, its sat in the kitchen and at the moment its sat at 20.0C (it will dip tonight when the fires no longer in).

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by McMullan » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:06 pm

Give it a good shake occasionally, to ensure wort aeration. It should get going after some lag. Then continue shaking it occasionally. It might take several days to finish completely. Then cold crash for a few days, before pitching (after decanting off most of the spent starter wort).

Edit: an out-of-date liquid yeast can take a few days to show any sign of activity, especially in 3L.

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by timtoos » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:09 pm

Should you shake even though its on a stir plate?

I think Ive dropped a nadger going straight to 3L. I thought Id skip out another starter step #-o

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by McMullan » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:35 pm

Sorry, didn't realise you were using a stir plate. No need to shake in that case. Just keep it on 'slow' speed. Don't worry about it, it usually turns out fine. It'll just take a little more time.

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by timtoos » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:46 pm

Its going like a good one now. Checked this morning before work and it looked loads healthier.

Thanks for the advice and reassurance.

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by timtoos » Sun Apr 08, 2018 6:59 am

Update. The install starter took some time to get going but it did. The second starter (same 3L volume) went mental straight way like I expected. Thing is it red to climb out of the demijohn. No idea who much yeast I may have lost.

Whats peoples thought on this? Surely not another starter to compensate for lost yeast :shock:

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by McMullan » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:38 am

As long as it hasn't lost much of the liquid/wort, it should be fine. Probably losing foam mainly. There should be a good layer of yeast slurry in the bottom of the starter vessel when it's done.

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by timtoos » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:52 am

Thanks.

I noticed last night it was going to take-off so put a dish cloth around the demijohn to try and stop the yeast going all over and spilling down the side onto the stirplate. This morning I noticed that It worked which was good, however there was lots of thick yeast all over the dish cloth and around the top of the demijohn opening. Ive cleaned it all down and used plenty of star san to try and clean up as best I can. The starter is now less active.

I don't want to do another starter. As long as you think its ok i'll let this go and use this as is.

On another note, I usually over size my starters and keep a bit back for another starter later on. I do this rather than reclaim from the fermenter after transfer. What the best method to use?

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by IPA » Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:47 am

Even for worts at 1100 I never need a starter bigger than 1.2 litres for 25 litres. For 50 litre worts up to 1060 I also use a 1.2 litre starter. Don't be fooled by those online calculators or the instructions on Whitelab yeast. I've been brewing for over 40 years and remember when a half pint starter was the reccomended amount for 25 litres of wort.
Mind you that was before homebrewing was hijacked by the Americans =D>

Edit. If you want a better method for saving yeast search on here for my method,
"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin

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Re: Yeast Starter - WLP800 - No activity - Advice Please

Post by McMullan » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:02 am

I agree with IPA, if you're starting with mainly viable yeast cells, starter volumes can be considerably lower. I'm not a fan of collecting dirty slurry from FVs. Top cropping, including IPA's version of it, work very well. IIRC, a forum member recently used IPA's method with success for a lager strain. Storing some of the initial starter is a good idea. Use a small vessel that can be filled, leaving little air. The best way to go is use a little and step it up. A tsp per 100ml is plenty. That way you'll get a nice population of viable cells. Way ahead of anything you can buy off the shelf.

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