Monday, October 5, 2015

Spontaneous Starters

For information on the process, see Bootleg Biology's page on the subject.

Starter 1 and 2: 500ml water, boiled with ½ cup DME for 10 minutes, some yeast nutrients were also added.  OG should be around 1.06-1.07.  Divided into two mason jars, which are being swirled vigorously regularly.  Both are tightly covered in foil.

Starter 1 (Hereafter, Apple blossom) received a number of blossoms from the apple tree, once cooled to body temp.

Starter 2 (Hereafter, Garden Starter) was set out in the garden, next to the greenhouse and by the small crabapple.  It was covered in muslin to keep chunks out, and left out from 5pm to midnight (before bringing it in, I swirled it uncovered for several minutes).  Temperature was 70s during the day and cooled to the 40s.

5-28-15;  Inoculated both starters.

5-29-15:  Apple Blossom has no activity, other than maybe a small number of bubbles on the surface by nighttime.
Garden Starter definitely has bubbles forming, a visible number around the edges.

5-30-15; No real change in either of them.

5-31-15; Apple Blossom: Definite signs of fermentation.  There is a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, and I can see bubbles rising in the starter.  The colour is milky brown, from the malt proteins and (probably) poorly flocculating yeast.
              Garden Starter: No real change.  Less bubbles around the edges than on day two.

6-1-15; Apple blossom: Still has bubbles on the surface, but I’m not seeing much in the way of Co2 production.  I need to get myself a second hydrometer (tube, at least) for checking the SG of bugs.  It is possibly that whatever it is has reached its alcohol limit.
              Garden Starter: Slightly more bubbles than yesterday.

6-3-15; Apple Blossom: No bubbles.
              Garden starter: Strange—it seems chunky.

6-4-15; Apple Blossom: No change.  Smelly oddly fruity and somewhat sour.
              Garden starter: Still chunky, but I am seeing definite signs of Co2 production, and a fine krausen on top.  I cannot describe the smell, although it isn’t bad.  When I took the foil off, I found some mold on the foil and around the lip of the glass—this was removed with a paper towel. 
              I need to be more gentle when I swirl them. 

Apple Blossome; Garden Starter; Rose Blossom

Part 2

6-9-15: Boiled up 1ltr wort (5gm aged local saaz hops).  1/3 cup DME, 500ml water, 500ml apple cider.  I used approximately 1oz from each of the old starters.
              Apple Blossom:  No change.  The gravity is 1.050—so little to no alcohol production.  Tasted anyways, and taste is about like the smell, fruity, and tart.
              Garden Starter: I am seeing mold—black molds on the side of the glass, and one white chunk in the center.  Taste is odd, and a touch musty/mouldy.  SG is 1.035.
              Starter 3, henceforth Rose Petal: Started, using the blossoms/petals of 4 wild roses, gathered at 12:30Am.

6-10-15; Garden starter: Seems to be beginning fermentation again.

6-13-15; Apple Blossom:  I’m seeing signs of fermentation now.
              Garden starter: Fermentation may have completed by now—it was fermenting strong, with up to an inch of foam on top after swirling.  We will see.  I’ll leave it for a few days, then check the SG.  Remember to pick up a kilo of grain for a 1 gallon biab.
              Rose Petal:  No signs.

6-20-15; Apple blossom: Smell made me gag.  There is a large clump of white mold floating on top.
              Garden Starter: Smell is ok—fruity.  Looks clean (no mold) and there is a good layer of yeast on the bottom.  I am planning on fermenting with a gallon of 2nd runnings from the tripel.
              Rose Petal: No signs and didn’t smell. There may have been yeast on the bottom.

              Starting starter 4; Houlton’s Starter:  It is starter wort from Part 2, which I had sealed in the fridge since then.  I brought it to a boil, and set it out in the backyard at 5pm.  Weather is overcast, 70 degrees.

10-4-15; The Garden Starter has been in the fridge since June.  I pulled it out yesterday, drained the clear beer on top, and topped up with apple juice.  Signs of fermentation showed up in a few hours.  I pitched it today into wort to ferment, and it began to show signs after 3 hours or so.
              The other starters have been on my counter, and I have not touched them for four months.  Starter 4 was forgotten about outside, and promptly thrown out.

After being pitched into the wort to actually ferment (recipe in another post).

© John Frey, 2015. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.  The recipes, photographs and other contents therein may not be used for any commercial purposes.

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