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'Balls' Rising in Refrigerated Yeast Starter

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by VikeMan, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    (Posted this elsewhere while the forum was down, but not sure I got much useful feedback, so posting here.)

    I made a starter of Wyeast 3724 (a low floccer), about 24 hours on a stirplate, and then cold crashed in the fridge. Now, a few days later, there are little 'balls' of what appear to be yeast that are shooting to the surface and then disintegrating back into the starter wort/beer. Some of the balls look like they have 'tails' as they are rising, but I think that's just a stream of yeast cells breaking off from the balls as they rise. This is happening at about 40F in the fridge. I've never seen anything like this. Any ideas about what would cause? TIA!
  2. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Savant (420) California Mar 22, 2011

    Could just be pockets of gas trapped in the yeast cake that are slowly worming their way to the surface and bringing yeast with them. Other than that, I have absolutely no idea.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    Yeah, I had considered that possibility. So I swirled until I thougt here couldn't possibly be much CO2 left, but the phenomenon continues.
  4. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    Can you take photos?

    Does it look like a pellicle at all?
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    No way to take/post photos. Not like a pellicle at all. Imagine little balls of yeast, about the size of the head of a pin, suddenly shooting up from the yeast cake to the surface, where they immediately disintegrate and go back into suspension as individual cells (or at least much much smaller clumps).
  6. MaxSpang

    MaxSpang Advocate (515) Ohio Jan 28, 2011

    Hmm, it doesn't sound like it's anything to worry about. Give it a smell, and if it smells normal then you are probably good. Heck, pour a little out and taste it
  7. yep, this is just CO2 nucleating in the slurry, bubbling to surface carrying yeast/trub with it. might not have been finished fermenting before you put it in the fridge, so even at colder temps, its sloooowly chugging along.
  8. NiceFly

    NiceFly Savant (395) Tajikistan Dec 22, 2011

    This is my thought also. This happens to me alot when I remove a cold crashed starter to warm up on brewday. I tend to crash them right before I think they are finished.
  9. dsrobbins

    dsrobbins Zealot (80) Wisconsin Jun 1, 2009

    I think Rocdoc has a cool video of his entire batch doing this. It looks like the yeast is dancing.
  10. leedorham

    leedorham Champion (845) Washington Apr 27, 2006

    Just curious, have your balls dropped yet?
    jpeck13, wspscott and hannydawg like this.
  11. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    Well, as I said, when my balls reached the top, they disintergrated outward, and back down into the wort. So in a sense, they were always bouncing, to the left and to the right.

    However, they have stopped rising, so I'm inclined at this point to go with the theory that the starter hadn't quite fermented out and became active again, even at 40F.
  12. I'm not sure what the rules are in relation to four-letter words here right, but what you're witnessing is fucking poetry in motion. And I mean that as both an adjective and a verb in the most loving and respectful sense.

    You've got a starter of top-cropping yeast, top-croppers rise to the top because they trap the CO2 they produce from doing what they do best. That's a starter bouncing with joy in your fridge singing "Feed me, feed me sweet, sweet wort right now!".

    Give that sweet delicious 3724 what it wants, make it happy and it will consummate the relationship with tasty, tasty beer.