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Stressful start to a friday

Sooooo . . . Brewing my first barley wine tomorrow. Got a 1056 starter going earlier this week. poured off the clear beer on top of the yeast last night, mixed up a new batch of wort and stepped it up to about .5 gallon in a 1 gallon glass jug. All went well. This morning, as I was getting ready to go to work, took the towel off the jug, looked good, gave it a little swirl . . . . . … foamed up and came right out the top of the jug, overflowed onto the counter. Many curse words ensued. Quickly got my funnel and another gallon jug in a tub of starsan that I keep on hand. rinsed the outside of the original gallon jug with starsan. Sterilized a new piece of foil. Took the foil off the old jug, used a lighter to flame the mouth of the original jug, transferred the contents to the newly sanitized jug, foil back on, hoping that A.) I didn’t screw it up by overflowing and needing to transfer it. B.) I don’t get home tonight and find that it fermented and overflowed the top again.

Not the best way to kick off the morning.

I’d guess that if you kept everything sanitary in the transfer you’ll have a nice potent pitch.

I am pretty confident that the jugs were all good as far as sanitation - they were all “clean” and they all had full soak in a 10 gallon tub of starsan that I keep on hand, pH was in the 2’s. The shortest soak any of them had was the one this morning and that was still totally submerged in there for 15 minutes. From the time the starter overflowed to the time it was transferred was only about 20 minutes. Anytime a step with yeast or fermentation does not go perfect though, I worry.

You didn’t need to transfer it, why’d you do that? You just added more risk for contamination. I’ve had mine foam out like that before, no big deal, just wipe up the outside and leave it.

+1

Main reason I decided to transfer it was that the aluminum foil and rim of bottle was covered in foam/yeast/beer. Figured that the likelihood of infection was higher with stuff sticking to, eating, growing on the sticky wort all over the neck of the bottle over the course of the next 24 hours, than it was quickly getting it into another container that I was confident was sanitized. Also figured that “wiping” around the neck of the bottle was as likely to introduce contamination as pouring the starter into another bottle.

It did not foam out a little - It came boiling out - lifted the foil off, covered a 2 foot square area of my counter with foam.

Weighing my options -

1.) Go ahead as planned
2.) Dump the starter and brew a lager tomorrow with a yeast I have.
3.) Go buy 3 vials of whitelabs american ale yeast and pitch that.

Don’t dump it. Smell it and if it smells like yeast (you know, got a fruity smell), then use it. You’re probably fine as long as you were sanitary with everything.

Oddly enough, I made a 2l starter this morning and left a note for my wife to give it a swirl now and then. So I’m talking to her around 11am and I said, don’t forget to swirl the starter. She said she just did and it foamed out of the beaker and made a mess. She wiped it up of course. This has never happend before. Most of the time my starters are 1l with minimal activity but always pitch well. Considering I’m making a big IPA tomorrow, I’m hoping for a good blast off.

Good one…have the wife get all the messy cleanup…I’ll have to remember that one ! LOL

Must be something about the day… First time I have ever had a starter go over the top too. First one I ever stepped up a second time though.
Checked it at 3:30 today and it looked good, smelled good . . . I feel better about it than I did when it happened.

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