Earlier, I made a thread trying to find a reason for a yeast/green apple flavor in my beer.. After a lot of thought and poking around, I have an idea of why this is, but I wanted your opinions on whether this is the case.

I think it is because I added the entire starter to my wort rather than cold crashing.

This did not happen on my first batch, where I used only one smack pack of Wyeast 1056 on 4.5gal @1.052OG. It has happened on the next three, where I used very large starters. For all of these, I went for a very high pitch rate. The second batch, I used a half gallon starter, and the OG was was probably just over 1.070 if memory serves. The next two, I used a full gallon of starter (the local supply store I was going to seemed to never have fresh liquid yeast; I have switched stores because of this). So 20-25% of the volume of wort was starter wort.

Would this cause the yeast-like aroma I am getting in my beers--especially because I am brewing styles that should not have this? Any input is appreciated. Thanks!

  • 1
    Can you clarify what you mean by "cold crashing"? Normally, I think of cold crashing as bringing the termperature of finished beer down to cause the yeast (and other solids) to flocculate before racking to a bottling bucket or keg. Nov 13, 2013 at 17:56
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    I understand what he's written to mean cold crashing the starter so that the yeast drop out, making it easier to decant the wort. He didn't do that and instead pitched both yeast+spent wort.
    – mdma
    Nov 13, 2013 at 18:09
  • Chino- It is that, but for the starter. Dropping the temp to encourage the yeast to flocculate so I can add only the yeast.
    – Shay
    Nov 13, 2013 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


It's certainly possible - a starter is only fermented to completion, but not conditioned, so byproducts of fermentation, such as acetaldehyde (green apple) and acetolactate (which becomes diacetyl - butter/butterscotch) are still left in the beer. This have low taste thresholds (50ppb for diacetyl), so it doesn't take much for you to notice then.

In a regular beer the conditioning period allows the yeast to reabsorb these compounds and convert them to ethanol and butanediol, which have much higher flavor thresholds. But since this has not typically happened in the starter, the starter wort will be full of these off flavors.

During the primary ferment, even more of these flavorful compounds will be produced. If the yeast is not given enough time to condition the beer, they may simply remain in the beer. And given that 20-25% of the beer was starter, that's a large proportion of additional by-products to condition.

Although ales don't typically require a diacetyl rest due to the already high temp, it's worth considering raising the temp towards the end of primary towards 21-22C to encourage the yeast to condition the beer faster, and hold it there for 3 days.

Also, as you've hinted in your question, pitching the yeast starter wort is usually not done when it's so large. In a dark, flavorfull beer, I might pitch a 1l starter, but otherwise cold-crash the starter and decant the wort before pitching the yeast. Diluting the beer by 20% means you're getting only 80% of the beer you wanted - less flavor from malt/hops, lower FG, body and abv.

  • The strong ale (AB) I made, I left it in the primary month then left it in bottle for another month. The taste improved, but a strong nose remained.... So I am drinking it out of the bottle. Ha! I did something similar with the brown ale I bottled Monday.
    – Shay
    Nov 13, 2013 at 19:59
  • Accidentally hit enter too soon. I did something similar with the brown ale I bottled Monday. I should probably tone down my starters. I may be overdoing it; the fermentation is always extremely fast and vigorous. I don't know why I ignored the instructions to decant the starter. Oops. I'll definitely take your advice and do that in the future. Possibly this weekend if time allows.
    – Shay
    Nov 13, 2013 at 20:09

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