Those of you who know me well know that while living in Alaska I was a big fan of the White Labs liquid yeast cultures. I was pretty bummed out when I moved down and could not find a source of White Labs products, though I have found some amazing dry yeasts. So you can imagine that I was pretty excited when I recently managed to get my hands on some White Labs cultures.
Unfortunately,the joy was short lived. The first culture I used showed no activity after 24 hours. So I pitched a dry yeast in the wort but it was too late. Bacteria had taken hold and the beer was terrible. To avoid a repeat, I tried to make a starter with the next one.
Once again, the culture proved completely nonviable. Literally, nothing happened. Out of curiosity, I let the starter sit for over two weeks. Still nothing! At least I know I was properly sanitizing my glassware.
Happily, since those failures, the next two cultures have worked well. What the difference was I cannot say. The only factor I cannot account for is temperature. I did let the wort cool longer on the third and fourth tries. Perhaps, I pitched the first two cultures at too high a temperature. At the very least, perhaps the difference between the temperature of the wort and the yeast was too great and some sort of thermal shock killed the culture.
I hope I can figure this out as I really like the results I get with White Labs yeasts.