Starter Day 5, Made beer! what to do now…?

Starter Day 5, Made beer! what to do now…?

Submitted by Ao on November 25, 2015 – 7:52pm.

As the title says, I’ve successfully made hooch… and really need some seasoned advice on what to do next. (the photo is of after I mixed the hooch back into the starter)

I must admit, I’m entirely new at sourdough. Infact, I don’t even like sourdough, but my husband does, and I wanted to make a starter so i can bake some SD loaves for him. 

I followed the SD instructions with 2tbsp flour and 2tbsp grapefruit juice everday until day 4, where I discarded all but 1/4cups of the mixture. 

My starter is in the water  heating room which run at about 85F. Any temperature fluctuations in the houseis negligible   as I live in a very well insulated and heated basement apartment.

So, I started off with rye flour. For the first three days, my mixture smelled like rye, very pleasant.

On the third day, it started smelling a bit yeasty and had small bubbles. I had been feeding the starter frozen rye flour up to this point, and my forum readings pointed out to me that I should not be using frozen flour for a SD starter. I switched to 2tbsp grapefruit juice and 2tbsp WW flour.

On the fourth day, I believe I added too much juice on the previous day and the mixture was somewhat runny. It was frothy and smelled “yeasty” with a hint of alcohol.

I measure out 1/4 cups of the mixture and added 1/4 cups of cold boiled water and 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour, the mixture was still relatively runny.

today was day 5 and I came home to a layer of “hooch” separating the starter. It had a strong smell of alcohol, not a terrible smell, more like the smell of fermenting rice from when my grandpa made rice wine… I do not drink, so my perception of what a alcoholic smell is may be quite off!

I did some reading and chose to mixed it down while adding an extra 2 tbsps of flour to my starter. As I had forgotten to purchase filtered water today, I did not discard any starter.

Now here is my confusion…

The threads I read seem to have conflicting information on what to do with starters that smell like alcohol:


Some threads i read said to not feed the starter for a few days and to let it balance out.

Others mention that the alcohol is a sign of a starved starter and that it should be fed.

And some advised to throw it out and start over…

what should I do next????