I recently began developing a sourdough starter and it seemed much easier than it sounded - within a few days it was growing well and smelled good (like yeasty bread dough). On about day 5 or 6, I had to go away for the weekend, and so I stored the starter in my fridge, and now it's acting sort of strange.
Before I went away, I fed the starter and put it in the fridge right away. When I came back 2 days later it had still grown in the fridge. Not as much as usual; before my trip the starter was maybe growing from 1 cup to almost 3 cups, now it was closer to two. This, I think is expected - being in the fridge would retard the yeast's activities.
In any case, I took out the starter and let it sit for an hour or two to get it back to a more normal room temperature, and fed it again. (I think it missed 1, maybe 2 feedings because I was out of town.)
Anyway, now that I am back to regular feedings the starter is still growing well and then falling (which I believe is what it should do when it eats up all the food). But it's doing it really fast. I.e. in less than 12 hours. And then the starter begins to smell weird, like alcohol. It's pretty intense.
What happened to the yeasty smell? That was much nicer than this new, alcoholic development. I read online that the alcohol smell comes when the yeast run out of food and switch from aerobic to anaerobic mode. Should I really be feeding it more than once a day?