I'm trying to start my first "successful" sourdough starter. I posted a question about getting it started here:
Since I asked that question, I started a second starter according to a book suggested by one poster. Once started, it was a 1:1:1 ratio of starter/whole rye flour/warm well water. I also let my other flour, which is the same ratio, but with all-purpose flour, sit for a few days. It got a slightly alcohol smelling liquid on it. The rye didn't rise much but got solid, puffy bubbles fairly quickly. I fed both when the rye was bubbly and the all-purpose had some liquid on top. I poured off most of the liquid and then fed both in their separate containers at about 10pm.
Low and behold, I wake up for work the next morning and they've both doubled. I repeated the process of feeding them at night and they've doubled by 6:45am and started to fall by then, as well. As per the suggestion of many posters on this site, I've been smelling my starters often. The rye smells funny on it's own, but I think recently, that it's been starting to smell more yeasty. However, I wake up in the morning and smell the all-purpose. By that point it's started to fall and it has almost no smell at all. It's fully risen and then fallen by about a quarter at that point.
I figured it should have a really yeasty smell then, like when you activate instant yeast. It just smells flat. Then when I go to feed it that night, it does have a stronger smell, but it's more alcoholic than yeasty. Am I just missing the window of good yeast smell or does it need longer to get established.
I started the all-purpose starter on 9/5/15 with the method described in the linked question. Today is the 4th day it's doubled in size. It didn't start doing that till the morning of 9/15/15. Up until then, I did get bubbling, but no noticeable rise. I figured using the initial method of feeding every 12 hours and replacing half was just removing the yeast I'd grown, so I let it sit till it got that "hooch" on top and I figured that meant yeast activity and after feeding I did get a good rise.
So it's now technically been going for 13 days, it's only been vigorously rising for 4 days. Even though it rises and there are a lot of bubbles, they aren't big huge bubbles. So my question is, that given how I've been handling it, does it just need more time to gain that yeasty smell (I think it should have enough with the way it's rising), am I just missing the time when it smells really yeasty, or am I doing something wrong? Thanks.