Attempting to get some sourdough coming out of my kitchen, so I went ahead and started a starter 5 days ago using instructions from King Arthur page (1 C whole wheat flour & 1/2 C bottled water). After a day, discarded 1/2 starter, added 1 C AP flour & 1/2 C bottled water...only water I'm using in this process). On the following 3 days, did this - discarded 2/3 starter (leaving behind ~3/4 C), and added 1 C AP flour & 1/2 C water). Temperature has been relatively constant around mid 70s.
My issue is the starter is failing to rise...it did the first day, but since, it has not. HOWEVER, there are lots of bubbles on top. Also, on day 3 a touch of alcohol formed on top (apparently normal, just means feed starter, which I did). Lastly, the smell, while still unpleasant, has improved (leuconostoc bacteria effects, I assume?).
Question - is the failure to rise a sign of some kind of overall failure? I KNOW it's alive, but given the fact it's not rising & just bubbling doesn't seem right. Any recommendations are much appreciated :)