Pour off the hooch.
As a new member, I want to off my 2 cents worth on hooch and get some opinions.
I suggest you always pour off the hooch to prevent making the sourdough bitter. Here is my line of thought.
Yeast produces alcohol and in sourdough, it is the clear or off color liquid we all know as "hooch". Part of this hooch is dead yeast cells that have died for various reasons, including being exposed to too much alcohol, lack of food and just old age..
In wine making, it is acknowledged that once all the food (sugars and starch) is gone, the yeast will begin to eat dead yeast and will produce a bitter off taste to the wine.
Therefore, even in bread, I think you should always pour off the hooch and remove the off colored starter to prevent bitterness. Stirring it back into the starter just does not seem to be the best thing to do.