My starter smells like alcohol. It doesn't taste like alcohol, it doesn't taste particularly sour and it doesn't really taste bad. So I'm not sure if it is dead, infected or what.
I have used it a number of times before with very little additional yeast (at times none) to make good bread. However, the bread doesn't taste sour. I guess I'm fine with that because it still tastes good but I'm a little concerned now.
The only thing that I can think of is that the summer heat has something to do with it. I have it sitting on my counter in a crock out of the sun but we have yet to turn on the AC this summer. I keep it a 100% hydration (by weight) but I should probably decrease that.
I pulled 500g yesterday to make a preferment with 150g water and 375g high gluten flour. It has taken almost 24hrs to double and it has the consistancy of runny icing or glaze.
I really don't want to throw it out as I aquired my initial starter from my father who got it from my aunt who got it from some bakery in San Fransisco. It has been some time since I last baked and I haven't been feeding it very often either.
Any thoughs, suggestions or advice would be appreciated.