Two nights ago I pulled my starter out of the fridge to see if it was worth using. It had been about 6 months since my last bake, and other than a little gray hooch and lack of bubbles, didn't seem too much worse for the wear. I refreshed a small amount that night, and twice yesterday. Yesterday it still smelled a little unpleasant, and this morning it smells better and closer to what I remember as normal, but not really there. It smells sour but not fruity-sweet at all. There is plenty of activity, and I'm pretty much refreshing every 12 hours without paying a whole lot of attention. This was made with commercial yeast about a year ago and I had been baking about every two weeks, but then I had a bit of a maternity leave from almost everything. =) How do I know if it is "safe" to use and will give me a decent flavor? I don't think rise will be an issue, but I'm worried about the quality. Thanks!
Update: It's been about 4 and a half hours since this morning's feed and my nose might be playing tricks on me, but I think it is starting to come around and smell a little sweeter. However, it does seem so much more acidic smelling than it did last November. Is this just an age thing? It seems to be just starting to head down from the peak, and I will probably mix up a dough tonight to bake tomorrow.