I made a sourdough starter some time back and used it a few times for some excellent crusts. It has been in the fridge forgotten now for I'd guess about six weeks. I pulled it out today, thinking of making a sourdough crust with some Caputo 00.
When I smelled it, it smelled a little like the chemical my teachers used to use to make copies with in grade school (For those of you 50 or over, remember the purplish-ink papers) only stronger. It might be an alcohol smell, but it's not on the same branch of the tree as would be common in beer brewing. It is not hideous, but rather a kind of alcohol/chemical cross. The liquid is smoky-gray in color and the dough underneath is still a white color. When I stir it, I then get a faint smell (but only faint) of the old dough (brewing) that I remember.
This was started using bread flour if that's relevent.
MY QUESTION is, would this be something you would use or would you start over again with a new starter? I understand, I'd probably need to dump half and refeed, but I'm wondering if it's safe. Thanks.