I recently aquired a white wheat sourdough from 1857. It sits on the counter and I feed it daily with equal volumes of flour and water (following instructions from the lovely sourdough owner) but it doesn't bubble and it doesn't rise. It just separates with a layer of liquid on the top. Yesterday I tried adding a bit more flour in case the mixture was too wet, and it hasn't separated, but it still doesn't seem active (save for maybe 1 or 2 bubbles). It also has a distinctly sour smell, more like lemon juice, which seems different to my other starters.
I know the sourdough was happy and active with the previous owner. I noticed she kept it in a plastic tupperware which I know is a lot more porus than my glass jar, and I wondered if the plastic helped/housed much of the yeast. I also used disinfectants in my kitchen (I have now vowed to stop) which could also account for it becoming inactive with me.
At the moment my only plan is to continue what I'm doing and hopefully build up the yeast community over time. I am reluctant to change anything drastically, because I don't want to change the starter too much and essentially loose whatever it is that makes it the 1857 starter! Does anyone have any suggestions? Would feeding it some sugar/honey/rye/wholewheat change the yeasts?