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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: JT on April 19, 2015, 02:50:48 pm

Title: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 19, 2015, 02:50:48 pm
I've just brewed 5.5 gallons of a 1.034 Berliner Weisse.  It's in the primary (did not aerate) at 80° with Wyeast 5335 Lactobacillus (no starter).  Tentative plan is to give it 3 days at this temp, then chill to mid 60's and pitch an ale yeast until fermentation is done.  I may do a small 1/2 liter starter and pitch at high krausen.
Good so far?  Temp ok?  Yeast recommendations?

Next step is to rack to a 5 gallon secondary on top of 5 lbs sour cherries, and pitch 1 vial of WLP 650 Brettanomyces bruxellensis and ferment until tasty at basement ambient mid 60's.  Will fermentation be violent and require a larger carboy? 

Anything else I'm overlooking?
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: brewday on April 19, 2015, 03:02:12 pm
With that lacto strain I've been holding at 90° for a week with good results.  As for yeast, I use WY1007.

If you haven't already, check out the Berliner presentation by Jess Caudil from 2012 NHC:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/resources/conference-seminars/
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: troybinso on April 19, 2015, 03:37:29 pm
If you have a pH meter, that is a good way to measure the level of fermentation from the lacto. Tasting also works. I have had good experience with a couple of different yeasts to add after the lacto, including brett, and you really don't need to use both the sachharomyces and the brett.

You could chill the lacto down when you get close to your desired level of sourness, rack it to another carboy with the fruit and yeast and let it go for a few weeks. I have had great success with quick, sour fruit beers doing this.

By the way, you can save the lacto and reuse it just like yeast, but you would want to make sure your bugs weren't contaminated by some of that nasty saccharomyces. ;)

Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 19, 2015, 03:43:25 pm
With that lacto strain I've been holding at 90° for a week with good results.  As for yeast, I use WY1007.

If you haven't already, check out the Berliner presentation by Jess Caudil from 2012 NHC:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/resources/conference-seminars/
Nice presentation, thanks!  Looks like I underpitched the lacto a bit... live and learn!
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: brewday on April 19, 2015, 03:53:12 pm
With that lacto strain I've been holding at 90° for a week with good results.  As for yeast, I use WY1007.

If you haven't already, check out the Berliner presentation by Jess Caudil from 2012 NHC:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/resources/conference-seminars/
Nice presentation, thanks!  Looks like I underpitched the lacto a bit... live and learn!

Live and learn indeed - my first couple of attempts looked a lot like Mr. Caudil's early failures!  That presentation really lays out a solid process, at least for 5335.  Not making the starter might be all the more reason to let it go more than 3 days, but with the fruit I think you'll be fine either way.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 19, 2015, 04:37:58 pm
If you have a pH meter, that is a good way to measure the level of fermentation from the lacto. Tasting also works. I have had good experience with a couple of different yeasts to add after the lacto, including brett, and you really don't need to use both the sachharomyces and the brett.

You could chill the lacto down when you get close to your desired level of sourness, rack it to another carboy with the fruit and yeast and let it go for a few weeks. I have had great success with quick, sour fruit beers doing this.

By the way, you can save the lacto and reuse it just like yeast, but you would want to make sure your bugs weren't contaminated by some of that nasty saccharomyces. ;)
Thanks Troy, I do have a pH meter and will be keeping an eye on it. 
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: brewinhard on April 20, 2015, 08:38:15 am
Yes.  I would definitely let it ride for at least 7 days prior to cooling and pitching your ale yeast.  Depending on how fresh your sacch. is you might want to consider making a small starter and pitching at high krausen for quick fermentation results. 

I have found that most of my Berliner's need to age an additional 4-6 mos for the lactic acidity to really kick in and become representative of a classic Berliner flavor and aroma.  I typically age in a keg at below room temps (i.e. low 60's). 
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 20, 2015, 09:03:19 pm
I took my first pH reading around 30 hours in... getting 5.0 so I'm a bit nervous.  I want that number below 4.6 as quick as possible. 
I have absolutely no activity in the carboy.  There are different types of Lactobacillus and I'm not sure which one this is or what to expect during fermentation.  I may end up emailing Jess to get more specifics about this strain.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: troybinso on April 20, 2015, 09:44:58 pm
That is a pretty high pH, as you noticed. I think your temperature is really low for lacto. I shoot for at least 100F, but it can be difficult to keep it at that temp. I usually try to pitch at like 110 or so, and put a bunch of heating pads and sleeping bags around the carboy to hold the temp as warm as possible. I don't worry about letting it go for a week or more, but I also start off with a much higher original gravity.

If you can warm it up, I think it should help. Also, if you haven't seen any signs of fermentation I wouldn't worry too much, because that means there was no weird yeast or other bacteria going to work.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2015, 12:24:12 am
Side note. I found The Sour Hour podcasts finally on podbay.fm
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 21, 2015, 05:09:47 am
Side note. I found The Sour Hour podcasts finally on podbay.fm
I drive a lot for work, so this info is much appreciated.  I just downloaded 10 podcasts, thanks Jim!
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: brewinhard on April 21, 2015, 07:28:11 am
I took my first pH reading around 30 hours in... getting 5.0 so I'm a bit nervous.  I want that number below 4.6 as quick as possible. 
I have absolutely no activity in the carboy.  There are different types of Lactobacillus and I'm not sure which one this is or what to expect during fermentation.  I may end up emailing Jess to get more specifics about this strain.

As far as I understand it, WY 5335 is their L. delbrucki strain which is homofermentive.  This strain will produce lactic acid but does NOT produce any alcohol unlike their recently released (last summer private collection) L. brevis strain which produces lactic acid AND alcohol. 

With that being said, I have produced excellent BW's with WY 5335 combined with brett as a finishing strain and about 6-10 mos of aging for proper acidity production.  YMMV. 
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2015, 03:21:22 pm
5335 is my go to lactic. There's something going on that I believe will be unfolded in this current sour boom. My straight forward NW Sour is a 50/50 grist bill of pale 2 row and american munich at about 1.050 and less than 10 IBUs of Willamette. I do a one week non oxygenated 1L starter with the lactic and pitch the whole thing into 90º wort. It stays at 90 for a week, then I chill it to 68 and pitch bret lambicus. Its done and ready to bottle in about 2 months total, counting a couple weeks between final gravity readings.

I've noticed that my gravity drops from 1.050 to about 1.040 in that first week. My starter is a liter of 1.030 added to 20 liters of 1.050 = 21 liters of 1.049. Makes you wonder where the other 9 points went. Since lactic acid has a specific gravity higher than water, its a mystery to me. Im not convinced that it doesn't make alcohol. I suppose its possible that the lab misslabeled the sample. Maybe lacto d consumes 15 points of sugar and in doing so it adds 6 points of acid. Or some such numbers...

Maybe when I make this year's batches I will send one to the lab for ABV to compare with my calculated numbers. It finishes at about 1.003, so it should be about 6%. If it comes back from the GCMS at 5% there will be some head scratching to do.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: 69franx on April 21, 2015, 06:52:24 pm
5335 is my go to lactic. There's something going on that I believe will be unfolded in this current sour boom. My straight forward NW Sour is a 50/50 grist bill of pale 2 row and american munich at about 1.050 and less than 10 IBUs of Willamette. I do a one week non oxygenated 1L starter with the lactic and pitch the whole thing into 90º wort. It stays at 90 for a week, then I chill it to 68 and pitch bret lambicus. Its done and ready to bottle in about 2 months total, counting a couple weeks between final gravity readings.

I've noticed that my gravity drops from 1.050 to about 1.040 in that first week. My starter is a liter of 1.030 added to 20 liters of 1.050 = 21 liters of 1.049. Makes you wonder where the other 9 points went. Since lactic acid has a specific gravity higher than water, its a mystery to me. Im not convinced that it doesn't make alcohol. I suppose its possible that the lab misslabeled the sample. Maybe lacto d consumes 15 points of sugar and in doing so it adds 6 points of acid. Or some such numbers...

Maybe when I make this year's batches I will send one to the lab for ABV to compare with my calculated numbers. It finishes at about 1.003, so it should be about 6%. If it comes back from the GCMS at 5% there will be some head scratching to do.
JT, sorry to high jack... Jim, what comparisons do you have for your sours? Are they like anything commercial I can find and try out? I have not done any sours yet, but may be looking into them next year, and your recipe and approach sound fairly easy to follow for a first attempt. I remember your original thread had it as a hopeful experiment I think, and it sounds like you were pleased. Just some thoughts on my possible brewing future
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 21, 2015, 07:21:45 pm
Well I took another reading and got 5.0 again.  I was using test strips for these readings so broke out the meter:  5.3.  I had 5.39 going into the fermenter.  Not good.  At this point I'm going to go ahead and pitch my 1007 yeast.  I'm just not comfortable with the beer sitting in botulism range. 
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2015, 11:05:24 pm
Well, not sure in your area. Its similar ish to Logsdon Cerasus, minus the cherry and a bit more sour. Tasting notes from NHC where it got a 30 while being way out of style, said it was very tart with pineapple and cherry pie notes. It was over carbonated and the hops weren't cheesy enough, and not enough barnyard to be in style for a straight lambic. That's why I'm looking forward to the new guidelines. Too many modern west coast sours don't fit the historical euro sours.

I don't get pineapple per se, more of a fermented cherry pie thing. Not horse barnyard like Bret b. Bret lambicus is a flavor all its own. See if you can find logsdon farmhouse beers, like pech n Brett, or cerasus.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2015, 11:15:28 pm
The beer I've been talking about is my quick sour. I've done a couple the slow way with roselare and they are great too. I'm learning there are lots of right answers with sour beers.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2015, 11:20:07 pm
By the way, mchrispen will be getting one of my quick sours soon. We'll see what he thinks before too long.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 21, 2015, 11:20:54 pm
The beer I've been talking about is my quick sour. I've done a couple the slow way with roselare and they are great too. I'm learning there are lots of right answers with sour beers.
This is my hope with my beer currently in the fermenter.  Next time I will certainly make a sizeable Lacto starter first if I use this current schedule again.  I've got a 1 liter WY1007 starter underway while I'm crashing my carboy down to 67 degrees.  Will pitch it tomorrow.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2015, 11:27:48 pm
Two things. Avoid oxygen exposure. Be patient. You'll do fine.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 21, 2015, 11:33:43 pm
Two things. Avoid oxygen exposure. Be patient. You'll do fine.
I was planning on hitting it with o2 immediately prior to pitching my active WY1007.  It will have been sitting 3 days with WY5335, though my pH isn't really budging. 
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 21, 2015, 11:40:08 pm
Ya I'm no expert. Especially not with lacto and sac yeast. I know Bret will throw some acetic if O2 is present. And nothing cleans up acetic.

Someone else may be able to chime in on that. But if it were me with no other suggestions, I'd build a huge pitch and toss it in without oxygenation

What temp has the lacto been at?
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 22, 2015, 04:39:22 am
Ya I'm no expert. Especially not with lacto and sac yeast. I know Bret will throw some acetic if O2 is present. And nothing cleans up acetic.

Someone else may be able to chime in on that. But if it were me with no other suggestions, I'd build a huge pitch and toss it in without oxygenation

What temp has the lacto been at?
The Lacto was direct pitched at 85° F for around 52 hours.  Since my pH isn't moving, I chilled the beer last night to 67° and will pitch my starter today at high krausen and had planned on hitting beer with o2 first.  This schedule was recently recommended by Matt Miller (aka Dr. Lambic) on a Basic Brewing podcast in Jan.  I'll listen again today and reference American Sour Beers first.
I know you definitely want to avoid o2 with Brett, but there isn't any in there (yet).
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 22, 2015, 04:56:13 am
Ya I'm no expert. Especially not with lacto and sac yeast. I know Bret will throw some acetic if O2 is present. And nothing cleans up acetic.

Someone else may be able to chime in on that. But if it were me with no other suggestions, I'd build a huge pitch and toss it in without oxygenation

What temp has the lacto been at?
The Lacto was direct pitched at 85° F for around 52 hours.  Since my pH isn't moving, I chilled the beer last night to 67° and will pitch my starter today at high krausen and had planned on hitting beer with o2 first.  This schedule was recently recommended by Matt Miller (aka Dr. Lambic) on a Basic Brewing podcast in Jan.  I'll listen again today and reference American Sour Beers first.
I know you definitely want to avoid o2 with Brett, but there isn't any in there (yet).
My concern would be what else is in there that may react to oxygen. I'd be more confident oxygenating after a 15 minute boil to kill off whatever may have taken hold. You'll probably be fine though.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: brewday on April 22, 2015, 06:16:19 am
I hit with O2 just prior to the yeast pitch - basically after 5335 has had its run I treat fermentation as I normally would.  Then I'll throw in Brett L. around 3 days after the 1007 pitch.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: mabrungard on April 22, 2015, 07:24:33 am
Wow! Sounds like trouble.

I just finished a Berliner that was created via the handful of malt method that is incredible. There is a lot to be said for using more than a monoculture in your sour beer. Here is what I did:

1.5L of 1.030 starter wort in 2L erhlenmeyer flask.
Pitched with handful of Best Pils malt (whole).
Capped with tightly fitting sheet of aluminum foil (didn't have a stopper to fit the flask!)
Wrapped with heating pad and kept at around 100F.
Smelled pretty funky for a few days
Dusty, chalky looking pellicle formed. Was easily swirled away with agitation.
Became nicely smooth and tart smelling after about 5 days
Final pH: 3.1

Created 5 gal of 50/50 Pils/Wheat wort with single step at 154F
Ran off hot wort into 5 gal corny keg.
Installed keg lid and allowed to cool to 100F overnight.
Pitched entire starter (above) and replaced lid.
Wrapped heating pad and blanket around keg and kept at around 100F
Vented keg daily, lacto does NOT produce much CO2, so the venting was minimal.
Smelled like a sewer...funky for a couple of days.
Cleaned up to a smooth and tart aroma after about 5 days
Final pH: 3.1

Poured soured wort into kettle, produced a huge, dense head.
Boiled the 5 gal of soured wort for 1 hour, wanted to make sure DMS from Pils was gone.
Very fruity, pleasing aroma throughout.
About 10 IBU of early hopping applied.
Transferred hot wort directly into fermenter and allowed to cool overnight
Direct pitched packet of US-05 yeast into fermenter at 68F.
Took about 12 hours to show signs of airlock activity.
Fermented slowly for about 5 days...low pH and low gravity probably the reason.
Finished around 1.010, didn't want to let it go too low since I figured the beer needed a little sweetness to counter the acidity.

Very nice, multi-dimensional flavor, very clean and tart. Met with high regard from my club's National and Master judges. By my palate, this was equal to the Berliner's that I've tasted from Fritz Briem 1854 and Berliner Kindle. Mission accomplished!

I feel that an important lesson here is that it is VERY important to prevent oxygen contact with the bacterial culture since that can invite truly funky and off aroma and flavor. Give the culture time and the lacto will eventually out-compete the other organisms and severely limit their activity via the low pH from their lactic acid production. Note that the keg of wort hit with the lacto starter still went funky, so those other organisms were still lurking in that starter. The lacto still out-competed them and produced a great result.

I've tasted the Wyeast Berliner's at the past couple of AHA conferences and have to say that they are quite bland and uninspiring. This multi-organism starter definitely helps avoid that problem. Those of you that have read the Bru'n Water Facebook page know that you can improve the depth of a Berliner's acid flavor by adding distilled vinegar to infuse a low level of acetic acid that is present in a good Berliner. But I'd say that this 'natural' approach does produce a more pleasing complexity and depth.

By starting with a starter, you can avoid wasting a whole batch of beer. Just let that thing go through it's funky phases and eventually it should develop that pleasing sourness and smooth tartness from lactic acid. As noted, this is not a terribly rapid process, but it does work and the result can be outstanding.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: brewday on April 22, 2015, 09:12:50 am
The beer I've been talking about is my quick sour. I've done a couple the slow way with roselare and they are great too. I'm learning there are lots of right answers with sour beers.
This is my hope with my beer currently in the fermenter.  Next time I will certainly make a sizeable Lacto starter first if I use this current schedule again.  I've got a 1 liter WY1007 starter underway while I'm crashing my carboy down to 67 degrees.  Will pitch it tomorrow.

One thing you could do at this point is proceed as planned and start a smaller Berliner taking a different approach, and then blend to taste.  Time is your friend here!
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 22, 2015, 05:39:56 pm
With my WY1007 starter ready I checked the beer again and this time pulled a full size sample: pH still at 5.3 and gravity still at 1.034. 
This was a good news / bad news scenario IMO.  On one hand my Lacto isn't Lacto-ing, but on the other hand nothing else seems to be at work either.  This was almost exactly 72 hours in.  I aerated with pure o2 at 1LPM for 60 seconds and pitched my full  (almost 1 liter) and active starter which I made with o2 and no stir plate.  Five hours in and I'm seeing airlock activity and krausen.  The plan is to proceed as if I were on track and see what the Brett and cherries bring, although I will of course taste after primary fermentation. 
When using a Lacto culture again, I'll be sure to make a good starter first.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: klickitat jim on April 22, 2015, 05:42:18 pm
Martin, that Full Sail berliner was timid and one dimensional for sure. Im not so sure they didnt sour it with 88%. That being said, it was a drinkable intro to sour beer that was only $4 a bomber. If a sour virgin liked that, they could head south 10 miles and try some World Beer Cup gold medal winning sours and see the difference between $4 bomber and a $25 750ml.

I agree that I prefer the complexity. But clean and straight forward has a place too.
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on April 23, 2015, 05:57:45 am
Gotta love the pre-work scramble to install a blowoff tube!  I heard WY1007 was a climber but thought I was safe with my 1.034 gravity. 
Title: Re: First sour - fermentation plan
Post by: JT on May 31, 2015, 10:01:14 pm
Update: this beer has been on sour cherries for 2 weeks.  I wasn't really crazy about the base beer, probably because it wasn't all that tart.  The sample I just pulled from the carboy tastes fantastic, I'm tempted to keg it now and skip the Brett addition!  Gravity is 1.005, color is a nice pale pink.  I may give it another week or two and keg it, my keezer has too many open taps...