Author Topic: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?  (Read 2193 times)

Offline enso

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What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« on: February 03, 2010, 10:55:49 AM »
I can't remember what the exact recipe or context was, but in Brew Like a Monk there was a recipe where the homebrewer pitched the dregs of 2 bottles of Orval into the secondary (iirc) of a brew.

Caught my imagination as I really enjoy the character of Orval.  From what I understand there are multiple yeast strains in there including Brett?

I believe what I would like to do is to culture up some dregs from a bottle to pitch into an already fermented Saison, yet to be brewed.

How much should I build it up?  How long should I expect to wait on it to finish?  Six months?  More?  I plan on bottle conditioning so obvisously I want it to be done first.

Will I get brett character or is it possible only one or two strains will dominate when culturing the dregs?

I know I am going to give it a try and only time will tell, I just am really "hepped" up on this idea and guess I want to talk about with folks.  Maybe get some additional ideas or insights.   
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Offline narvin

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 12:37:27 PM »
I've done this twice and I've had great results with just using the dregs without a starter.  Considering that brett is a slower fermenter, you may get mostly growth of the primary sacc yeast in Orval anyway if you did make one.

As long as your beer is well attenuated after the primary (and my Orval clone definitely was - somewhere around 1.007 I think), you shouldn't have to wait very long to bottle.  Orval secondaries with Brett for 3 weeks before bottling, and I did the same.  After a year, it probably dropped about 2 - 3 points, so it's better to use heavy Belgian bottles or champagne bottles.   I haven't had experience using this in beers with lots of residual sugar after the primary, so I'd monitor it closely before bottle to see if the gravity is still dropping to avoid explosions.

This is a pretty fast-acting brett.  Depending on your secondary temperature, you can have some serious barnyard funk after only a month or two.  I tried keeping it around 60 and also 75, and I actually preferred the more aggressive flavors from keeping it warmer during secondary, even though Orval uses the cooler temp.
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Offline enso

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2010, 02:00:40 PM »
Ah, great points thank you.  I had not thought about the difference in reproduction/fermentation of the brett vs. sacch..  I think I forgot to mention, I have not played with the brett beasties yet. So perhaps it would be best to use the dregs from several bottles?

As for attenuation I am hoping for a very high level of attenuation.  Whether I can manage it or not remains o be seen...  I guess part of my desire to do this is to help attenuate things a bit more if I cannot get them there with my primary yeast.
Dave Brush

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2010, 03:47:56 PM »
The freshness of the bottles matters-don't take that Orval you've been saving for 5 years.  I've never used more than 2 bottles worth of dregs but 3 won't hurt.  In fact having to drink 3 Orvals in an afternoon for the dregs sounds kind of pleasant.  I use saison as my base beer usually, the last one I brewed was underattenuated when I pitched the dregs but it was stillexcellent.  Keg no. 2 of that batch was innoculated a year ago, and the first keg just kicked so I'm anxious to hook it up and taste it.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 01:23:33 PM »
How fresh are we talking?

I have two Orval bottles dated August '09.  Will the dregs be good if I use them up by this coming August?

Offline enso

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 03:07:50 PM »
The freshness issue was part of my original intention on culturing up the dregs before pitching.  I figured they would need a little tlc before I popped them into 5.5 gallons.

The more I think about it the less I am sure that steping it up first isn't a bad idea after all.

Here is what I have been thinking.  Yes, culturing it may grow more of the sacchromyces strains than the brett., however, it should give all strains a bit of encouragement and chance to wake up.  Then, when I pitch it in a beer that is for all intents and purposes done fermenting with the original yeast strain there will really be nothing more for whatever sacch. strains to eat so they will just flocculate out.  Leaving the brett. strains to munch on what they will.

Make sense?

Dave Brush

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2010, 02:23:46 PM »
I believe what I would like to do is to culture up some dregs from a bottle to pitch into an already fermented Saison, yet to be brewed.

I've got a saison like this on tap now. I fermented it with WLP565 from 1.060 to 1.019 and then pitched the dregs from two bottles of Orval. After 3 months it was down to 1.009 and had a noticeable brett character. I let it age another 3 months before I kegged it though it did not drop any lower.

Offline 1vertical

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 01:38:43 PM »
As tankdeer pointed out to me, the Orval bugs are fast growers.  I have
a Saison that I poured an entire bottle of Orval into....it is a great tasting
SOUR ale...and did not take much over 3 months to produce the character....

just my $.02
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Offline richt

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 08:18:16 PM »
Would adding dregs to a Belgian Golden Strong that has already dropped to 1.005 be successful?  It's been in secondary for a few months and I've been tempted to add some bugs.  Picking up some Orval wouldn't hurt either.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2010, 10:44:54 PM »
From what I know about them, those Brett bugs like the beer after the yeast
have finished with it....so Yeah I would say go for it...and you needn't worry
about the dregs...unless you desire only to add them. I added the
entire beer....with good results.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2010, 05:10:23 AM »
From what I know about them, those Brett bugs like the beer after the yeast
have finished with it....so Yeah I would say go for it...and you needn't worry
about the dregs...unless you desire only to add them. I added the
entire beer....with good results.

Does the amount of residual sugar affect how much funk there is?

Offline 1vertical

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2010, 08:17:05 AM »
Don't make me tell a lie.  IMO the short answer is NO, because
sugar is not the only vector of metabolism present in a brettanomyces
cycle, there is also bacteria at work and the food chain is not the same
for them.  I have not personally experimented with bret enough to
assertively answer your question....someone else may be better qualified.
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Offline akr71

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Re: What to expect from cultured dregs of Orval?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2010, 08:53:57 AM »
I've been playing with a similar idea (secondary fermentation using Orval dregs).  Would culturing the dregs and then tossing in some oak cubes be worth it?

My thinking would be that the oak cubes would then be your (re-usable) inoculation vehicle.
Andy

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