Author Topic: Aging sour beer on/off primary cake  (Read 3163 times)

Offline sdavis84

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Aging sour beer on/off primary cake
« on: April 21, 2012, 08:31:02 PM »
I recently brewed a sour beer and added all the saccharomyces, brett, pedio, and lacto together at the beginning in the primary.  I have read how adding all the souring organisms up front will aid in speeding up the process because they obviously are exposed to many more sugars and nutrients up front and can propogate faster.  Now that my primary fermentation has subsided, I am debating whether I need/should rack off the cake or not.  I know lambics traditionally are aged on the primary cake.  I have also read that the flocc'd yeast may provide nutrients for the bacteria and brett to use as the beer ages.  I have the ability to age the beer at a constant moderate temp, so my gut feeling is to leave it alone to age on the original cake.  Anyone have personal experience aging sours on/off the original cake?  If so, what temp is optimal (i was thinking ~65-70F)?  Thanks for any advice!

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Aging sour beer on/off primary cake
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2012, 10:30:16 AM »
Leaving the beer on the yeast cake alone won't hurt it at reasonable cellar temps (think about bottle-conditioned beers).

The autolyzed yeast will also provide nutrients for the brett life cycle later on.

However, if you have a significant amount of trub, hop, or break material in the primary, go ahead and rack. A little bit is okay, but if you haven't done any filtering, I would leave it behind.

If you do rack - purge the conditioning vessel and siphon with CO2. With the drop in pH provided by the lacto, the sacch. probably wont be up for scavenging any oxygen.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Aging sour beer on/off primary cake
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2012, 03:51:30 PM »
I haven't tried it both ways to compare, but I always rack before adding the bugs in secondary.  I just age it at whatever temp the hallway closet is, it's colder than the rest of the house but should still be over 60F.  I sometimes put them in my crawlspace, but that gets down to 40F or lower, so you need to be patient.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline kraftwerk

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Re: Aging sour beer on/off primary cake
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2012, 04:49:15 PM »
I haven't tried it both ways to compare, but I always rack before adding the bugs in secondary.  I just age it at whatever temp the hallway closet is, it's colder than the rest of the house but should still be over 60F.  I sometimes put them in my crawlspace, but that gets down to 40F or lower, so you need to be patient.

So Tom, here's a question, if you add bugs in secondary, what do you use for primary? I've heard of using a clean ale yeast like US-05 or something similar. If your beer is mostly or completely attenuated in primary, then what do the bugs actually do in secondary? How would you manipulate the mash/primary to give the bugs something to eat later on?
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Offline ccfoo242

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Re: Aging sour beer on/off primary cake
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2012, 08:22:26 PM »
I think they eat what the yeast won't.  Just looking in BCS at Jamil's sour recipes and he does what you said: ferment with neutral yeast then rack to secondary and add the bugs.

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Aging sour beer on/off primary cake
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 11:42:13 PM »
I sometimes use a clean yeast, sometimes use a Belgian strain.  Both get me good results.  I usually intentionally underattenuate the beer.  You can mash high if you like, or don't aerate, under pitch, that kind of thing.  It depends on how much you want to give the bugs to chew on.
Tom Schmidlin