Author Topic: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching  (Read 4848 times)

Offline s rails

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Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« on: April 24, 2012, 09:34:59 PM »
I made 5 gallon Berliner Weisse (BCS recipe) using a 1 liter starter of WLP630 Beliner Weisse Blend on February 25th 2012.  Fermentation seemed normal.

I tasted it recently and was very disappointed with the sourness (not much) :(.  It taste like a low alcohol wheat beer.  Not great/not bad, not sour or even tart.  I'm sure my air temperatures where the carboy has been stored have been in the mid 60s or low 70s during this time. It is still in the primary.  Should I wait longer?  I haven't seen a pellicle or anything.  The 3 piece gas exchanger isn't movng at all.  Can I pitch another vial of WLP677 Lactobacillus and/or WLP645 Brettanomyces claussenii right in the primary to get some sourness going? Should I make a starter first? Should I move the beer to a second carboy and then try pitching a vial of WLP677 and WLP645 to get it off the dead yeast?  I'd like to make something similar to the Bruery's Hottenroth (a Berliner Weisse with lacto and brett).

Let me know your thoughts.
Sean Railing
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2012, 09:25:26 AM »
White labs says it could take "several months" to develop "tart" character.

http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/bacteria.html

To get that characteristic twang found in Hottenroth, you'll need Brett (WLP630 contains only the weizen strain and lactobacillus).

I would rack off and add it now, just so you don't have to do anything else until its ready. The less you hafta do, the more you forget about it/mess with it.

Be patient - to get the acidity and funk you're looking for, its going to take awhile. I wouldn't even open the airlock for 6-8 months.
@southhousebrew

Indianapolis, IN

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http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

Offline lornemagill

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2012, 09:45:52 AM »
the first berliner weisse i made turned out pretty similar.  pitched lacto first then an ale yeast after two days maybe.  aged for a few months in a sanke.  not too sour at all.  i now do a 1/3 or more sour mash for at least 36 hours and like the results and have gotten good feedback.  another brewer i talked to does half with ale yeast, half with lacto then combines the two, he also gets good feedback.

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2012, 12:13:57 PM »
I dont know if it applies to your particular blend. But I know Wyeast recommends not making starters with their Lambic blend and other yeast blends. They claim that one of the strains can out compete another during the starter phase and throw the balance off.

Possibly the weizen strain took over during making your starter?

Ive also read the best way to get tart character out of lacto is to make a starter of pure lacto and incubate it as warm as you can up to 90 degrees or so, and a big starter at that.
Jason
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2012, 12:19:50 PM »
I dont know if it applies to your particular blend. But I know Wyeast recommends not making starters with their Lambic blend and other yeast blends. They claim that one of the strains can out compete another during the starter phase and throw the balance off.

Possibly the weizen strain took over during making your starter?

Ive also read the best way to get tart character out of lacto is to make a starter of pure lacto and incubate it as warm as you can up to 90 degrees or so, and a big starter at that.

That was my guess - but I think in Berliner Weisse that's what you're looking for - just enough bacterial activity to be "tart".

Ramping up your lacto culture is good for Flanders Red, but I think it will yield too much acidity for a Berliner.

I'd like to try the sour wort starter proposed in Zymurgy awhile back. That might be interesting, AND I wouldnt be forced into a blend or buying two different cultures.
@southhousebrew

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http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

Offline jeffy

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2012, 12:40:57 PM »
I know that some people can get their Berliners sour right off the bat, but mine always take several months.  I usually use an ale yeast for a day, then pitch a pure wyeast lacto directly from the pouch.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline dee

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2012, 01:04:54 PM »
In my opinion, it's critical to make an appropriate sized lactobacillus-only starter prior to wort creation.  The ideal lacto environment is @100 degrees.  That's nowhere near reasonable yeast fermentation temps.  If you need dependable sourness, you should make a lacto-only starter of at least one liter in size for every 5 gallons you are brewing.  Essentially, you are creating the sourness in advance.  I keep mine wrapped with a heating pad on high for 2 days prior to brewday and I pitch the lacto warm(@110) and let the temps gradually decrease to fermentation temps and then pitch the yeast. 

Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2012, 01:06:44 PM »
In my opinion, it's critical to make an appropriate sized lactobacillus-only starter prior to wort creation.  The ideal lacto environment is @100 degrees.  That's nowhere near reasonable yeast fermentation temps.  If you need dependable sourness, you should make a lacto-only starter of at least one liter in size for every 5 gallons you are brewing.  Essentially, you are creating the sourness in advance.  I keep mine wrapped with a heating pad on high for 2 days prior to brewday and I pitch the lacto warm(@110) and let the temps gradually decrease to fermentation temps and then pitch the yeast.

This sounds like something to similar to what I read a while back. 
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline saintpierre

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2012, 01:28:21 PM »
White labs says it could take "several months" to develop "tart" character.

http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/bacteria.html


I brewed a berliner (same recipe) last year and I had the similar results initially regarding sourness.  After fermenting in the high 60  for about 2.5 months I had a very slight sourness but no defined pellicle in the carboy.  After bottling and aging I noticed a bacterial ring and there was a noticible tartness.
Mike St. Pierre
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2012, 01:30:28 PM »
In my opinion, it's critical to make an appropriate sized lactobacillus-only starter prior to wort creation.  The ideal lacto environment is @100 degrees.  That's nowhere near reasonable yeast fermentation temps.  If you need dependable sourness, you should make a lacto-only starter of at least one liter in size for every 5 gallons you are brewing.  Essentially, you are creating the sourness in advance.  I keep mine wrapped with a heating pad on high for 2 days prior to brewday and I pitch the lacto warm(@110) and let the temps gradually decrease to fermentation temps and then pitch the yeast.
I think this is the approach I will use the next time.
In the mean time, for your current batch, patience is the key.  Find a nice warm spot and let it sour naturally.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline s rails

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2012, 06:57:14 AM »
Thanks for all the ideas.  I just realized I bought an older vial dated from last May from my local home brew shop (discount bin).  The strater was fermenting when pitched but maybe the lacto didn't fair as well.  I think I need to pitch a vial of lacto to be sure.  My idea now is to rack to secondary off the dead yeast (unless the lacto needs the dead yeast) and pitch the lacto and brett.  Then move to a warm spot in the house and wait.  The only doubt I have is racking to secondary. I never rack to secondary so I'm not sure this is a good move; but I am concerned about dead yeast affecting the beer flavor.
Sean Railing
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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2012, 10:58:09 AM »
Thanks for all the ideas.  I just realized I bought an older vial dated from last May from my local home brew shop (discount bin).  The strater was fermenting when pitched but maybe the lacto didn't fair as well.  I think I need to pitch a vial of lacto to be sure.  My idea now is to rack to secondary off the dead yeast (unless the lacto needs the dead yeast) and pitch the lacto and brett.  Then move to a warm spot in the house and wait.  The only doubt I have is racking to secondary. I never rack to secondary so I'm not sure this is a good move; but I am concerned about dead yeast affecting the beer flavor.

Place sanitized saran wrap over your primary and secondary as best as you can to cover up from contamination.  You can also purge the secondary with co2 if you have it available. Move it secondary and pitch your lacto, make a starter with it as described before if you want that extra tartness right away. The Brett wont need a starter.  Taste along the way and see if its as tart as you like. You can leave it in there as long as it takes to develop that tart character.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2012, 11:30:04 AM »
In my opinion, it's critical to make an appropriate sized lactobacillus-only starter prior to wort creation.  The ideal lacto environment is @100 degrees.  That's nowhere near reasonable yeast fermentation temps.  If you need dependable sourness, you should make a lacto-only starter of at least one liter in size for every 5 gallons you are brewing.  Essentially, you are creating the sourness in advance.  I keep mine wrapped with a heating pad on high for 2 days prior to brewday and I pitch the lacto warm(@110) and let the temps gradually decrease to fermentation temps and then pitch the yeast.
I think this is the approach I will use the next time.
In the mean time, for your current batch, patience is the key.  Find a nice warm spot and let it sour naturally.

You could also pull of a few quarts of the first runnings into a santized container, put it in a warm place or on a heat pad, then add it back in after it sours (about 3-7 days). That would save you some time and a separate culture.

I said to be patient as well, but its Berliner season now! I think these quicker souring methods may be the route you want to take now, with a bit of planning in the future (or not!).
@southhousebrew

Indianapolis, IN

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http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

Offline s rails

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2012, 08:15:39 PM »
I don't have a problem waiting for this to sour.  I don't want to do a sour mash right now.  I've tried it and found it to not be what I was looking for.  I'd rather let the bugs do the work over time.

Another guy in my HBC made a Berliner Weisse at the same time and can taste some sourness already.  The difference is he pitched a vial of yeast and a seperate vial of Lacto.  I think by being cheap and buying the WLP630 that was discounted with use by date of May 2011 I have a weak Lacto culture.  It will get plenty hot where I live real soon for the Lacto to work.  My plan is to pitch the Brett and Lacto into the beer now and wait for it to do it's thing.  My only concern now is if I shoud rack it off the dead yeast in the primary or not before I pitch the Brett and Lacto.  Will it make a difference?  Will the Brett and/or Lacto eat up the autolyzed yeast and help me avoid some bad flavor components.
Sean Railing
"Drink Beer, Be Happy, Live Longer"

Fermenting: 
Rye Pale Ale
Kegged or Bottled:
Bock, Bitter, ESB, Dubbel,  Baltic Porter, Unblended Lambic, Sanctification Clone, American Barleywine

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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Lacto and/or Brett Pitching
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2012, 06:23:54 AM »
Rack it.

Letting a beer sit on the yeast is really only beneficial in a lambic fermentation - brett gets nutrients from flocc'd yeast over a long period (> 8 months or so). The Lacto acidification cycle doesn't benefit from a yeast cake, and the higher temperatures preferable to Lacto will speed autolysis.

@southhousebrew

Indianapolis, IN

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments:
http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/