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Lacto: Pure Culture or Malt Starter?

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I'm going to start brewing some sours this spring/summer (on purpose, for a change). Just wondering what people's experiences have been with growing up a culture from a small amount of malt, as opposed to ordering from one of the yeast labs. What are the odds of getting a Lactobacillus-dominated culture on the first try? Any issues with flavor stability over time? If I do get something I like I want to be able to store it in the fridge and reuse it at least a few times.

I understand that acidifying your wort to a pH of 4.5 will prevent clostridium butryrica and other undesirables from taking hold.  If you do that I think your chances of success are very high.

I haven't done it, but I know a pro brewer locally who sours his mash for some beers.  He said it is really important to block out all of the air to keep it from getting nasty.  That's not the first time I've heard that either, it seems to be a common belief.

Jimmy K:
The main trick is that lactobacillus grows best around 110F, so keep those cultures warm during growth. I've never heard of a sour mash going wrong, so I think it is pretty safe. Wort pH is probably low enough to at least inhibit most everything else until the lactobacillus gets going, which doesn't take long.  Not sure about storage, but I imagine it would be stored like any other starter.

Crooked stave acidfies their mash to a pH of 4.5 when doing sour mashes.  I heard that on a podcast with the brewer.


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