Author Topic: "Spontaneous" fermentation  (Read 3490 times)

Offline majorvices

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"Spontaneous" fermentation
« on: March 30, 2010, 08:21:41 AM »
Collected a couple gallons recently from a high gravity brew session to use as a yeast starter. Never got around to actually pitching the yeast so the wort sat around outside for a couple of weeks covered in foil. I decided to wait and see what happened and it started showing signs of fermentation this weekend. Its at high krausen now, and it smells actually pretty awesome! Kind of reminds me of a saison.





I'm going to let it ferment to completion and if it turns out half way decent I may use it for a saison in the next few weeks.
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Offline denny

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 08:45:18 AM »
Cool!  I've never had any luck with that, but a friend made a great sour beer with a yeast that was spontaneously generated.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 09:00:37 AM »
Should be interesting indeed. I'll be curious to hear your findings. I'm sure some "stuff" was occurring in the wort while sitting around.
Ron Price

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 09:19:04 AM »
Cool!  I've never had any luck with that, but a friend made a great sour beer with a yeast that was spontaneously generated.

My previous attempts have been awful as well. I'm starting to wonder if some residual yeast didn't carry over from a previous starter. This smells way too clean.
Keith Y.
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Offline karlh

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 09:26:13 AM »
We have a club member here in the Northern Chicago suburbs who did a similar experiment and produced 5 gallons of beer with a "spontaneous" yeast cultured from a dish of wort left in the backyard.  The results were interesting.  I asked a friend who is a professor of microbiology about this type of experiment and she advised that there are a number of pathogenic organisms that can ferment a sugary liquid besides yeast.  Her basic advice was that it might simply be yeast, but it also could be something that could make you very sick or even kill you.  If it's somewhere in between, you might serve the beer with a caveat that anyone who has a somewhat compromised immune system might not want to try your "experimental" brew.  I have decided that its pretty difficult asking people about the status of their immune system when I am serving them beer.

I tend to be more cautious with these types of experiments, and use commercial cultures for all of my sour beer experiments simply because I feel safer knowing exactly what is in my beer.  
Karl
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Offline akr71

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2010, 09:42:15 AM »
...  I asked a friend who is a professor of microbiology about this type of experiment and she advised that there are a number of pathogenic organisms that can ferment a sugary liquid besides yeast.  Her basic advice was that it might simply be yeast, but it also could be something that could make you very sick or even kill you...

What happened to 'No known human pathogens can survive in beer'?

I googled 'pathogens in beer' and get a dozen articles that say the same thing.
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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2010, 11:20:07 AM »
Yeah, I'm not worried about any harmful organism surviving the fermentation. If that was the case the human race would have died off millions of years ago. For thousands of years beer has been safer to drink than water, for a reason.
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Offline glitterbug

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2010, 12:03:14 PM »
Yeah, I'm not worried about any harmful organism surviving the fermentation. If that was the case the human race would have died off millions of years ago. For thousands of years beer has been safer to drink than water, for a reason.

Be careful. Bad homebrew was the leading cause of dinosaur extinction.
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Offline narvin

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2010, 12:06:58 PM »
Microbiologists are paranoid.  I'm not saying it can't happen, but they tend to see infection everywhere.  Much like my oncologist/radiation therapist friends see cancer everywhere...

Given the history of spontaneous fermentation, I'd be more concerned about the beer tasting like crap than killing you.
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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 12:26:57 PM »

Be careful. Bad homebrew was the leading cause of dinosaur extinction.

LOL!

BTW, that is definitely a yeast fermentation going on there. Bacteria fermentations do not look anything like a yeast fermentation. Not saying something else isn't probably swimming around in there, though.  ;)

Also, while we are on the topic, there are still breweries doing spontaneous fermentation today.
Keith Y.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2010, 01:00:11 PM »

Be careful. Bad homebrew was the leading cause of dinosaur extinction.

LOL!

BTW, that is definitely a yeast fermentation going on there. Bacteria fermentations do not look anything like a yeast fermentation. Not saying something else isn't probably swimming around in there, though.  ;)

Also, while we are on the topic, there are still breweries doing spontaneous fermentation today.

Now you are going to need a microscope to examine your bugs.  ;D
Ron Price

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2010, 01:10:03 PM »
Some of the wort stability tests I have done in the past ended up as yeast fermentation while others were bacteria fermentations. I as I see it, yeast is naturally a large source of contamination in any brewery.

Kai

Offline narvin

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2010, 01:11:02 PM »
And remember... Brett is a yeast :)
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Chris S.

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2010, 01:24:28 PM »
Some of the wort stability tests I have done in the past ended up as yeast fermentation while others were bacteria fermentations. I as I see it, yeast is naturally a large source of contamination in any brewery.

Kai

Yeah, but bacteria fermentations don't look the same as yeast fermentations.
Keith Y.
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Offline karlh

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Re: "Spontaneous" fermentation
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2010, 10:53:43 AM »
...  I asked a friend who is a professor of microbiology about this type of experiment and she advised that there are a number of pathogenic organisms that can ferment a sugary liquid besides yeast.  Her basic advice was that it might simply be yeast, but it also could be something that could make you very sick or even kill you...

What happened to 'No known human pathogens can survive in beer'?

I googled 'pathogens in beer' and get a dozen articles that say the same thing.
In my old club, we had a barrel experiment that soured unexpectedly.  Since I had access to the micro lab at the time, we plated the beer, cultured what came out of it, and found a strep bacteria as well as another spore forming bacteria.  Ultimately we came to the conclusion that one of the bacteria probably came as a result from an individual mouth siphoning.  According to the same micro professor, they were both known human pathogens, and though they were not especially harmful to a healthy individual they could potentially be harmful to someone with a distressed immune system. 
Karl
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