Author Topic: First sour - fermentation plan  (Read 1284 times)

Offline JT

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First sour - fermentation plan
« on: April 19, 2015, 08:50:48 PM »
I've just brewed 5.5 gallons of a 1.034 Berliner Weisse.  It's in the primary (did not aerate) at 80° with Wyeast 5335 Lactobacillus (no starter).  Tentative plan is to give it 3 days at this temp, then chill to mid 60's and pitch an ale yeast until fermentation is done.  I may do a small 1/2 liter starter and pitch at high krausen.
Good so far?  Temp ok?  Yeast recommendations?

Next step is to rack to a 5 gallon secondary on top of 5 lbs sour cherries, and pitch 1 vial of WLP 650 Brettanomyces bruxellensis and ferment until tasty at basement ambient mid 60's.  Will fermentation be violent and require a larger carboy? 

Anything else I'm overlooking?

Offline brewday

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2015, 09:02:12 PM »
With that lacto strain I've been holding at 90° for a week with good results.  As for yeast, I use WY1007.

If you haven't already, check out the Berliner presentation by Jess Caudil from 2012 NHC:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/resources/conference-seminars/
Jon Weaver

Offline troybinso

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2015, 09:37:29 PM »
If you have a pH meter, that is a good way to measure the level of fermentation from the lacto. Tasting also works. I have had good experience with a couple of different yeasts to add after the lacto, including brett, and you really don't need to use both the sachharomyces and the brett.

You could chill the lacto down when you get close to your desired level of sourness, rack it to another carboy with the fruit and yeast and let it go for a few weeks. I have had great success with quick, sour fruit beers doing this.

By the way, you can save the lacto and reuse it just like yeast, but you would want to make sure your bugs weren't contaminated by some of that nasty saccharomyces. ;)


Offline JT

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2015, 09:43:25 PM »
With that lacto strain I've been holding at 90° for a week with good results.  As for yeast, I use WY1007.

If you haven't already, check out the Berliner presentation by Jess Caudil from 2012 NHC:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/resources/conference-seminars/
Nice presentation, thanks!  Looks like I underpitched the lacto a bit... live and learn!

Offline brewday

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2015, 09:53:12 PM »
With that lacto strain I've been holding at 90° for a week with good results.  As for yeast, I use WY1007.

If you haven't already, check out the Berliner presentation by Jess Caudil from 2012 NHC:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/resources/conference-seminars/
Nice presentation, thanks!  Looks like I underpitched the lacto a bit... live and learn!

Live and learn indeed - my first couple of attempts looked a lot like Mr. Caudil's early failures!  That presentation really lays out a solid process, at least for 5335.  Not making the starter might be all the more reason to let it go more than 3 days, but with the fruit I think you'll be fine either way.
Jon Weaver

Offline JT

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2015, 10:37:58 PM »
If you have a pH meter, that is a good way to measure the level of fermentation from the lacto. Tasting also works. I have had good experience with a couple of different yeasts to add after the lacto, including brett, and you really don't need to use both the sachharomyces and the brett.

You could chill the lacto down when you get close to your desired level of sourness, rack it to another carboy with the fruit and yeast and let it go for a few weeks. I have had great success with quick, sour fruit beers doing this.

By the way, you can save the lacto and reuse it just like yeast, but you would want to make sure your bugs weren't contaminated by some of that nasty saccharomyces. ;)
Thanks Troy, I do have a pH meter and will be keeping an eye on it. 

Offline brewinhard

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2015, 02:38:15 PM »
Yes.  I would definitely let it ride for at least 7 days prior to cooling and pitching your ale yeast.  Depending on how fresh your sacch. is you might want to consider making a small starter and pitching at high krausen for quick fermentation results. 

I have found that most of my Berliner's need to age an additional 4-6 mos for the lactic acidity to really kick in and become representative of a classic Berliner flavor and aroma.  I typically age in a keg at below room temps (i.e. low 60's). 

Offline JT

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2015, 03:03:19 AM »
I took my first pH reading around 30 hours in... getting 5.0 so I'm a bit nervous.  I want that number below 4.6 as quick as possible. 
I have absolutely no activity in the carboy.  There are different types of Lactobacillus and I'm not sure which one this is or what to expect during fermentation.  I may end up emailing Jess to get more specifics about this strain.

Offline troybinso

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2015, 03:44:58 AM »
That is a pretty high pH, as you noticed. I think your temperature is really low for lacto. I shoot for at least 100F, but it can be difficult to keep it at that temp. I usually try to pitch at like 110 or so, and put a bunch of heating pads and sleeping bags around the carboy to hold the temp as warm as possible. I don't worry about letting it go for a week or more, but I also start off with a much higher original gravity.

If you can warm it up, I think it should help. Also, if you haven't seen any signs of fermentation I wouldn't worry too much, because that means there was no weird yeast or other bacteria going to work.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2015, 06:24:12 AM »
Side note. I found The Sour Hour podcasts finally on podbay.fm

Offline JT

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2015, 11:09:47 AM »
Side note. I found The Sour Hour podcasts finally on podbay.fm
I drive a lot for work, so this info is much appreciated.  I just downloaded 10 podcasts, thanks Jim!

Offline brewinhard

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2015, 01:28:11 PM »
I took my first pH reading around 30 hours in... getting 5.0 so I'm a bit nervous.  I want that number below 4.6 as quick as possible. 
I have absolutely no activity in the carboy.  There are different types of Lactobacillus and I'm not sure which one this is or what to expect during fermentation.  I may end up emailing Jess to get more specifics about this strain.

As far as I understand it, WY 5335 is their L. delbrucki strain which is homofermentive.  This strain will produce lactic acid but does NOT produce any alcohol unlike their recently released (last summer private collection) L. brevis strain which produces lactic acid AND alcohol. 

With that being said, I have produced excellent BW's with WY 5335 combined with brett as a finishing strain and about 6-10 mos of aging for proper acidity production.  YMMV. 

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2015, 09:21:22 PM »
5335 is my go to lactic. There's something going on that I believe will be unfolded in this current sour boom. My straight forward NW Sour is a 50/50 grist bill of pale 2 row and american munich at about 1.050 and less than 10 IBUs of Willamette. I do a one week non oxygenated 1L starter with the lactic and pitch the whole thing into 90º wort. It stays at 90 for a week, then I chill it to 68 and pitch bret lambicus. Its done and ready to bottle in about 2 months total, counting a couple weeks between final gravity readings.

I've noticed that my gravity drops from 1.050 to about 1.040 in that first week. My starter is a liter of 1.030 added to 20 liters of 1.050 = 21 liters of 1.049. Makes you wonder where the other 9 points went. Since lactic acid has a specific gravity higher than water, its a mystery to me. Im not convinced that it doesn't make alcohol. I suppose its possible that the lab misslabeled the sample. Maybe lacto d consumes 15 points of sugar and in doing so it adds 6 points of acid. Or some such numbers...

Maybe when I make this year's batches I will send one to the lab for ABV to compare with my calculated numbers. It finishes at about 1.003, so it should be about 6%. If it comes back from the GCMS at 5% there will be some head scratching to do.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 09:25:16 PM by klickitat jim »

Offline 69franx

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2015, 12:52:24 AM »
5335 is my go to lactic. There's something going on that I believe will be unfolded in this current sour boom. My straight forward NW Sour is a 50/50 grist bill of pale 2 row and american munich at about 1.050 and less than 10 IBUs of Willamette. I do a one week non oxygenated 1L starter with the lactic and pitch the whole thing into 90º wort. It stays at 90 for a week, then I chill it to 68 and pitch bret lambicus. Its done and ready to bottle in about 2 months total, counting a couple weeks between final gravity readings.

I've noticed that my gravity drops from 1.050 to about 1.040 in that first week. My starter is a liter of 1.030 added to 20 liters of 1.050 = 21 liters of 1.049. Makes you wonder where the other 9 points went. Since lactic acid has a specific gravity higher than water, its a mystery to me. Im not convinced that it doesn't make alcohol. I suppose its possible that the lab misslabeled the sample. Maybe lacto d consumes 15 points of sugar and in doing so it adds 6 points of acid. Or some such numbers...

Maybe when I make this year's batches I will send one to the lab for ABV to compare with my calculated numbers. It finishes at about 1.003, so it should be about 6%. If it comes back from the GCMS at 5% there will be some head scratching to do.
JT, sorry to high jack... Jim, what comparisons do you have for your sours? Are they like anything commercial I can find and try out? I have not done any sours yet, but may be looking into them next year, and your recipe and approach sound fairly easy to follow for a first attempt. I remember your original thread had it as a hopeful experiment I think, and it sounds like you were pleased. Just some thoughts on my possible brewing future
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg:
In Bottles:  
In the works: Hopefully brewing 10 gallons of Pilsner tomorrow for a family reunion in July, then back to IPA and  a barleywine to age

Offline JT

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Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2015, 01:21:45 AM »
Well I took another reading and got 5.0 again.  I was using test strips for these readings so broke out the meter:  5.3.  I had 5.39 going into the fermenter.  Not good.  At this point I'm going to go ahead and pitch my 1007 yeast.  I'm just not comfortable with the beer sitting in botulism range.