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Author Topic: Bottle Dregs  (Read 3458 times)

Offline sakarisstora

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Bottle Dregs
« on: December 06, 2015, 09:40:28 am »
I have ordered the ingredients for two sour's
The yeast i picked was the wyeast roselare blend. I have used the wyeast lambic strain for previous batches ( oh by the way, any tips for exterminating lacto bacteria from my equipment are wellcome)
But for the one sour recipe's I want to try to use bottle dregs as well. I have been fortunate to get hold of a good selection of european beers, Orval, Boon, Mikeller, Lindemann, Girardin and Fantome. And I want to use the dregs from the Girardin and Boon for this recipe. But I've never understood the use of bottle dregs.
Do you guys just pour the fresh dregs in the fermentor, or do you grow them with sanitized water and DME ?
I know that growing them with water and DME would change the ratio of bacteria and yeast strains. But I guess it changes anyways when the dregs enter the semi-fermented wort. Using fresh bottle dregs means drinking lambic by the gallons on the day of using the fresh bottle dregs. I have nothing against drinking gallons of lambic. Bu it sounds a bit heavy. So what I do is whenever I have a sitting, I leave some beer in the bottle and recap it with a sanitized cap or foil before I put it in the fridge. The next evening I boil some DME with water ( reaching 1.030) and a tiny bit of yeast nutrient, and pour it in the bottle when it has reached room temperatur. I keep it at room temperature and shake it every now and then. After a few days, the yeast and bacteria starts fermenting, and I add some more wort to the bottle. I have used this process to make a yeast starter from a Mikkeller I'ts Alive and an Orval. The yeast became viable enough to ferment a 2gal. Batch.
So, to make things short : when the recipe calls for bottle dregs, shoul I pour in the fresh bottle dregs, or should I grow them with DME and water ?
And what are your methods and opinions on bottle-dregs ?  :)
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Offline toby

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Re: Bottle Dregs
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2015, 10:05:06 am »
I don't usually keep bottle dregs, but the guys that I know that do basically start off with a jar or jug with starter wort and keep adding dregs to it.  Usually, they'll cover it with foil or a loosely placed mason jar cap and don't worry about an airlock.  Most bugs that survive in bottle dregs are pretty hardy and don't require pampering.  You might have to be a little more careful if you're trying to harvest yeast though, but one thing to keep in mind is that in many cases, the yeast that they add at bottling for bottle conditioning isn't necessarily the same strain they use for fermentation.

Offline stpug

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Re: Bottle Dregs
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2015, 10:13:57 am »
Dregs: Pour directly into your wort along with your primary fermenting microbes (sacc/brett/bacteria). Let them serve a supporting role. That's how I do it anyway.

Exterminating bacteria: Heat is my main killer. Boil your stuff. Even better, boil your stuff in a cleaning solution. Bleach soaking is an excellent followup.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Bottle Dregs
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2015, 03:12:08 pm »
As long as your sanitization is very good, then your method is a great way to go about it. I usually add about 15-30 mL of 1.040 wort to an equal amount of dregs + beer left in the bottle, to make a 1.020 1st step that also has some of the acidity and alcohol of the original beer to minimize risk of contamination. Step 2 is about 4 ounces of 1.040 wort added to the bottle about 5 days later. From that point it goes into a 1-liter starter.

The only other thing I'd be concerned with in sour cultures is to limit oxygen exposure. I use a small stopper and airlock in the bottle. This will limit the growth of acetobacter.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Bottle Dregs
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2015, 09:12:59 am »
Basically two approaches for you:

1. Use the dregs in combination with a lab blend (or brewing yeast). In this case you're using the dregs to improve the organism diversity in the beer but you're letting the lab blend do most of the work, especially with early fermentation. In this case you can just unload the dregs when you pitch the blend.

2. Fermenting exclusively with dregs. Here you are just relying on dregs to do all the work. Most people will build up a small starter to try to get enough cells to get a healthy fermentation and then pitch like you would any starter. Most dregs are not healthy enough that a few ounces of beer will ferment out a five gallon batch. There are some exceptions--like Jolly Pumpkin dregs--but most dregs need a little help or the dregs from a lot of bottles.

Of course your other option is to create a persistent culture by putting together a starter in a jug and pitching the dregs and let them do their thing and then pull from your house culture as needed, occasionally decanting some of the beer and adding fresh wort.

Lactobacillus is easy to kill. It naturally exists everywhere and you are almost assuredly killing it off each time you sanitize your equipment for brewing. Normal cleaning and sanitizing procedures are fine. You'll also have brett and pedio (and some other stuff in some dregs) to also worry about. Generally your same cleaning and sanitizing procedures will work for these but they can be somewhat more resistant to sanitizers (especially starsan). Many people maintain separate equipment for sour beer for this reason.
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Offline denny

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Re: Bottle Dregs
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2015, 10:02:46 am »
There's a new episode of the Experimental Brewing podcast coming out Wed. that has an interview with Jay Goodwin of the Rare Barrel.  He advocates pretty much always using bottle cultures for sour beer.  Very interesting interview overall.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Bottle Dregs
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2015, 05:17:06 pm »
Pitch the bottle dregs of a few commercial sours into your fermenter at any time during secondary fermentation.  Be sure to leave a little bit of the commercial beer in the bottom of the bottle so you are able to swirl up all the dregs to pitch.  Wipe the lip of the bottle and under the cap with rubbing alcohol and then flame it prior to first pouring the beer and then again before pitching into your fermenter.  This will help to minimize introduction of any wild yeast you may not want in there. 

Don't bother building up the dregs with DME if you are simply adding them to an already fermented out batch of sour beer.  You are just looking to increase the depth and complexity of the acidity, funk, and sourness vs. fermenting out a whole batch. 

Offline Footballandhops

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Re: Bottle Dregs
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2015, 08:20:44 pm »

There's a new episode of the Experimental Brewing podcast coming out Wed. that has an interview with Jay Goodwin of the Rare Barrel.  He advocates pretty much always using bottle cultures for sour beer.  Very interesting interview overall.

You mean Jay Goodwin from The Sour Hour??? What new info will your podcast build on that his has not?????
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