Author Topic: Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??  (Read 531 times)

Offline dmtaylor

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Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« on: October 12, 2010, 07:23:10 PM »
I've got an odd question.  Has anyone ever purposely tried to funkify a beer by adding a few raw grains, or otherwise introduce Lacto or wild critters, to each bottle?  Here's the deal:

I've made a saison which is done fermenting but still in primary.  It tastes very nice -- dry, firm bitterness, a little spicy, and a pleasant peach/apricot sort of fruitiness.  But in reading the BJCP style guidelines, they talk about a certain "tartness" that should be there, which I am just not getting.  The beer is good, but perhaps too clean.  It seems to be wanting a certain funk.  But while I know I could purposely induce sourness by throwing in a handful of raw grain, or by inocculating with some live Lactobacillus from yogurt, etc., I also don't really want to dedicate another fermenter and associated gaskets and hoses to Lacto or other wild beasts as I just bought new equipment.

So I had this crazy crazy thought -- what if... I were to place, say, 3 little grains of raw malt into each bottle (I will be bottling)?  The theory is that with aging, a few wild critters present in the grains might multiply, probably only slightly, but give off a litte funk in the final beer.  Is this just asking for trouble?  Will the bottles gush or explode?  Most importantly -- has anyone else ever tried anything so stupid that it actually just might work?  If nothing else, I might try it just on 4 or 5 bottles just to see what happens.

Thoughts?  Is this just a little TOO crazy??  Yeah, I know.... I'm the guy who's not afraid taking a few risks, and who thinks outside of the box, maybe too much for my own good.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline roffenburger

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Re: Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 07:43:33 PM »
Never tried it. This is what homebrewing is all about though. I say go for it. You'll never know until you try. The thing I would worry about is what you mentioned-continued fermentation, bottle bombs, gushers, etc.

Have you thought about adding back some lactic acid or some other acid to bring the tartness?

You could also try dry socking or dry drawering with some of your laundry. That would certainly bring some funk
Travis R.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 07:56:27 PM »
Actually, I think you may have a point -- I think some of the world's best cheeses were developed based on bacteria from sweaty feet and armpits.  Not a joke -- I think this could be true.
Dave

"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our Maker, and glory to His bounty, by learning about... BEER!" - Friar Tuck (Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves)

Offline tubercle

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Re: Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 08:06:18 PM »
Tubercle likes your attitude and style 8)

 Take 3 bottles at bottling time, add 1, 2 & 3 grains in each respectively. Wrap in news paper and put in a box to keep down shrapnel in case of a "critter frag".

 Bottle the rest normally.

 After a time (who knows when?) taste the 1, 2 & 3 grain ones to see what  happened.

 If one is good to your liking, chill, uncap, charge, and recap the rest.
Sweet Caroline where the Sun rises over the deep blue sea and sets somewhere beyond Tennessee

jaybeerman

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Re: Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 08:13:29 PM »
The alc in your beer will likely kill any chance of slight funk from a few grains.  If you can find natural cork corks (or even the kind with a slice of real cork on the bottom of a synthetic cork) it can lend a touch of earthiness (dirtiness) which might be what you're looking for. Crazy thought; do a french press mash of acid malt and taste the results see if that's something you want to add to the beer.  Cheers, j

Offline wingnut

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Re: Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 09:53:56 AM »
I have accidently performed a similar experiment to what you are proposing...
 
It seems that at one time, the spigot from my bottling bucket was used on my mash tun. The plastic spigot had a sleeve fitting that had some mash gunk in it, and every time I bottled for a few batches, I would find my beers going sour a few months later. (Star San is only works on what it can touch...)
 
Based on that experience, I would say a single grain is plenty to inoculate your bottles... and keep in mind that acetobactor works best with oxygen.
 
What I observed was about 6 weeks after bottling, the beer had noticeable flavor differences.  After 12 weeks, they had a tenancy to foam a lot more.  By 14 to 18 weeks, I had gushers in many of the bottles.  I never had one explode, though.
 
That was all from just a few cells, not an entire kernel!  So I would expect your change to happen faster given the larger initial population.  Also, if the first experiments are only a partial success, experiment with different amounts of head space and purging head space with CO2.  The less head space, the harder it will be for the beer to be carbonated by the "extras".  Also, the less oxygen will effect acetobactor growth.
 
Good Luck
-- Wingnut - Cheers!