Author Topic: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel  (Read 2707 times)

Offline Crispy275

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Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« on: November 03, 2009, 02:47:02 PM »
A club that I am a member of has been using a standard American Burboun barrel for a couple of years to age beers in, and we now make an annual 53 gallon Flanders Red. We utilize the Wyeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend. It contains Belgian-style wheat beer yeast, sherry yeast, two Brettanomyces strains and lactic acid bacteria. David Logsdon suggested that since we will not be able to tear the barrel apart and clean it every few years that this would be a better blend to use.

It is time for the 9 brewers involved to make a new batch, age it for two months, then do the transfer.

One member has elected to use a neutral yeat (WLP001) for various reasons. He believes it should be fine because the beer will sit on the bugs and yeast for a year and pick up all the flavors.

I am concerned that the American yeast is a very attenuative and neutral yeast, and by the time the beer gets to the barrel, the sugars available to a yeast will be eaten, and the neutral character of the WLP001 will prevail. While there will be an opportunity for the Brett strains to impart their particular characteristics to the beer, the Belgian strains will be absent. It is the first two yeasts (wheat and sherry)  that will likely not provide any contribution to the barrel.
 
Now, a couple of other members of this group have chimed in and suggested that the ultimate blending of everyone's contribution is likely to dissipate any loss of character. I can't say with any certainty that I can refute this. I just have a concern that it potentially can have a dilutative effect.

What do others think? The beer was brewed mid-late October, and my offer of a slurry of the WYeast blend may be moot at this point, but I am looking for feedback as to whether I should relax and not worry, or break into said brewers basement and innoculate his batch  ;D
Chris P. Frey, aka "Crispy"
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2009, 09:09:40 PM »
IMHO I would mash the 5 gal (I hope) of clean American yeast at a high temp to leave plenty of residual sugars for the little beasties to work on. This combination (5 gal and a high mash) I feel would be fine. 10 gallons represents nearly 20% of the total beer and I feel that it would perceptively change the character of the beer.  With 10 gallons I feel you would see some "dilutative effect".

Fred
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Offline karlh

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Re: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2009, 12:00:12 PM »
I have made a decent Flanders Red using a similar procedure.  My yeast of choice is the wyeast belgian wheat, which is a well attenuating fairly clean fermenter (it has a bit more character than wlp001, but is not an especially assertive yeast).  Using a 10 gallon barrel, my usual procedure is to pitch the belgian wheat yeast and ferment 1 week (which is pretty much to completion) and then pitch the bugs/mix (wyeast roselare blend) in the barrel.  The souring of the beer is gradual, as well as the development of woody/oaky character, but the various bacteria/wild yeast in the mixture will ferment the dextrines that would not otherwise be fermented by the first yeast. 

To ensure that the bugs have something to ferment, I will point out that my grain bill contains about 20% crystal malts, so there is no shortage of dextrines in the mix.  That said the beer finishes very dry, and has a great flanders character (sour cherry, vanilla, etc.)
Karl
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Offline alemental

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Re: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 03:53:35 AM »
It's too late for this batch, but in the future it should be made clear to all involved that everybody follow group decisions, and NOT make some other beer to dump into the mix.
Having said that, with 1 out of nine parts it probably will be ok enough. On the other hand, a smaller batch sans the different one is still a possibility.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2009, 06:27:01 AM »
Crispy,

At the 2008 NHC, Greg Doss gave a talk on Brett.  One of my take aways was that the Sacch. Yeast can have an impact on the finished beer.  A combo of 3787 and a Brett innoculation was best.

You can find it here.  Best you read it, as you know I'm not a microbiologist.

http://www.ahaconference.org/presentations/2008/GregDoss_BrettBrewing.pdf
Jeff Rankert
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Offline Crispy275

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Re: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2009, 02:06:20 PM »
Thanks Jeff. After giving this some more thought, I think we will go ahead and take this members contribution and see what happens. And hopefully the next time they can follow the recipe.
Chris P. Frey, aka "Crispy"
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
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Offline tankdeer

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Re: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2009, 06:12:39 PM »
I have made several funky beers that started with a clean sacch strain. While it might not be what you are going for, it certainly shouldn't be a big deal. I agree with Fred though in that you should instruct him to mash high so the brett has some dextrins to chew on.
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Offline guvna

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Re: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2009, 03:04:21 PM »
Crispy,

At the 2008 NHC, Greg Doss gave a talk on Brett.  One of my take aways was that the Sacch. Yeast can have an impact on the finished beer.  A combo of 3787 and a Brett innoculation was best.

You can find it here.  Best you read it, as you know I'm not a microbiologist.

http://www.ahaconference.org/presentations/2008/GregDoss_BrettBrewing.pdf

In the How do we use Brett in the Brewhouse? section of this pdf, the author has a bullet on Orval, and how they add Brett to their beer before bottling without priming sugar. Has anyone ever tried this? I'd imagine that it would be best to mash really low to reduce the terminal gravity before adding the brett, but how low would we have to get it? Could we do this in the regular 12 ounce bottles? Would the brett take it all the way down to 1.000? If so, based on some calculations I've done, with the assumption that the 12 ounce bottles can only hold 4 volumes of CO2, we'd have to get the beer down to 1.0039! Orval's bottles seems much thicker (like most Belgian bottles), so I can see that they might do this and get away with it, but it doesn't seem easy for a homebrewer unless they collect a bunch of Belgian bottles.

Any thoughts? This method seems too awesome to neglect!
« Last Edit: November 12, 2009, 03:47:25 PM by guvna »

Offline tankdeer

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Re: Sour Beer and yeast - pitching before or after the barrel
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2009, 03:42:46 PM »
I don't remember where, but I read somewhere that Orval is bottled around 1.008 and ferments down to as much as (I think) 1.004 or so. In my experience and again from what I've read brett won't superattenuate without additional bacteria in the mix. Don't exactly remember the science behind it, but the only beers I've gotten down to 1.000 have had mixed bacteria cultures - not just a secondary ferment with brettanomyces.
No TV and no beer make Homer something something...