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YogiBearMead726
02-02-2011, 02:47 AM
Yup, it's official. Since I'm a bit lazy about ordering a slew of "spoilage" organisms online (can't find any locally), I opted for culturing my own from a bottle of Cuvee de Tomme. From what I can tell from info online, CdT has all the wonderful souring bugs and Brett that make my taste buds tingle in such a good way.

So, as soon as I have an active culture of bugs, I'll be starting the sour mead experiments that I've been itching to try... >:D

wayneb
02-02-2011, 12:07 PM
One note of caution. Brett, and some of the other bugs that give a sour that lovely tangy tingle, are pretty resilient beasties. You may want to have an alternate set of equipment used just for sour fermentations; that can be easier (and more sure) than the amount of work that it takes to completely sanitize your equipment after a sour ferment.

YogiBearMead726
02-02-2011, 02:51 PM
One note of caution. Brett, and some of the other bugs that give a sour that lovely tangy tingle, are pretty resilient beasties. You may want to have an alternate set of equipment used just for sour fermentations; that can be easier (and more sure) than the amount of work that it takes to completely sanitize your equipment after a sour ferment.

Very good point. I'll find my most scratched up bucket to use. Since I don't have any barrels to do the extended aging in, I think the less-than-perfect seal of a brew pail will have a similar effect, letting some O2 in to feed the Brett. My first attempt will be a kriek-ish melomel...I'm curious to see how sour straight mead will get, and move to braggot-lambics later, since that seems like more of a sure thing. What's the point of an experiment someone has probably already done? :p

On another note, there is something alive and producing gas in the bottle. No krausen yet, but there might not be much anyway. It smells like molasses (I used mostly turbinado sugar for food plus some malty wort), and a bit funky. They live!! ;D

mccann51
02-02-2011, 02:53 PM
How are you culturing them? In a starter?

By the way, this is very cool! I'm gonna be going the less cool route and buying a Wyeast packet in a couple weeks, but hopefully culturing from that.

I'm excited to hear how yours turns out.

YogiBearMead726
02-02-2011, 02:58 PM
How are you culturing them? In a starter?

By the way, this is very cool! I'm gonna be going the less cool route and buying a Wyeast packet in a couple weeks, but hopefully culturing from that.

I'm excited to hear how yours turns out.

I just slow poured the beer off of the lees, sanitized the lip with some fire (probably not necessary, since I poured and didn't take a swig from the bottle), added some Go-Ferm and sugar, added spring water, airlocked the bottle and shook it up. This is how I've cultured bottle-conditioned beers before, mainly Saison style beers, and have had great success. I even have a blended saison mead that is a blend of about 4 such cultures being used to make traditionals. :)

mccann51
02-02-2011, 02:59 PM
Whoops, guess you already answered. So you inoculated straight into your must?

Funny that you're doing a kriek-style mead, because I had planned to do the same thing! I was gonna add some oak chips in secondary as well, and use those for subsequent inoculations.

YogiBearMead726
02-02-2011, 03:02 PM
Whoops, guess you already answered. So you inoculated straight into your must?

Funny that you're doing a kriek-style mead, because I had planned to do the same thing! I was gonna add some oak chips in secondary as well, and use those for subsequent inoculations.

I plan on making a starter for the batch after I have a good sized colony going in the bottle.

Yeah, the cherry/sour thing seems to work well. I'll also probably use the oak cube/chip idea, since it not only gives you something to inoculate with and something for the Brett to chew on. ;)

mccann51
02-02-2011, 05:28 PM
I'll also probably use the oak cube/chip idea, since it not only gives you something to inoculate with and something for the Brett to chew on. ;)

Yeah, for some reason, the fact that the Brett can utilize some of the compounds in the oak make it just seem unbearably appropriate as an ingredient.

YogiBearMead726
02-12-2011, 02:27 PM
Well, it's smelling pleasant now. I've added the dregs of a bottle of Russian River Supplication and a bottle of Drie Fonteinen's Oude Gueze, since both are unfiltered and unpastuerized. I'll keep adding to this culture in the hopes of growing a "super colony" of sour bugs. Should be just as fun to make as the bottles will be to drink. :)

Edit: Off-hand, I have a lambic from De Prof, a bottle of Temptation, a bottle of New Belgium/Allagash collaboration (V-something, means "friendship" in Belgian), and a bottle of Liefman's Oude Gueze waiting to be added. Should be a good culture. If anyone has suggestions for another good sour to add, I'm all ears. Or even just to drink... ;)

mccann51
02-12-2011, 04:09 PM
Sorry, Yogi, I'm a bit confused (but very interested).

It sounds like you're making mini-starters in the bottles the dregs came in (are these fermenting in the fridge so they don't burn through the sugar too fast?).

Then are you're adding them to a larger collective must/starter?

Are you gonna pitch this mass, micro-organism orgy into a must or wort (or a wust!)?

Also, is the saison mead you mentioned in post 5 a Sacch only brew? (I'm unclear as to whether saisons occasionally have Brett and bacteria)

Very cool stuff, man!

YogiBearMead726
02-12-2011, 05:43 PM
Sorry, Yogi, I'm a bit confused (but very interested).

It sounds like you're making mini-starters in the bottles the dregs came in (are these fermenting in the fridge so they don't burn through the sugar too fast?).

Then are you're adding them to a larger collective must/starter?

Are you gonna pitch this mass, micro-organism orgy into a must or wort (or a wust!)?

Also, is the saison mead you mentioned in post 5 a Sacch only brew? (I'm unclear as to whether saisons occasionally have Brett and bacteria)

Very cool stuff, man!

Haha, I don't blame you. :)

Basically, I've made a "wort" with spring water, brown sugar, un-boiled DME, some Fermaid K, and oak cubes. I added this to the layer of yeast/bugs after drinking the Cuvee de Tomme. I have since added the same last bits as the Cuvee from Supplication and the Oude Gueze. Each of the "dregs" have contributed about 10-30mL of liquid, most of it bring the "yeast cake" swirled into suspension. So after pouring off the beer, I've been adding the layer of lees left behind. I should say this mother culture is at 75F. Te bugs do better at higher temps, and they won't blow through the sugar very quickly. These bugs ferment at a slower rate than our typical yeast.

I plan to move this culture to a half gallon glass jug sometime soon. From there, I'll pull a small volume out every time I want to make a sour beer/mead, and make a new starter with that small volume. I'll probably also feed the "mother culture" every now and then to keep everything happy. At this point, the oak is for the bugs to eat, not so much for inoculation.

As to the saison meads, for all I know, there could be some Brett in them. I figured that they had wild/Belgian yeast in them, so the assumption was they just had Sacch. If they form a pellicle though, I'll be sure to let you know. ;)

YogiBearMead726
02-12-2011, 09:36 PM
I picked up Russian River's Sanctification today. It's fermented with 100% Brett, but I'm sure there are more than one strain at work in this brew. I'll probably add the dregs in a few days. ;D

akueck
02-13-2011, 03:16 AM
If you can find a bottle of Beatification, buy it. It's the spontaneously fermented beer they release occasionally. It is tasty and you'll get genuine wild California bugs.

YogiBearMead726
02-13-2011, 11:42 AM
If you can find a bottle of Beatification, buy it. It's the spontaneously fermented beer they release occasionally. It is tasty and you'll get genuine wild California bugs.

Awesome tip. I'll keep my eyes peeled for some. :)

elowe
02-13-2011, 02:15 PM
Your strategy sounds good so far. A couple of things I'll recommend...

If you want it to get really sour, try to keep the ABV around 9% or less at the start. Pediococcus will grow in higher alcohol but it's much slower, and the pedio won't grow until the pH drops low enough and the brettanomyces becomes dormant (about 6-8 weeks in or longer). We had success with a club brew souring a high gravity quad (Cuvee de Tomme clone) by holding back some of the fermentables for 4 months, after the pediococcus had time to do their work. Also, if you are pushing the 9% or more range, you may want to consider building a low gravity starter around 2*P with corn sugar and yeast hulls, and incubating it around 80*F for a couple of weeks. The low gravity starter allows the bacteria to dominate, and will give you a really high pitching rate of bacteria which helps it to pucker up quickly in an environment which is very harsh on them. Once the bacteria has had 3-4 months to sour, you can add the rest of the fermentables if you want higher alcohol.

If you go the pail route I would recommend moving to glass or stainless after 2-3 months. The oxygen permeability of HDPE is about 20x that of a carboy with a bung and airlock, and 10x of an oak barrel; extended aging in plastic will allow acetobacter (present in the geueze dregs) to take hold and turn your precious mead into vinegar. :eek:

If you can get your hands on a used wine barrel, and can keep it topped up, that is your best bet for long-term aging, as the barrel provides an ideal environment for the bugs, and once inoculated you will never need to build a sour starter again.

Good luck! I'm very interested in your results!

darthbooger
02-13-2011, 02:18 PM
Okay so what I have gathered from this is your making your own yeast culture am I correct? And if so, how exactly would I go about doing this? This is almost a new hobby in itself. Could I take the dead yeasties from the bottom of my primary and put it in its own jug and just give it some sugar and water to play with and pour it in some new batch as the new yeast or what? Im so confused and eager to get my own strain going...

mccann51
02-13-2011, 03:04 PM
Darthbooger, in short, yes. Check out this thread http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16916 (please, anybody, how do I format hyperlinks?).

Oh, wait, it looks like you've posted in it; perhaps you haven't seen the posts after your's? Well, good info in there. The yeast watching video that Gray links is very helpful.



On topic of Brett and bacteria: I just found a list of wild brews with live cultures and I'd like to try inoculating my sour stout (with Wyeast 3278) I brewed last Tuesday with some dregs. Could I just pitch in the dregs or are they gonna get outcompeted by the established beasties? My impression is the bacteria and Brett kinda remain dormant anyway, so it doesn't seem like this would be an issue. I don't have any room in the carboy for much of a starter (perhaps I could fit 12oz of fluid if it's highly recommended).

YogiBearMead726
02-13-2011, 08:01 PM
Thanks for the tips/advice, elowe! Much appreciated. I will probably end up getting a small (<5 gallons) oak barrel sometime soon to inoculate. I know the ratio of volume to surface area isn't ideal, but it's all I can afford for now. Plus, after multiple batches, the oak should have subsided significantly.

Darthbooger, basically, yes you can re-use yeast. Just be aware of mutations after multiple uses. I have a cider yeast that I have been using for 6 batches, but mutations aren't always for the best.

Mccann51, you could totally just pitch the dregs in. At least, that's what I think. :)

mccann51
02-14-2011, 01:25 AM
Sounds like a plan; the dregs get pitched manana! (I just got a bottle of Ithaca Brewing Co White Gold to drink and pitch, as well)

I'm also gonna brew up 2.5gals of wildflower with Brett lambicus tomorrow; 1gal will get oak, 1gal will get oak and cherry, .5gal will be unadulterated. Hopefully it doesn't suck!

I'm very excited to compare results.

EDIT: Darthbooger, if it sounded like I was being sarcastic in my last post ("Oh, wait..."), I did not intend to be. Cheers.

darthbooger
02-14-2011, 07:23 AM
Your good amigo, none taken =]

YogiBearMead726
02-14-2011, 10:57 AM
(please, anybody, how do I format hyperlinks?).


I totally forgot about this! There is a little button on the top of the "reply box" that looks like the Earth with a paperclip near the bottom. If you click that, it prompts you for the URL, and then will create a hyperlink with the part people will see already highlighted to change to whatever you want the link to say (ie, bold "this link", or what have you).

Hope that helps. :)

mccann51
02-14-2011, 11:11 AM
This (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=17420) is such an awesome thread!

EDIT: cool, thanks, man!

EDIT 2: because I feel like I should be adding something constructive, here is a really useful link for finding bottles with active cultures to pitch (http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2010/06/harvesting-sour-beer-bottle-dregs.html), for anybody who's interested.

elowe
02-14-2011, 11:25 AM
Could I just pitch in the dregs or are they gonna get outcompeted by the established beasties? My impression is the bacteria and Brett kinda remain dormant anyway, so it doesn't seem like this would be an issue. I don't have any room in the carboy for much of a starter (perhaps I could fit 12oz of fluid if it's highly recommended).

It depends on the OG/SG. If you already have a pretty high %ABV, it's unlikely the bottle dregs will do very much on their own. If 12oz is all you have to work with, you could make a starter with 12oz and the bottle dregs, wait 4-5 days and then feed a bit from the carboy every few days until it is accustomed to the higher alcohol. The whole mess can then be returned to the carboy with hopefully a much higher population of bugs than you would get just from the dregs.

YogiBearMead726
02-14-2011, 12:38 PM
It depends on the OG/SG. If you already have a pretty high %ABV, it's unlikely the bottle dregs will do very much on their own. If 12oz is all you have to work with, you could make a starter with 12oz and the bottle dregs, wait 4-5 days and then feed a bit from the carboy every few days until it is accustomed to the higher alcohol. The whole mess can then be returned to the carboy with hopefully a much higher population of bugs than you would get just from the dregs.

Good point. That is why I've opted for making a "starter".

On a side note, I just discovered that Liefmans and Lindemans are both pasteurized before being sold. :( I still plan to pitch the dregs of the bottles I have from them, since I've heard Brett can be pretty resilient, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

The De Proef Zoetzuur was delicious, and had a good sized cake on the bottom of the bottle. I even had some Brett (little white flakes...I think it was Brett ;)) floating in my glass.

Sanctification was also added yesterday. I have to say, I've never seen such a weird beer in the glass! The carbonation bubbles were much larger than normal, and behaved differently than I have ever seen. Basically, as the bubbles rose, they formed a film of bubbles on the surface. Not like normal "head", did not dissipate or break apart after swirling. After the film formed, I could sit and watch new bubbles rise up and get caught underneath it. It was very cool to look at. :)

The mother culture is now visibly fermenting/bubbling on the surface. I plan to move this into the New Belgium/Allagash Vrienden 22oz soon, for two reasons. First, I've read all of the Lips of Faith series from NB have been pasteurized, so if there is anything left, I don't want to risk loosing it to the sides of the bottle when adding it's dregs. And second, I am running out of room for more additions into the Cuvee de Tomme bottle. ;)

elowe
02-15-2011, 12:14 PM
On a side note, I just discovered that Liefmans and Lindemans are both pasteurized before being sold. :( I still plan to pitch the dregs of the bottles I have from them, since I've heard Brett can be pretty resilient, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

Yep. Rodenbach too. :(


The mother culture is now visibly fermenting/bubbling on the surface. I plan to move this into the New Belgium/Allagash Vrienden 22oz soon, for two reasons. First, I've read all of the Lips of Faith series from NB have been pasteurized, so if there is anything left, I don't want to risk loosing it to the sides of the bottle when adding it's dregs. And second, I am running out of room for more additions into the Cuvee de Tomme bottle. ;)

I don't know if you will get any usable yeast out of the Vrienden, I have only had it on draft. If not, the Allagash beers (if you can get them) are definitely bottle conditioned, so you can get their brett strain from one of those.

The Lips of Faith 22oz beers aren't pasteurized, they are sterile filtered. I heard through the rumor mill that NB will be re-introducing the 750mL bottle conditioned La Folie... I can't wait!

YogiBearMead726
02-19-2011, 05:00 PM
Well, the stars seems to be aligning in terms of getting my first lambic going. I discovered while going to rack my Marris Otter/Fuggle SMaSH that there was a nice little pellicle forming on the top of it. :o Well, I tasted the hydrometer sample and it was a very smooth acidity (assuming it was lactic acid), so I plan to let this properly sour and form a pellicle in secondary.

So, to try and save the plastic bucket this was is, I soaked it full of water and 10 tablets. If this doesn't save the bucket, I now have a dedicated sour bucket.

All in all, I'm pretty excited to try a turbid mash, and more improtantly, to make a sour mead. :)

mccann51
03-10-2011, 06:23 PM
So, how about storing bugs for future use? Other than just moving the used oak cubes from batch to batch, is there a way to store them for longer term use, perhaps in the fridge? Would I want to put them in a starter-like setup, with a bit of sugar, or should I just toss em in the fridge in a ziplock?

Medsen Fey
03-10-2011, 07:49 PM
You can just let the oak cubes dry and the organisms will go dormant only to reawaken when you drop the cubes into your starter when you get ready to use them again. I'm sure that keeping them in a fridge will also work.

mccann51
03-10-2011, 08:07 PM
You can just let the oak cubes dry and the organisms will go dormant only to reawaken when you drop the cubes into your starter when you get ready to use them again. I'm sure that keeping them in a fridge will also work.

Well that's easy! Thanks, Medsen.

TheAlchemist
03-16-2011, 08:20 PM
... I've read all of the Lips of Faith series from NB have been pasteurized...

Major Bummer.

Any idea what your source and accuracy is on this, Yogi?

I'm trying to establish a starter yeast from a "good ale" in hopes of making a batch of Moses Cook 1717. Paid an afternoon visit to the Marion Street Cheese Market ale sommelier. We had a lengthy chat about ales that may have active yeast. He recommended a Belgian style...described a bunch of them...I'm considering a dark ale as I will probably use a dark wildflower honey from myhoneyco.com ...listening to all his descriptions I settled on the prune/clove Dunkel Weiss from Lips of Faith! It seemed like the best fit for what I want to do...

So the possibility that it's been pasteurized is a disappointment...

mccann51
03-16-2011, 10:05 PM
The whole Lips of Faith series is pasteurized, with the exception of the corked La Folie.

akueck
03-17-2011, 12:11 AM
The whole Lips of Faith series is pasteurized, with the exception of the corked La Folie.

I'll expand on that by saying La Folie is a soured beer. If you don't want yours to be sour too, stay away from the lees in La Folie. (On the other hand I highly recommend trying it, very tasty.)

TheAlchemist
03-17-2011, 06:14 PM
Nothing's cookin' in the Lips of Faith starter. As expected.
Will try Ommegang Abby Ale next.
That should be a Spiritual Experience!