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02/28/08 12:17 PM  
Kefir Grains for Flemish-ish Red
I'm currently doing a one gallon test batch of a Flemish Red style ale using kefir. Basically, I created a 0.5 liter starter in the usual way, but added a tablespoon size (rinsed) kefir grain to it.

After about 3 days, the 'starter' had a bunch of yeasty stuff on the bottom and the beginnings of a pellicle on top. It was only bubbling at about once every 5-10 seconds, but I tossed it in anyway.

The wort was somewhat less than one gallon with 1 lb. amber malt extract and a a half pound mini-mash of various Flemish-ish grains (special b, caravienna etc.)

The bubbling only ever got up to about once every 5 seconds and slowed down considerably a couple of days later. I'll probable rack to a glass cider jug this weekend and taste it.

Or I might toss in the bottle dregs from one of my WLP001 conditioned ales just to make sure it's done fermenting 'cuz it never really picked up. What do you guys think?

02/28/08 02:13 PM  
Re: Kefir Grains for Flemish-ish Red
I'd take a sample when you rack it (taste and check gravity), and then not mess with it anymore until it has either totally cleared, or 8 months, whichever comes first.

And if it's seriously underattenuated when you rack it, maybe add 1/4 pack of rehydrated dry yeast to it.

03/04/08 04:59 PM  
Re: Kefir Grains for Flemish-ish Red
Well, I lost my patience with this brew as it never got going more than 1 bubble/10 seconds and tossed in the dregs of a wlp001 bottle conditioned brew. A couple of days later and it's fermenting properly. I think the kefir yeasts were having a hard time converting from digesting lactose to maltose sugars. In a few days I'll pull off a taste and test the gravity just to see how things are going.
03/05/08 11:25 AM  
Re: Kefir Grains for Flemish-ish Red
Not that I have any idea how kefir grains should ferment, but 1 bubble in 10 seconds is not that bad for less than a gallon of wort...
01/26/09 05:40 PM  
Re: Kefir Grains for Flemish-ish Red
I just came upon this while doing a search and realized that I never updated it.

This brew soured nicely after a few weeks, but wasn't extremely lactic as I recall. Rather than waiting for 3/4 gallon to age for several months, it came in handy for a blend.

Before bottling an 11.5% abv tripel, I decided to taste a little of these blended together. It was sublime. I added the ~3/4 gallon of kefir red to ~4.5 gallons of tripel. After 4 weeks bottle conditioning, it was very good. After a 3-4 months in bottle, it was awesome!

I'll be doing another gallon like this probably this week to have available to blend at bottling into a strong dark that is about to go into secondary.

One thing that is nice about kefir for souring is that it (supposedly) does not contain Brett. The bugs it does contain should only survive up to maybe 8% abv, theoretically. Because of this, blending into high alc beers at bottling presents less danger of exploding bottles. All the while, it lends just a little tang that goes so well with a low hop, high alc beer:) I have high hopes for this strong dark.

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