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Author Replies
245trioxin
01/31/10 10:38 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Brewed up a 5 gal Belgian base (1.057) with Wyeast 3522 (Belgian Ardennes) that has been fermenting in the primary for a week at about 66-70F. I hope to pitch the bug farm today. I was thinking of making about 1lb of invert sugar to put in the secondary with the bug farm to give it some more food. Good idea? Terrible idea?
BPotts
01/31/10 11:47 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Invert sugar might not be enough food?
BPotts
01/31/10 11:48 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Or rather sufficient food.
245trioxin
01/31/10 04:34 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
I opted not to use any invert sugar right now. Gravity when racked to the secondary was 1.016, down from from 1.057 in a week at 68-70F with Wyeast 3522. Man, that stuff chews through it fast - hit the bottom of their suggested attenuation (72%) in an extract batch with 0.5lb of crystal! I only saw active fermentation for about 1.5 days, but I check gravity daily (only airlock action). Flocculated like crazy - there was almost a half inch of yeast and trub on the bottom of the bucket. I scooped out 3 handfuls before rinsing. Fruity and spicy would be descriptors of the gravity sample.

Bugs are pitched. Currently have it at 68-70F. Now my new questions:

1). Think this is plenty of food for the bugs to do something funky?

2). Should I drop the temps to the basement (60F)?

3). Whats the opinion on adding some invert sugar at this point in time (1lb)?

Al - you are a master genius and I thank you greatly for the bugs.

245trioxin
01/31/10 06:18 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
oops. But "I _didn't_ check gravity daily" in above post
B-Dub
01/31/10 09:34 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
I brewed about 40 gallons of 1.050 wort and pitched a 1.5 gallon starter that had been fermenting for about 1 month.

The plan was to pitch more yeast on the second day from the stir plates.

In the morning I looked in the barrel and there was a huge krausen!! To be honest I could not believe what I was looking at.

What a great yeast strain Al!! Lots of zeal!

Thanks again,

BW

245trioxin
02/05/10 10:45 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Starting to see some activity now (96 hours after bugs pitched, temps in high 60s F). Small whitish colonies on top of the beer, approximately 3mm in diameter. Is this the beginning of a pellicle? Doesn't seem to have positive pressure n the airlock, though the carboy hood could be loose. Exciting!
Al B
02/05/10 02:13 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
<<Is this the beginning of a pellicle?>>

Most likely. Small islands will apprear, perhaps a film, maybe crusty particles.....CO2 bubbles will appear to be trapped as they protrude upwards from the surface. Signs of "the infected" to watch for.

justn
02/08/10 10:15 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Finally got around to using this!

Brewed up a basic lambic recipe and pitched a starter made with the bugfarm. Very excited to see where it goes!

DougE
02/10/10 01:00 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Al, great bug blend. Pitched into plambic recipe back in December. Big crusty islands, huge entrapped bubbles. It seems it is among "the infected". Look for return package Monday 2/15. Thanks again.
heliophile
02/10/10 10:29 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
My update: Oud bruin started 24 Jan. Racked to secondary 02 Feb when a 2 day starter of Al's bugfarm III was pitched. Now at day 8 of secondary and just like Al B posted on 02/05/10 at 2:13 PM - first small islands appeared, then it gradually filled in. Here are some pics of the secondary pellicle - Day 0 of secondary and Day ~ 6.5 of secondary.

<http://www.flickr.com/photos/dick_strayer/sets/72157623275431851/detail/>

Al, great bug blend. Probably starting a plambic this weekend.

245trioxin
02/10/10 08:44 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
My pellicle has not achieved the greatness of heliophiles - it's more of 50-60% coverage with small dusty islands slowly joining together. CO2 bubbles are appearing and are trapped. I feel like it's the homebrew equivalent of a Melvins song.
jaymo
02/11/10 01:28 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Mine has full coverage, but it more more of a dusty look rather than something very thick. Pretty much all my pellicles have been that way in the past as well.

I'm not sure about the 2nd generation of the Bugfarm3 bugs. They are still in a bucket primary on a brown ale and need to be racked soon.

jaymo
02/14/10 11:38 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Today I brewed a new batch to pitch onto my Bugfarm III yeastcake! The Flanders red-ish beer I did right after Christmas has a nice pelllicle by now. (I haven't sampled it in awhile.)

The second beer I did was a extract based northern English Brown that I pitched onto the Flanders yeast cake.

Today I did a Jolly Pumpkin inspired RIS sort of beer. I overshot my gravity by more than a bit and ended up with a 1.105 wort that went onto the yeast cake. I may boil another 0.5-1 gallon of water or so and dilute this one a bit. It could end up awesome, but I was shooting for a 10% abv beer, not a 12+%! (Recently replacing the inner workings of my mash tun had a better effect than intended!)

Anyway, while racking the brown to a secondary carboy I took a sample (now at 1.009) and it is already pretty freakin' sour and thoroughly delicious! The acidity, even w/out carbonation has that zing to it which I'm guessing was due to the kombucha. Anyway, thanks again Al! The Bugfarm slurry turned out great and has served me well. (I hope you enjoyed the New Glarus stuff, or at least found it interesting. . .)

Al B
02/15/10 09:44 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Yeah, pitching on the bug-cake will yield a quickly soured brew I'm sure. I can assure you there's more "zing" than just the Kombucha yeast. But glad the results are doing well and thanks again for the NG stuff. The old porter is interesting....different than the St. Peter's Old-style.

jaymo
02/15/10 01:03 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Al, I'm sure there's more than just the kombucha going on, I was just surprised at how fast it soured that much! I normally don't do the yeast cake thing with sours though either.

will pitching on a cake like that end up with the sourness getting ridiculously out of hand over time, or just end up *really* sour in a short amount of time? (Assuming I repitch on it only a couple times.)

I found that Old Porter to be "interesting" also. My main beef with NG sour beers is that they almost always lack any sort of funk. Makes me wonder if they're blending in acid after the fact or something on some of them. Have you had their "Wisconsin Belgian Red" cherry beer? If not I need to send one of those out to you as well. I went with limited time stuff in the box I sent before since they weren't going to stay around that long. . .

Al B
02/15/10 01:36 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
There's no easy answer. Generally speaking: yes and yes.

It depends on several factors - age (population diversity) of the yeast cake, type of beer (dextrin,starch vs. maltose) temperature and so on. Blending is fun though.

I've had the red, actually still have one.

brewinhard
02/15/10 02:57 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Al,

Was going to make a 2 L starter for my bugfarm 3 yeast to pitch into a 1061 gravity flanders red. My question is this:

I typicall make my starters about 5 days or so in advance to give about 36 of crash cooling so I can decant the spent wort and pitch just the slurry. Will this be okay for your bugfarm crew, or will the yeast take longer than 3-4 days to get going in a 2 L starter?

Al B
02/15/10 03:43 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Good question. Bretts tend to be low floc of course, but most will drop out. Some isolates will not grow as fast as others in this blend as well. Some Calcium ions in the starter helps floculation, but I don't have ppm required yet.

Other ways of working this would be to add an extra Sacch. yeast which will not affect the profile of flemish red (well don't use a hefe yeast at least).

brewinhard
02/16/10 09:12 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Would it be better to make a 1 L starter a day or two before the brewday and just pitch the whole thing then? Because I have no problem doing that either...
Al B
02/16/10 09:25 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
What is the batch volume? 5 gal or something else?

brewinhard
02/17/10 03:51 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Will be brewing a 5.5 gallon batch of 1061 SG. Plan on leaving it in the primary fermenter (glass carboy) for at least one year without transferrring. What do you think?
Al B
02/17/10 09:13 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Typically sour flemish red should be aged well, so IMO it is not critical for a proper pitch - underpitching is OK, now at 1061 you may want to add a little extra yeast if ya got some lying around - dry, cake, etc. If underpitching, oxygenate the wort well.

Transferring sour ales is up to your discretion, I don't see the harm either way with these brews. I have transferred all reds, but lambics I usually do not.

jaymo
02/18/10 12:12 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
I mentioned the 1.105 OG wort above. It looks like most commercially available bretts have a tolerance of about 12%, while Sherry flor strains are listed around 16-18% tolerance.

Any thoughts on these cultured bugs dealing with super high OG wort? (This one is a bit more of an experiment than the others and hopefully decent blending fodder if nothing else.)

Al B
02/18/10 07:04 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
It's reasonable to assume that many strains of Bretts have alcohol tolerance of 16-18% as seen in the wine industry. I do not have any experiences with this blend on big beers, but I would expect at least some impact will be made.
brewinhard
02/18/10 08:30 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Thanks for the input Al! Plan on brewing this one in the next couple of weeks. I will definitely aerate well and make a starter (still up in the air as to what size...) :)
B-Dub
02/18/10 10:48 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Tasted the barrel the other day. I know better, but couldn't help myself!

I started with a clean barrel and 1 tube off BF III. The starter was about 2 gallons. A few neutral yeast, but didn't need them. Already the beer is starting to sour nicely!!

So 63 gallons of beer and only one tube! The second barrel got bug farm II, dregs and lacto and pedio and to date it isn't nearly as sour. Kind of funky, in a bad way right now.

Now we wait.

BW

JackfromJax
02/23/10 12:55 PM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Lambic Barrel Project Update:

Nine of us brewed this past weekend to fill a 55gal barrel with a 60%pils 40%wheat Lambic. I brewed a 5gal starter about a month ago using Al's bugs, which blew right through the airlock. We're patiently waiting for activity on the Barrel.

We've decided to make this a solara project with a total of three barrels, brew every six months, distribute and top-off on a rotating percentage 40%, 30%, 30%. First distribution will take place after the fourth brew at 18mos.

JesseK
03/06/10 10:11 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Al, I'm a friend of jaymo and am considering using a portion of his BugFarm cake. I'm just wondering if there are any specific steps I should take to ensure the health of the yeast/bugs after being on that huge 1.105 beer he was talking about.

I was thinking of taking a portion of the cake and rinsing it with some sterile water to remove the trub and dead cells and then making a starter with it. Is this enough or are there other steps I should take?

I was also considering pitching another Sacc. strain alongside incase the blend was becoming too acidic. This will be going on a flanders red-type wort of between 1.060 and 1.070.

Al B
03/06/10 11:52 AM  
Re: a new BugFarm is upon us........
Jesse

That sounds like a good approach. You may want to add yeast nurient to the starter. Also it may be a good idea to reserve a small piece of cake (without aeration during a starter) and use that in addition to the aerated starter. Just a thought. Adding a Sacch strain is a good way to go.

Good luck ,

Al

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