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03/04/11 04:30 PM  
Long term aging with 3278
Hey folks. First time posting here. To be honest I have been a bit intimidated to post here for some time. Very "wild" stuff going on here. ;) Anyhow, here goes.

I am just really starting in the realm of wild/sour fermentation (only about a year of intentional such brews). So far so good though. Two weeks ago I brewed up a golden ale and pitched wyeast 3278 directly with no starter. I also added the dregs from some "orval'ed" saison from last year and some Ara Bier. Things are going well so far. It has dropped so far from 1.050 down to 1.007.

I am looking for some thoughts on how I should go about aging it. Generally I leave conventional beers alone for 3-4 weeks before kegging or bottling depending on the beer. If it is to be aged like a big beer I then leave in the keg. At the end of last summer I brewed a beer in the vain of a Flanders red leaning more toward JP la Roja (love that beer!). I racked that one to a secondary after a month as I have read that is sort of the general practice for that type of beer.

This one takes it's cues from lambic however it was not really intended to be a lambic. I have read that it is often the practice to leave beers with this blend in the same fermentor for the entire aging process. Is this what you folks would recommend?

Here are some details about the brew. The grist was 71.4% Pilsner, 19% malted wheat and 9.5% flaked wheat. I conducted a fairly simple 2 step mash with rests @ 122 and 154. For hopping I used about 2.75 oz. of what I thought were an aged low aa hops. They were home grown hops from an unknown "feral" plant that have been sitting in the freezer since harvest in 2008. I have brewed with them before. I believed them to be low AA and they always displayed fruity (coconut?!?) characteristics. Well, once ferment finally kicked in there was a wicked potent hop aroma in the air, even skunky at times. No it was not light struck, it is in a dark fermentation chamber in the basement @ a steady 70F. Pretty sure I will have inhibited the lacto and pedio in the mix with the hopping. Ferment was slow to kick in. After maybe 48 hours there was still no sign of life. I added some yeast nutrient and put the aeration stone/aquarium pump to work for about 20 minutes. Hour or so later it had kicked in and kept going strong for about a week. Checked it today and found it to be @ 1.007. Smells lightly phenolic and leathery. Taste is firmly bitter. Very slightly sweet malt in the middle but finishes bitter. Slight peppery phenols and very reminiscent of grapefruit pith. I am fairly certain the grapefruit is not from the hops themselves as that is not their profile from previous brews including one single hop brew.

All in all it is tasting good so far. Again, I fear I may have over hopped it unintentionally, so, some of the bugs may not have much opportunity. So what do you folks think for aging? Leave it or rack it after a few more weeks? I guess if I had my druthers I would rack it to free up the 6 gallon carboy as I have more 5 gallons than 6. However if it will ultimately improve the beer I will leave it. Or maybe I can rack it and then dump the slurry on top?

tom sawyer
03/04/11 04:59 PM  
Re: Long term aging with 3278
Welcome, dont' ever be reticent about posting. Its fun to read what people are doing, and I've found this group to be very helpful. Wild beer people need to stick together! We're a rare breed.

I've used 3278 a few times now for kriekenbier. It can be slow to start, 48hrs isn't uncommon. I generally ferment in primary first, then after a couple of weeks I transfer to a carboy for bulk aging. The bugs will come along no need to include the yeast cake. You'll get a pellical growing either way.

I don't think you'll inhibit the bacteria with your hops, at least not for long. My first batch was done with fresh hops, and it went through a "sick" period from about 4months to nearly a year. At that point it was a nice tart kriek. Got more sour over the next year, now it is mellowing slightly and is more spicy.

Your grist looks fine, sounds like you're on the road to a fine wild brew.

Rob B
03/05/11 11:17 AM  
Re: Long term aging with 3278
DaveB...welcome to wild brewing!

As for your "aged" hops, hops age very slowly in the freezer. I have lots of hops from 2008 that I use on a regular basis for non-wild brews. I recently took some 3-4 year old hops out of my freezer and placed them in a bag and stuck them in my garage to age them for future wild brews. The New Mexico summer should age them nicely.

03/05/11 02:01 PM  
Re: Long term aging with 3278
Thanks folks.

@ Tom Sawyer. Whats a Kriekenbier? Is that related to a kreik lambic?

@ Rob B: The hops were loose in a ziplock bag as the ziplock "handi vac seal" failed. They smelled cheesy and old. I guess smells can be deceiving.

tom sawyer
03/05/11 02:18 PM  
Re: Long term aging with 3278
Yes kriek lambic.
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