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Smokinghole
12/25/12 02:33 PM  
Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
After reading through Farmhouse Ales way more than once I decided that I would try something slightly crazy. Since the book details and profiles saisons of the past as being similar to gueuze I decided to ferment a saison wort with 20 IBUs using nothing but bottle yeast/bacteria I saved up from the last two years of drinking sour beers. There's a mix of Hanssens, Cantillion, 3F, Cuvee Renee, and any other bottle that was lambic/gueuze. I poured maybe 2oz of resuspended yeast slurry into the fermentor and just let it go on its own. This was back in August when I brewed the beer. I had originally split the wort 50/50 with 100% brett trois and this lambic portion. Well I was not fond of the 100% trois batch so I added more of that to the lambic batch. So I ended up with a full 10 gal keg of the lambic portion. I took a gravity sample today and it smells and tastes fanstastic! It has a serious funkiness that I'm extremely fond of, with a citric acid like acidity mixed in with the lactic character. The hops are actually rather balanced with the sourness. I think I'll have to dry hop the beer too before packaging.

I had done a similar side experiment last winter with my standard saison recipe and fermented it with ECY20. That turned out VERY good and I couldn't wait to do it again. I was hesitant to just use the bottle sediment instead of a still viable ECY20 culture I have going in a fermentor. I am very happy I did though.

I just had to post up about this in case anyone has done it, or was thinking about doing the same thing. I highly recommend doing this if you're a saison fanatic and a sour beer fanatic.

CASK1
12/25/12 04:31 PM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
That sounds awesome! I need to try something like that. How much longer are you going to let it ride (if at all) before packaging?
Smokinghole
12/25/12 09:31 PM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
I figure I'll let it go as long as it needs to get rid of the slight viscosity that krept back up from the addition of two more gallons of the 100% brett batch. Once that's gone then I'll bottle.
levifunk
12/31/12 10:43 AM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
Sounds awesome. What kind of flavors did the yeast provide?
Smokinghole
01/01/13 01:00 PM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
The flavors are very similar to the lambics that the yeast/bacteria originate from. It's a very complex flavor with nice fruit esters balanced by a very solid funk. For the uninitiated this beer would make someone's face squirm a bit but you guys would probably love something like this. As soon as I bottle it I will brew a new batch shortly after so I can get a nice stockpile of it for long cellaring.
Smokinghole
02/18/13 11:08 AM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
Well I'm starting to think about bottling this saison. I figure sometime in March it'll happen. I need to price bottles since lately I've been bottling more beer than I've been drinking. It's a terrible problem for my bottle supply but awesome problem to have.

If you haven't done something like this I highly suggest you do it. If you don't have a large collected culture of mixed lambic bottle yeasts let me know I can lend you a hand. I have at least 300ml of slurry I can share. Only stipulation is I suggest looking at a site like Mr Malty and pitching less than half the recommended amount.

Smokinghole
02/18/13 11:30 AM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
I'd like to add my estimated pitch rate for reference sake.

According to Mr. Malty and an assumed 94% viability a 1.044 wort would need 326 billion cells for a 9 gal volume. I had a half full 8 oz mason jar that was half thick slurry and half liquid. I resuspended the yeast which would have probably given me a max of 2bil/mil but more likely 1bil/ml. Then I poured maybe a total of 2oz which is like 60ml. Which according to 9gal of 1.044 wort is 1/5 what I should have pitched. Of course with a 94% viability I probably had a much lower pitch rate because this was just straight out the bottle into a mason jar yeast. I have never at any point tried to propagate/feed the yeast except throwing a couple used oak cubes into the jar.

So if you do the rough math assuming a realistic estimate of yeast desnity at 1bil/ml (for how liquid it was I can assure it wasn't anywhere near 2bil/ml) I have a pitch rate of 2.3mil/ml in a plato wort. Mr Malty lists the pitch rate at 8.9mil/ml which is slighly less than 1mil/mil and I still pitched less than 30% of the recommended level. I'm not saying this is the end all be all I'm just giving you guys a more concrete knowledge of how I am brewing my sours.

smokinghole
04/22/13 11:26 PM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
Well I think I am going to bottle this soon. I think I will pull about 12oz and force carb in a small soda bottle. That will help me decide whether or not to bottle. If its up to snuff I will dryhop then cool it and bottle. Gravity dropped a bit more, its now 1.001 ish and sour. The pH is sitting at 3.07 and still has a chance to drop a little more as it ages in the bottle, I think.
mikeh
04/23/13 01:07 AM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
Smoking Hole, how did you save the yeast samples? Did you just keep adding them to a large starter? Or did you propagate each one individually?
ME
04/23/13 09:12 AM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
I think many have tried this for some time. For your pitch rates, that is a complete guess you are taking yeast that is 2 years old and using a portion of it. Unless you have the ability to count cells that is really up in the air, no?
Smokinghole
04/23/13 03:04 PM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
I didn't add the yeast to anything that they could ferment. I just kept them in a jar that I kept adding yeast to over the years.

I saying that pitch rate is a best case scenario. I likely pitched made even more of an "underpitch" due to viability issues. I have the ability to count cells just not at home.

Smokinghole
04/26/13 07:32 PM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
I am planning on doing this again tomorrow with a pils and spelt grist. The hops will be half new and half aged with just a small dash of the culture from the jar. I did save the primary yeast from this batch though.

I will brew up the beer just like I would any other saison keeing the hopping lower like 15-20 ibus. Then I will let it cool itself over night and add some of mixed culture the next day.

This batch is getting transferred through dry hops and then packaged tonight if I can get off my lazy butt. Think Randall hop thing but just in between my fermenting keg and the keg I'm going to use for packaging. Dry hops will be a mix of saaz and citra.

Smokinghole
05/04/13 12:13 PM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
Brewed yesterday. I made this a lower gravity version and used some decoctions to raise the mash temp through the steps. The gravity came out to 1.037 the pH is starting at 5.17. I left it rest outside last night with small amount exchange to the air as the wort cooled. I dumped it from the stainless kegs into my 16 gal fermentor this morning and pitched yeast. I used some of the original old yeast from the mason jar, a splash of very thin ECY20, and about 15ml of pretty thick yeast from the last primary fermentation of the last beer I'm about to bottle. So the viability is likely pretty low all around. Total volume of moderately thick slurry was 30ml. Only aeration was the dumping of the yeast into the fermentor. I am going to be doing the active portion of primary with out air lock, and I might even remove the top from the fermentor all together.

Grist was 68% Pils, 27% raw spelt, and 7% malted rye. Temp steps were 113, 126, 146, 156 with the temp increases accomplished through decoction hoping it will keep the beer from being extremely thin.

Smokinghole
05/27/13 03:43 PM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
The batch I brewed back in August has been in bottles for almost three weeks now. I decided to give one a try today to see if it had developed rope in the bottle. My experience with some ECY fermented beers was that they tasted ready, no rope, stable gravity the whole nine, only to develop ropy viscosity in the bottle. Anyhow I wanted to see if this had done the same and I am happy to say that so far it has not. The beer is really clear, has a nice bright acidity, and has a slight musty mineral flavor on the back end. It's not offensive just not something I had in my ECY20 fermented saison. The hops in this batch are much more subdued compared to the first time I did this. I almost like the higher hopping of the original I did. The clarity is pretty damn nice. Looks like a gently centrifuged beer leaving a little haze behind but still bright. I am very glad to have 10 gal of this hanging around in bottles. It will age nicely and I look forward to the new batch. These are fun to make considering it only took 9 months from brewing to being able to drink.
Smokinghole
06/13/13 11:23 AM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
The most recently brewed batch is at two months now and the pH is at 3.18 last I checked. The beer is bitter, sour and funky. It has a ways to go obviously but the bitterness is mouth filling. It's probably the aged hops I bought to brew a lambic over a year ago which I opened used some and left open in my garage for an additional year. The beer completely dries my mouth out as I drink the gravity sample which is sitting at 1.003ish. I think the brett and bacteria will utilize the hop compounds as well as oxidation will decrease the mouth drying bitterness over the next few months. It's got a very minerally citrus flavor with the already mentioned mouth filling bitterness. A month ago it had a bitter pineapple flavor which has dissipated.

The fortunate and unfortunate thing is I may be moving in the next three months. It'll just get kegged and moved in the case I do end up moving this summer.

Smokinghole
08/19/13 10:48 AM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
The difference two months makes. I took a little pipette sample this morning just to taste the beer. I think it's about there, much earlier than I expected. It makes sense considering the fairly low gravity but I did expect it to take longer due to the aged hops added. I think I'll give it another month and then I'll bottle this thing up. The flavor is a nice bright acidity with a citrusy fruitiness that wasn't there two months ago. The brett has obviously worked on the aged hops and other hop compounds in a big way since I last tasted the beer.
Smokinghole
09/05/13 12:30 AM  
Re: Old Saison with lambic bottle yeasts/bacteria
The batch I bottled back in August is starting to lose the musty edge a bit. It's still there but it's not offensive or anything. I'm happy with how it turned out and looking forward to the 13 gallons I have at 1.036 with some aged hops.
 
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