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Old 02-21-2008, 05:04 PM   #1
lasseg
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Default Aged hops and Orval dregs...

Hello,

It seems to me that this forum is the place to go to for questions related to brewing with Brett and aged hops. So here goes..

I just found a couple of 100 gram packs of nasty old hops (Brewer's gold 2001) at a homebrew supply (in Sweden). Nevermind the fact that the vendor was actually trying to sell this "crap" for brewing "regular" beer (what with the hop-shortage and everything - his words, not mine). I'm reckoning that these might be good for a future venture into the realm of pLambic. So should I take the hops out of their bags and leave them out? Can you actually age hops destined for lambic too long?

Second question:

I'm not quite confident enough to take the leap into ambient fermentation just yet, I'm figuring I should get to know the bugs a bit first. So my idea is to culture some Orval dregs in the hope of resurrecting Brett. If succesful, won't that culture contain Saccharomyces as well? And if so, will they eventually outcompete the Brett? I'm thinking of just funking up some brews in secondary to begin with.

And finally, being the cheap bastard that I am, and the homebrew situation in Sweden is in a sad state of neglect, I'm thinking of acquiring som Lacto/Pedio other than the commercial strains. So, I'm thinking youghurt for Lacto, will that work?

yes and I know, "Wild brews" probably has the answers..
I've ordered it..

Any help/input will be appreciated.

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Old 02-22-2008, 12:50 AM   #2
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I am not sure about the hops, but I don't think you need to leave them out to age more. As long as they have been stored properly, I'm not sure you can age them too long, but I'm not sure.
Orval is a good source for Brett bruxellensis, when added to secondary the Brett will take over once the Sacch are done and consume the unfermentables left behind. Yogurt Lacto is different from brewing lacto, its Lactobacillus acidophilus not Lacto delbrueckii. But people use it with some success I understand, although I'm not sure of their methods,etc. You can try the babblebelt.com's homebrw board as well, someone there used yogurt lacto in a Berliner Weisse I believe.
Hope this helps.

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Old 02-22-2008, 01:57 AM   #3
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For the hops, I had a couple ounces of Saaz in a brown lunch bag, crushed, in the garage rafters for about 2 years, through the heat of summer (probably over 120 degrees F) and the cold of winter. I brewed a Lambic with them and didn't notice any hop character, which you don't want anyways in this style. For the bacteria, I am no Microbiologist, but I am familiar with the various bacteria strains. Obviously, both yogurt and lambic lacto are in the same genera, so there can't be much difference in the way they would oxidize a beer. I would be a bit concerned about all the other stuff in the yogurt, mainly, probably, the preservatives-it does have a limited shelf-life. But, as landhoney states, I have heard of people brewing with it, but am unfamiliar with the techniques. I usually buy a Lacto or Pedio strain and go with that.

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Old 02-22-2008, 01:26 PM   #4
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As I recall, many lambic brewers age their hops for three years. However, they do so in a drier environment, so that the hops do not start any sort of decay. I don't know what you mean by "nasty" hops, but I would not use anything that seems rotten or moldy.


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Old 02-22-2008, 03:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avidhomebrewer
For the hops, I had a couple ounces of Saaz in a brown lunch bag, crushed, in the garage rafters for about 2 years, through the heat of summer (probably over 120 degrees F) and the cold of winter. I brewed a Lambic with them and didn't notice any hop character, which you don't want anyways in this style. For the bacteria, I am no Microbiologist, but I am familiar with the various bacteria strains. Obviously, both yogurt and lambic lacto are in the same genera, so there can't be much difference in the way they would oxidize a beer. I would be a bit concerned about all the other stuff in the yogurt, mainly, probably, the preservatives-it does have a limited shelf-life. But, as landhoney states, I have heard of people brewing with it, but am unfamiliar with the techniques. I usually buy a Lacto or Pedio strain and go with that.
Good yogurt should not have any artificial preservatives in it. Like beer yogurt is a purposely "spoiled" product with natural preservative qualities. You should be able to culture the bacteria but I'm not sure they would have the alcohol tolerance the beer lactos have, or they may have trouble eating the leftover sugars in beer which are different than milk sugars.
If I remember correctly the correct lacto bacteria are commonally found on malted base grains. This might be a source to try to culture from, though I would experiment with the culture on a small scale first before committing a whole batch to the bug.

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Old 02-22-2008, 03:22 PM   #6
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Wow, thanks for all the feedback!

The aged hops are in no way contaminated or mildew-ey, just old and smell like dust.. That kind of nasty! ;-)

Getting the Lacto from base grain, that sound like a good idea.. and I think I know just how to go about isolating them.. I recently made a batch of Kimchee, Korean sauerkraut, ie cabbage fermented by lacto.. the recipe is dead simple: cabbage, salt and spices. If I can remember my microbiology correctly, a simple 1,5% solution of salt will inhibit yeast growth, thus favoring any bacteria present. I reckon something similar on 100 gr of grain would do the trick... I'll keep you posted if I do try anything of the kind..

Now about those Orval dregs.. would you just pitch the dregs directly into secondary or would a small (say 1-2 dl) starter be appropriate? I fear that by making a starter I'd favour the saccharomyces, not the Brett..

Once again, thx for the useful feedback!

/Lasse

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Old 12-22-2009, 09:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lasseg View Post
Wow, thanks for all the feedback!

The aged hops are in no way contaminated or mildew-ey, just old and smell like dust.. That kind of nasty! ;-)

Getting the Lacto from base grain, that sound like a good idea.. and I think I know just how to go about isolating them.. I recently made a batch of Kimchee, Korean sauerkraut, ie cabbage fermented by lacto.. the recipe is dead simple: cabbage, salt and spices. If I can remember my microbiology correctly, a simple 1,5% solution of salt will inhibit yeast growth, thus favoring any bacteria present. I reckon something similar on 100 gr of grain would do the trick... I'll keep you posted if I do try anything of the kind..

Now about those Orval dregs.. would you just pitch the dregs directly into secondary or would a small (say 1-2 dl) starter be appropriate? I fear that by making a starter I'd favour the saccharomyces, not the Brett..

Once again, thx for the useful feedback!

/Lasse
Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I'd love the answer to this also. Specifically, what is the best way to "culture up" the Orval dregs?

Also, can a beer be entirely fermented using using the Orval dregs? (I would make a starter of course, probably a series of them...)
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Old 12-23-2009, 04:18 AM   #8
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Seems like I remember reading that Orval uses a bottling yeast. Naturally, you want the fermentation yeasties....and damned if I have ever been able to hit a home run with multiple attempts to clone it.

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Old 12-23-2009, 12:20 PM   #9
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Orval is said to ferment with a primary sacch strain then transfer to a secondary where it is dosed with something like 3 strains with at least one being a brettanomyces strain. Some of the literature suggests that these strains go in at bottling, but I believe that is false.

I've taken Orval dregs and just added them to a beer that has already been fermented with sacch and after a while there was definitely brett character to it.

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Old 12-23-2009, 12:25 PM   #10
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That would make sense, Bokonon. The primary yeast would establish most of the flavor profile and the brett would add to it by getting at some of the sugars the primary yeast couldn't attenuate.

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