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-   -   All-grain setup needed for wild fermenting? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f127/all-grain-setup-needed-wild-fermenting-380297/)

beernewb71 01-10-2013 03:46 PM

All-grain setup needed for wild fermenting?
 
I'm totally new to beer brewing and decided that I want to try dabbling with wild-fermented beers before creating lab created beer :cross:.

My understanding is that we don't have to worry about sanitation with wild-fermentation, I was wondering how this relates to the equipment we need to do a wild-ferment?

Bensiff 01-10-2013 04:08 PM

Yes you still have to worry about sanitation with wild fermentation...all beer begins with cleaning your equipment and sanitizing anything that will come into contact with the beer post boil. If you were to ferment with the critters that are in the ambient air you would be very lucky to get something that was worth drinking. So, you are still concerned with what bugs are getting into the wort. You will also want to segregate your wild beer fermentation and bottling/kegging equipment from your normal equipment.

But, before all of that, I would recommend you solidify your knowledge and experience with breweing ales and then read Wild Brews (not the best book in the world, but a good primer for playing with bugs) and then dive in.

Golddiggie 01-10-2013 04:18 PM

IMO, you're going about it backwards. As already mentioned, get a good experience baseline with proper methods and good ingredients before you try to use wild yeast to ferment something.

BTW, just because you get the yeast from a professional lab, doesn't make it a bad thing. If anything it's many fold better than what you might get for wild yeast. With wild, you'll have NO idea what you're getting (at best, you'll have a guess). With the yeast you buy, you KNOW what you're getting. With this knowledge, you can ferment the beer in the right temperature range, know what it's capabilities are (attenuation level, etc.) what flavors you'll get from it, and so much more. With wild yeast, you're rolling the dice on all of it.

Personally, I'd rather not risk dumping a batch over that factor. Especially if you're just starting out and going with an extract batch. You run the very real possibility of tossing $30-$50 right out the window (for a 5 gallon batch) along with the hardware you use to ferment it.

Learn to crawl before you walk. Learn to walk before you run, Learn to run before you try a marathon. Don't go from nothing to a marathon. IMO, pretty much what you're thinking of doing here.

Bensiff 01-10-2013 04:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Golddiggie (Post 4770005)
Learn to crawl before you walk. Learn to walk before you run, Learn to run before you try a marathon. Don't go from nothing to a marathon. IMO, pretty much what you're thinking of doing here.

On the flip side, the fact that he went from, holy crap I can make alcohol to, I'm going to make a lambic in no time flat makes me think he is taking his first steps into a lifetime of brewing.

Golddiggie 01-10-2013 04:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bensiff (Post 4770075)
On the flip side, the fact that he went from, holy crap I can make alcohol to, I'm going to make a lambic in no time flat makes me think he is taking his first steps into a lifetime of brewing.

IMO, most people are either going to do it for the rest of their lives, or they're not going to do it more than ~6 months. If you pass the 6 month point, and still enjoy doing it, you're pretty much in for good.

I do think he should at least brew a few batches before going to the wild side of things. Otherwise, he could get too frustrated with not having anything happen. Or get even more frustrated over substandard results.

beernewb71 01-10-2013 06:26 PM

I'm not afraid to experience failures and have the patience of a German Monk :).

I'm not looking for instant gratification either. I want to learn. I don't see why I shouldn't start on the wild side, if that is my goal in the end anyways. Lead the way!

AmandaK 01-10-2013 08:27 PM

Sanitation is still a must. Basic brewing practices are a must.

You can brew sours with extract.


I can't seem to figure out why you would 'hone' your craft on a beer that takes at least a year to see results. Not that you can't, it just that you won't learn anything until that first beer is done.

beernewb71 01-10-2013 09:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AmandaK (Post 4771065)
Sanitation is still a must. Basic brewing practices are a must.

You can brew sours with extract.


I can't seem to figure out why you would 'hone' your craft on a beer that takes at least a year to see results. Not that you can't, it just that you won't learn anything until that first beer is done.

A year is the firm timeline for a sour beer?

monkeybox 01-10-2013 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by golddiggie
Learn to crawl before you walk. Learn to walk before you run, Learn to run before you try a marathon. Don't go from nothing to a marathon. IMO, pretty much what you're thinking of doing here.

To the OP, I'm also somebody who is pretty aggressively stepping it up to sours. I've made maybe a dozen batches, and 3 of those were 10 years ago. And now I've started doing sours, because those are really the beers I love (and they're expensive as all getout to buy, so the savings are amazing!)

But Golddiggie and AmandaK have good points. Sours take years to mature. So if you make a bad batch now (which you probably will do if you ignore sanitation), then you'll have been wasting a fermenter for months/years while it developed. So you probably want to tread carefully.

Quote:

Originally Posted by beernewb71 (Post 4770562)
I'm not looking for instant gratification either. I want to learn. I don't see why I shouldn't start on the wild side, if that is my goal in the end anyways. Lead the way!

I'm not going to dissuade you from brewing sours. Go for it. Try to get a rotation going of sours so that in 18-months or 3-years you can have a regular new sour coming up. But expect that those first ones are going to suck a little. (Northern Brewer has some extract kits that are good to start)

To help with that, brew some other beers in between to get some practice. You'll improve your methods, temperatures, sanitation, etc. to and your later sours will benefit from it.

You can also mix in some of the shortcuts to sours:

* If you do manage to go all-grain (it's not that hard or expensive if you batch sparge), you can do a nice no-boil berlinner weisse that will be ready in a few months.
* You could try a sour mash. (CO2 is not a requirement, but seems strongly recommended. From my research these can go very wrong)
* You can explore 100% brett ales (ales brewed with wild yeast, isolated from their partners in crime). These don't often turn up sour, but can be unusual. They also ferment in about the usual time.

So, I'd encourage you to follow the beers you're passionate about, but in parallel do some of the more mundane brews to develop your skills.

monkeybox 01-10-2013 09:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beernewb71 (Post 4771371)
A year is the firm timeline for a sour beer?

Unless you take a shortcut (berlinner, sour mash, 100% brett), a traditional sour takes at minimum 12 months to develop. You should expect 18-36 months before bottling, from what I've read.


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