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Old 01-12-2013, 12:54 AM   #21
AmandaK
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Oh, OK. Maybe it was the lambic part I heard. Can you do a lambic in 9 months, or is a year really the limit?
You can do a lambic in 9 months - but it will be really boring and lifeless.

I have quite a few lambics going. I bottled half of one batch at 15 months and the other half at 25 months - the one bottled at 25 months is MUCH MUCH better.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:44 AM   #22
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1) From what I've read people here seem to be trying to capture wild yeast in the air or from malt extract left out. To me it would make more sense to take whole barely, unhulled, grind it up into a flour and create a liquid sourdough starter. Then you would have a guaranteed inoculant, though still wild.

2) I will take your words for it but why is sanitation such a big deal? Other types of fermentation don't stress on sanitation because the lactic acid bacteria produce lactic acid which acts as a preservative and keeps the bad guys out.

3) This is the process, simplified without beer terminology, in my head:
-Take cracked malted grain and hops, steep them at specific temperatures for specific times.
-Rinse the grain of residual sugars.
-Filter the wort of hops/grains
-Cool wort
-Add barley starter
-Put in carboy

What am I missing?

Thanks again for all the guidance.
1) You never know what you are going to get with wild yeast. Most people who try it, make small starters first to see whether it will attenuate sufficiently, and find out what it smells and tastes like before using.

Wild yeast will not make a sour beer if that is what you are after.

2) There are some things you don't want in your wort, certain molds, botulism, etc. These bacteria love wort and multiply much faster than yeast. Sanitation knocks the number of undesirable cells down to very low numbers to allow the yeast to start creating alcohol before they get to sufficient quantities to ruin the beer.

3) Try it. It won't be a year long experiment. You will be throwing it out after a few days because the house will wreak ...... or, if you are married, your wife could be throwing you out.

Before embarking on some experiment, try doing a beer normally, to see how it should be done. Then challenge the norm.

I'd suggest making a simple Pale Ale to start. Once you are OK with the process, then try a sour; use a simple recipe, low hops, use a decent yeast and toss in the dregs of some sours, or use a commercial blend from White Labs or Wyeast.

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Oh, OK. Maybe it was the lambic part I heard. Can you do a lambic in 9 months, or is a year really the limit?
I rack some of my sours onto fruit at 8 months. Decently sour. Yes you can do it in 8 or 9 months, but it still has a lot more it can do; The Brett has only just reached it max population around that time and has a lot more work to do, and the Lacto and Pedio are still building their populations.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:44 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Calder View Post
1) You never know what you are going to get with wild yeast. Most people who try it, make small starters first to see whether it will attenuate sufficiently, and find out what it smells and tastes like before using.

Wild yeast will not make a sour beer if that is what you are after.
I understand that the yeast do not create the sour. Which is why I suggested creating a barely sourdough starter, which is a symbiotic culture of wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria.

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2) There are some things you don't want in your wort, certain molds, botulism, etc. These bacteria love wort and multiply much faster than yeast. Sanitation knocks the number of undesirable cells down to very low numbers to allow the yeast to start creating alcohol before they get to sufficient quantities to ruin the beer.
Botulism needs an environment devoid of oxygen in order to survive, so it is not possible for botulism to grow in wort. Molds are bad but again if you immediately inoculate the wort with the barely sourdough starter, the lactic acid bacteria should drop the pH and create the acid to kill anything that tries to invade while the yeast are producing alcohol.

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3) Try it. It won't be a year long experiment. You will be throwing it out after a few days because the house will wreak ...... or, if you are married, your wife could be throwing you out.
Thanks for the warning .
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:08 AM   #24
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Molds are bad but again if you immediately inoculate the wort with the barely sourdough starter, the lactic acid bacteria should drop the pH and create the acid to kill anything that tries to invade while the yeast are producing alcohol.
Lactobacillus has a lag phase, and that can be quite significant. On the few occasions I have made Berliner Weisse, it has been a few days at 100 F before the lacto seems to get going. At room temperature it will take longer. Don't count on the PH being there early to stop growth of bacteria. That's why if you just toss some grains in some wort it is going to smell like vomit; clostridium is going to get working on the wort before the lacto gets established.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:46 PM   #25
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Maybe it would be more practical then to get some wheat malt extract, and do this fermentation in a simple container to get an idea of how this would play out.

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Old 02-12-2013, 07:16 PM   #26
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Get the book Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. It has a whole chapter on the wild fermentation of beer, and has some recipes for sorghum beer and opaque barley beer that can be made from start to finish in a week or two. A true European style lambic does take a long time, but lots of non-western cultures have been making quickly fermented beers with various grains for centuries. Plus, they are super healthy as they are probiotic if consumed soon and full of B vitamins caused by the process.

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Maybe it would be more practical then to get some wheat malt extract, and do this fermentation in a simple container to get an idea of how this would play out.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:13 PM   #27
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"Radical Brewing" by Randy Mosher has a bunch wild yeast recipes, some of which do not need to be aged. You should check it out for some of the historical beer precusors too, it seems like you enjoy the simpler uncontrolled processes...

That being said, I still think a random culture harvest will let you down... Yeast wrangling seems to be 94% luck, 5% supidity, and 1% skill. I would hate to see you dump your first batch.

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Old 02-20-2013, 04:34 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by michaell
Get the book Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. It has a whole chapter on the wild fermentation of beer, and has some recipes for sorghum beer and opaque barley beer that can be made from start to finish in a week or two. A true European style lambic does take a long time, but lots of non-western cultures have been making quickly fermented beers with various grains for centuries. Plus, they are super healthy as they are probiotic if consumed soon and full of B vitamins caused by the process.
Sandor Katz is an idiot. I try not to make statements like that on here since HBT is a friendly place, but I can't help it. I had the misfortune of being at a workshop where he was a presenter and he's a moron. He kept talking about how refrigerators are evil fermentation stopping devices while wearing too short cut off jeans with his sack hanging out.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:04 AM   #29
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Sandor Katz is an idiot. I try not to make statements like that on here since HBT is a friendly place, but I can't help it. I had the misfortune of being at a workshop where he was a presenter and he's a moron. He kept talking about how refrigerators are evil fermentation stopping devices while wearing too short cut off jeans with his sack hanging out.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:28 PM   #30
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give it a shot and let us know how it turns out. lacto doesn't play very well with hops, so a minimal amount (generally no more than 10 IBU) is recommended. I've read threads where people used sourdough bread starters for beer with decent results, so it's doable (in theory). be prepared for your "starter" to smell like vomit and death - probably not something you want to leave out on the kitchen counter.

real, properly aged sours generally take a minimum of 12-18 months to develop before bottling (and a few years in the bottle will make them even better). two years is a long time to wait to figure out if you've made a good beer or not, and it takes a long time to iterate on a recipe because of this. if you don't have good basic brewing technique, you could be adding flaws to your beer that will make it less enjoyable or even undrinkable down the line. brewing a few batches of something simple and clean like a balanced pale ale or a stout will let you make mistakes on something that you won't invest as much time and effort into, and will give you beer to drink quickly so you're not tempted to give up on or rush your sour.

my personal advice would be to go ahead and do the experiment, but get some other standard "beginner" beers into the pipeline (extract with steeping grains is a great place to start). you'll learn a lot, and in 6 months or so you'll have the knowledge you need to confidently go ahead with another sour. nothing wrong with brewing extract sours, by the way - time and bugs are the most important factors in brewing a sour.

good luck!

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