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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Berliner with Lacto and Brett only?
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:11 PM   #1
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Default Berliner with Lacto and Brett only?

Brewed up a Berliner yesterday, no boil, mash hop, etc. Pitched a homemade lacto starter (nail polish smell be damned) at about 120F.

Then I got to thinking. Typically if you use brett in primary you get a fruity and clean ferment. That coupled with the notorious long lag time for brett to get going, I added a vial of Brux a few hours after the lacto when it had cooled down a bit more.

This AM it's fermenting away like crazy. Real light foam krausen with big soapy looking bubbles. No crazy aromas...

Any bets on how this may come out? Recipe was standard 50 /50 wheat pils with a monster 3 IBU mash hop. I have some dry US-05 if needed.

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Old 06-25-2012, 03:36 PM   #2
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I wouldn't be surprised if most of what you're seeing is lacto fermentation. I also wouldn't be surprised if it takes a couple months or more to stabilize due to the brett.

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Old 06-25-2012, 04:26 PM   #3
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The OG was only 1.035 and I'm going to keg it, so the brett can develop over time without worry. One concern I have with the brett lag time ect, is should I pitch the 05 in a couple days or no? If the brett takes forever to get going, will the lacto ferment everything out?

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Old 06-25-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubbornman View Post
The OG was only 1.035 and I'm going to keg it, so the brett can develop over time without worry. One concern I have with the brett lag time ect, is should I pitch the 05 in a couple days or no? If the brett takes forever to get going, will the lacto ferment everything out?
In my only experience with Lacto the bugs picked up quickly but then rapidly tailed off, leaving behind a hefty amount of fermentables. So (despite my limited experience) I'd say definitely yes to the US-05.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:35 PM   #5
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Well brett will consume beyond what the 05 will ferment, so although pitching 05 will speed up the process some you will have continued brett fermentation for months.

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Old 06-25-2012, 09:26 PM   #6
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A vial with no starter will have a pretty good lag time from what I have heard. I always do a fairly large starter for my 100% Brett beers (~.5 gal).

As for needing to add the US-05, I would go on taste. The lacto will stop when the pH reaches a certain point, but that may be too sour for you. So you may want to add the US-05 to control the lacto. Tasting is the only way to know if you need to add other yeast.

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Old 06-27-2012, 01:07 AM   #7
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Chad Yakobson from Crook Stave has a Petit Sour that is a no boil, lacto fermentation for a week pitching at 120F, and then a six week bret fermentation at 74 (the fermentation should bottom out around 1.004 depending on your OG) . His first batch used a spontaneous fermentation from the mash before he cultured the yeast. He recommended targeting a wort pH of 4.5 using aciduated malt and heating the wort to 185F for 15min before pitching the lacto to keep the undesirable bugs out.

His wort is sounds like more a Belgian Wit than a true Berliner because it includes oats (I'm guessing about 8%). And they also blended the beer with a farmhouse ale. All this info is from an interview on the Sunday Session on The Brewing Network. I'd recommend it for anyone interested in getting info about brewing with brett as the primary strain.

His recommendation for a brett starter was to use the lager pitch rate on yeast pitching calc. From what I've read, a WL brett vial has half cell count of a sacro vial... so even a larger starter might be a little small for primary brett pitch.

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Old 06-27-2012, 12:43 PM   #8
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Interesting... I used about 5% acid malt, but didn't heat up to 185. I will go track down that Sunday Session right now, thanks.

As was mentioned above, the initial vigorous lacto ferment has slowed considerably, still with no signs of a "primary brett fermentation" which to me usually looks like a tight lager krausen (no blow off needed).

I went ahead and pulled a very small sample to make sure I didn't already have vinegar or anything as my starter smelled of nail polish remover before pitching. I couldn't detect anything off, it was slightly tart but that could be the 5% acid malt?

Going to let it ride as is for another day or so and then pitch the US05 and take it from there...

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Old 06-27-2012, 06:30 PM   #9
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I concur about that podcast being very informative.

stubbornman - your 5% acid malt would not add any tartness in my experience. That is within the normal amount used just to adjust mash pH. I find you need at least 10% to taste the effect.

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Old 06-28-2012, 12:17 AM   #10
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One more thought from CY: On the first batch they did not do the 185F rest after the mash or decrease the pH down to 4.5. He said that the beer turned out the very similar but it took longer for the Brett to munch through some of the off flavors.

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