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Old 05-09-2012, 09:42 PM   #1
johnnytaco
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Default Could use a little help.

So, my friend is getting married over Labor day weekend this year. We made a strawberry Kolsch style beer, from LME and natural strawberry flavor(no fruit), for valentines day. He loved it and wants us to make more for the wedding. We've since switched to all-grain brewing. I prefer hoppier beers, so in our test batches, the one I brewed was more like a blonde ale with a Kolsch yeast. His test batch was very plain and more traditional, same yeast. After ten days in the primary, I racked his beer into a carboy and put it in my basement to clear at 52 degrees, since we don't have a filter. It failed to clear up in three weeks, and when I went to check on it yesterday, I noticed it has a layer of white film on the top. From what I know, that's a brett strain that tainted my beer, right? It's obviously wild, since I've never brewed with brett before. I was going to pitch it, but I tried it first. It was sour, but not bad. Being low hopped, it seems to me like it could fit into the lambic style. My real question is, if I wanted to make a rhubarb lambic out of it, how long should I let it develop the brett flavor before I put it on the fruit? I don't want it to taste like horse nuts, but appreciate the barnyard flavor. Thanks for any help, yall.

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Old 05-09-2012, 09:52 PM   #2
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Give it a year to fully develop, if you are sure it is Brett. Three weeks is pretty fast development for a wild Brett, accidentally introduced. An increase in acidity may be mistaken as sourness. You could have Acetobaker and not Brett.

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Old 05-09-2012, 10:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnytaco View Post
So, my friend is getting married over Labor day weekend this year. We made a strawberry Kolsch style beer, from LME and natural strawberry flavor(no fruit), for valentines day. He loved it and wants us to make more for the wedding. We've since switched to all-grain brewing. I prefer hoppier beers, so in our test batches, the one I brewed was more like a blonde ale with a Kolsch yeast. His test batch was very plain and more traditional, same yeast. After ten days in the primary, I racked his beer into a carboy and put it in my basement to clear at 52 degrees, since we don't have a filter. It failed to clear up in three weeks, and when I went to check on it yesterday, I noticed it has a layer of white film on the top. From what I know, that's a brett strain that tainted my beer, right? It's obviously wild, since I've never brewed with brett before. I was going to pitch it, but I tried it first. It was sour, but not bad. Being low hopped, it seems to me like it could fit into the lambic style. My real question is, if I wanted to make a rhubarb lambic out of it, how long should I let it develop the brett flavor before I put it on the fruit? I don't want it to taste like horse nuts, but appreciate the barnyard flavor. Thanks for any help, yall.
if you bottle you need to wait, kegging is a different story. Either way though its possible to knock out bacteria with campden/fining/cold crashing. It also seems to work well with brett (WY/WL/ECY strains)

Rhubarb isnt the best choice of fruit if you want any flavor, Ive used it in a b weiss, and it added next to no flavor, just quite a bit of acidity. Which if the beer is already quite sour can easily make it too acidic, on the other hand if its lacking acid character it can really help

Back to your strawberry beer for the wedding. You might think about trying to use german ale yeast or a english strain fermented cold in the future. The kolsch yeast is nice, but it really takes some time to taste right. The german ale is a close approximation and is ready to drink much more quickly
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:44 PM   #4
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Are you sure you have a wild yeast, and have not made some vinegar. Brett generally doesn't sour.

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Old 05-11-2012, 12:05 AM   #5
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sounds like it might be lacto to me. i would check the FG and bottle as-is instead of embarking on a time-intensive experiment based on a contaminated batch, but if you really want to do it I would recommend pitching some brett and pedio or at least some bottle dregs from a beer you know has brett and pedio. after six months I would try it and if it is worth it at that point i would rack it onto fruit fro another six months.

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Old 05-11-2012, 04:15 PM   #6
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Just looked at my records. The beer was checked on pretty regularly for six weeks before whatever is in there showed up. It does not taste like vinegar. I know it's early for a Brett, and cool, but from what I've read, lacto strains are alcohol sensitive and after all that time in the primary plus the time in the secondary, wouldn't the alcohol be there? Also, I've read that lacto strains don't usually make a white film. I'll post a pic later to show you what it looks like. The yeast is the WLP 029 German Ale/Kolsch yeast, but harvested and reused on both batches of kolsch, from different jars.

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Old 05-11-2012, 04:55 PM   #7
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Ok. I just tasted it again. I hadn't noticed the "sourness" when I tasted it the other day. I tasted the sourness when I racked it over into the secondary. With a clean palate, I just tasted it again and there really isn't an off flavor to it. A bit of something, not off per say, but it just seems different than any other kolsch I've ever had. Most of the sourness is gone. I talked to my LHBS owner and he said that the yeast now setteling out wasn't a bad thing, because the yeast cells will soak up any diacetyl produced by the longer fermentation at 68 degrees. There's still only an inch or so of clear beer in the carboy and no new film on it since I moved it to see what that white junk was, but still has white floaties on top. I think I'm giong to throw the whole carboy into cold storage for a week and see if it clears up. If not, I'm going to try throwing the rhubarb into it with some strawberries anyway and see what happens. I know it should start to ferment if I do this. Do you reccommend that I try to keep the beer cool to ferment the extra sugar from the fruits, or bring it back up to 68? The taste was much smoother than I expected today, and for that and all your comments, I am grateful.

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Old 05-11-2012, 04:57 PM   #8
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The white floaties could be....yeast.

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Old 05-13-2012, 03:14 AM   #9
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That would be sweet. I actually had that thought and is actually the reason that I started the thread. Thanks for your input.

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Old 05-14-2012, 03:44 PM   #10
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I think I figured out the timeline of my infection. It showed up the first time in a Guinness clone I did at my LHBS. I had made ten gal. but it only showed up in one. My friend had racked a kriek over onto the fruit earlier that day. He used wlp's American farmhouse blend. I had cleaned and sanitized the auto siphon, but obviously not well enough and it's been chilling out in my fermentor since then. I am going to soak the carboy in iodine solution when this gets bottled. Thanks again for your help.

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