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Old 11-03-2011, 10:30 PM   #81
Almighty
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ashmgee - I'm glad someone is getting some use from the info.

An Orval clone is where a lot of people start when getting into wild beers and using dregs. Mainly because it is really easy and the results are great. I have not used Orval dregs, but similar. (I have a few bottles of Orval waiting for a vertical tasting). I have read several accounts of great success.

To answer your questions:
3 months?
Time limits don't work well for wild beers (or any beers for that matter) because they depend on so many factors. I have used a bottle of Mikkeler It's Alright dregs in a gallon which supposedly used the same Orval Brett B strain. (reminds me I need to do a tasting)

http://jeffreycrane.blogspot.com/2011/03/dreg-series-mikkeller-its-alright.html

The beer was stabilized and bottled in about 3 or 4 months. But that involved checking the gravity twice.

Orval is a very interesting beer and you should try to do a vertical tasting of some, fresh, 1 year old and 2 year old vintages. You will see a big difference.

The issue with bottling is that it will pick up carbonation as it ages and without brewing the same beer for a hundred years you can't be certain how much it will carbonate. So to be safe us homebrewers wait till it stabilizes. If you do the math, every gravity point drop is around .5 volume of CO2. I'm not sure what the Grolsch bottles are rated for so do your research.

No worries on disturbing the pellicle you will just want to avoid doing it very often and try not to completely destroy it. I take sample every 3 months and don't have a problem with oxidation or acetic acid. Oxidation from bulk aging is really not a problem with these types of beer.

I have never been convinced that bulk aging is much different than bottle aging (unless using a barrel or wood aging). The main issue is to avoid over carbonation.

In Summary,
Go for it. Brew a nice dry blond base beer that will finish low. (The lower it finishes the less concern with over carbonation.) In secondary, add a bottle or 2 (anymore probably won't make a difference) of Orval. Check the gravity at 2 months and 3 months. If no drop in gravity, bottle to 2.5-3 Volumes and make sure your bottles can handle up to 4-5 Volumes and you should be safe.

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Old 11-04-2011, 03:36 AM   #82
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Bayerischer Bahnhof Leipziger Porticus - what a cool sounding beer - where did you find that bottle?

If it is bottle conditioned I would imagine the Brett is still viable. Make a small starter in the bottle to find out.

And a persimmon brown ale with Brett sounds very good. I wonder what strain of Brett is in the Bayerischer. You may be able to email the brewer and ask. I find most people in this industry are happy to share info.

I added persimmons to a pale base beer with Russian River dregs and I'm looking forward to see how those flavors mesh.
Sorry for the delay in response. I just cracked this open today. It had a wonderful brett aroma (balsamic and barnyard mostly). Unfortunately, it didn't taste nearly as funky as it smelled. You can tell there was a slight brett influence, but it was mostly overrun by the roasted malts.

I got it from a fine wine and beer retailer here in Indy. It hasn't been rated a whole lot on beeradvocate, so it must be a bit of a rare find. The shophand recommended it to me.

I just made a small 1 cup starter. Time to see if it is viable. I would love to have this in my persimmon brown.
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:24 PM   #83
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Another thought, what dregs have you used so far? Could this smell be an over-the-top Belgian phenol?
Could be, I fermented two of them spontaneously for a month and then added Jolly pumpkin dregs. As it was smelling exactly like the bung I assumed it was that. I'll wait to see if the third (S05 and Hansenns) develops the same smell.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:25 PM   #84
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Random-ish question: when you bottle these 1 gallon batches, do you use a regular bottling bucket, or some kind of... mini bottling bucket? I always have trouble getting that last little bit out of the bucket, and with such a small batch to begin with, I'd worry about losing any of it.

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Old 11-07-2011, 03:39 PM   #85
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Great idea!

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So I have a new idea when it comes to making sour beer. So here are the complaints that I often hear about making sour beer:
1) Don't want to mess up the rest of your equipment
2) You don't have enough space to store the beer
3) You don't want to buy more equipment just to store beer
4) It can take a long time and you might not end up with a good beer.

I think I have the answer, well at least for myself. With the exception of a few styles (Flanders Red, Oud Bruin, and pLambic) I have decided to brew small 1 gal batches. By doing this I can use 1 gal jugs that are pretty cheap ($5.50 with cider at Whole Foods or $8 at the Homebrew Store). I brew every 3 weeks so by then I can drink a gallon of cider (without too many of the bad consequences), the other alternative which I have tried is to take whatever yeast I'm using at that time and pitch some in the store cider.

Ok so you now you either think yeah I like doing small batches for the ability to test an idea OR you think they are a waste of time and expensive. For you that think the later here is how I appease you. Another problem with making sour beers is that they do not perform well when the IBUs are high. So my idea is after making my wort and bringing it to a boil, I will add my bittering hops. And within a specified time depending on the amount of IBUs you want I will run-off some wort into my gallon container. Yes I understand it is boiling, but I have preheated the container under hot water and have not had a problem. I then cool this wort in the sink.

For yeast I do not buy any commercial yeast because to me that is cost prohibitive but I will pitch the dregs from a sour beer. This is nice because I have a great excuse to buy great beer and I have a nice beer to drink as I finish making the rest of the base batch. I try to buy a beer that I want my beer to have similar results. Make sure that you cool the bottle and let it settle, the longer the better. Pour the beer slowly and stop with about an ounce left in the bottle. Swish this remaining beer up very well (~minute), then pitch into you gallon container.

For these beers, I am fermenting that at ambient temperature which is 68-75F. I am starting these out using an airlock, then pitch some boiled oak cubes (.2-.4oz) depending on the beer and the taste that I want. I can then bottle these beers with separate tubing and if I like the beer than I can make a full batch the following year and use the gallon container as a starter.


I will update with my results.

Kreik (Old Beersel Framboise dregs)

Sour Pale Common (Petrus dregs)

Black Jolly Sour (Jolly Pumkin Bam Noire dregs)
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:02 PM   #86
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That is a good question. I have ended up using kegs (usually my 2.5 gal version) as my bottling bucket. I lose less than a few ounces and reduce the risk of oxidation.

I tilt the keg and pour the beer from the jug into the keg. With these small batches there is really no need to risk infection by racking the beer. Plus I probably pick up less oxygen this way. Then I dump in my priming sugar and yeast if needed. Purge the keg and swirl the keg to get good mixing. Then set my regulator at 1-2 psi and fill bottles with my picnic tap.

I typically get 8 or 9 - 12oz beers plus a 4 oz hydrometer sample. But it really depends on the batch (fill level and amount of fruit added).

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Old 11-10-2011, 01:24 PM   #87
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Sorry for the delay in response. I just cracked this open today. It had a wonderful brett aroma (balsamic and barnyard mostly). Unfortunately, it didn't taste nearly as funky as it smelled. You can tell there was a slight brett influence, but it was mostly overrun by the roasted malts.

I got it from a fine wine and beer retailer here in Indy. It hasn't been rated a whole lot on beeradvocate, so it must be a bit of a rare find. The shophand recommended it to me.

I just made a small 1 cup starter. Time to see if it is viable. I would love to have this in my persimmon brown.
So two nights ago, I took my brown ale and transferred some on to 2 one-gallon jugs each with 2 lbs of smushed persimmons. I had half a gallon left over, so I bottled it as is. I pitched the dregs of the Porticus in to one of the jugs and left the other be. Best I can tell, they used Brett Claussenii. I've read that export stouts and porters sometimes naturally obtained a mild brett character, so this would jive with the style of beer.

I wanted to wait longer to pitch to see if my Brett starter was 100% viable, but I needed to free up a 5 gallon carboy. Fermentation has started again in both gallon jugs.

Now I want to know what I can expect from this. I checked the FG and it is 1.011 down from 1.046. The persimmons should add a few gravity points. The ale sits at about 21 IBU and really seems like a perfect vehicle for the Brett. If left alone, how low should I expect the FG to go? Should I heat up an ounce or two of DME and pitch it to feed my brett?
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:30 PM   #88
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Sounds pretty good. I just bottled 1 gallon of my Belgian Golden Strong with Russian River dregs and 1 lb of fresh then frozen persimmons. It's about 14 months old and is now getting very sour. Some of that is probably due to the acidity of the persimmons.
http://jeffreycrane.blogspot.com/2010/10/dreg-series-russian-river-golden-sour.html

I personally really like darker beers that have a bit of roast and funk. I'm getting excited about my Old Ale that was pitched with Brett C and has been aging for a year.

The persimmons probably won't add much alcohol depending on their sugar content because of the amount of offsetting water.

It is about impossible to guess the final gravity. It just depends on so many variables. What temp did you mash? Mash thickness? What Sacc strain? and even if I did know that it is still a guess.

My advice would be to let it go for a few months. Measure gravity and take a taste. Then adjust from there. You can add more fruit, dextrose, lactose, DME, fresh wort or nothing. What you add depends on where you envision the beer going.

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Old 11-10-2011, 04:51 PM   #89
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Thank you for the quick response. I mashed at 152 using the BiaB method. I tried to mash higher, but did not hit my temperature like I wanted. I used S04 as my yeast. My question about the FG was more about me making sure that what I did can produce some level of funk. For now I'll leave it alone and check back on it some time in late winter.

And I'm interested myself in trying a a strong, dark sour ale. Porticus would have been perfect had the funk been upped 20%. I plan on doing a Kate the Great clone and try to sour a gallon of that. I have a bottle JP Oro De Calabaza, but it's a couple years old. I may try something else for my souring.

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Old 11-10-2011, 08:44 PM   #90
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Let me clarify something about adding bugs. I should really change the title of this thread from "sour" to "wild" (actually I need a better name since these yeasts and bacteria aren't really wild anymore)

If you add just Brettanomyces, depending on the strain, you may or may not get any sourness. The amount of acid produced also depends on the amount of oxygen and available food sources. And most typically Brett will produce acetic acid.

If oxygen and the food sources are kept low then very little or no acid will be produced. But you will still develop the funky smells and flavors that Brett is known for. And the amount of funkiness is mostly dependent on the amount of time from my experience. Orval is a great example of this.

Most of the souring will come from pediococcus and/or lactobacillus. The are lactic acid producers which also happens to be the most mild and preferred acid. So if a certain level of sourness is wanted then make sure that these bacteria have food when they are active in the wort.

The reason I say this is because you need to know what organisms are in the dregs and condition of your wort so that you know the possibilities of the finished beer.

For example, I like roasty, malty beers with funk, but in my opinion I don't think that very much sourness mixes well with roast. So if I'm adding dregs to achieve this, I will first ferment out the beer with a relatively high attenuating English strain then add dregs that are Brett only. It is also important to make the wort knowing it will be aged for a long time, so I would mash extra high to ensure the malt and body feel full.

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