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Old 12-24-2009, 04:19 AM   #1
Sixbillionethans
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Default Fast Lacto & Brett

I thought I'd post a quick blurb on today's brewday. I'm doing a tandem fermentation with Lactobacillus on 2/3 of batch for 24-48hrs and Brettanomyces Lambicus on the other 1/3, then combining. I haven't seen anyone post something like this, so it might be of interest.

I originally thought this approach was sacrilege, but I'm finding evidence that most craft brewers are making their sour beers with a fast all-lactobacillus "primary" fermentation followed by inoculation with brewers yeast. Raj Apte has some good info on this method on his site. The only wrinkle I'm adding is to combine the lacto ferment with an all-brett ferment. No saccharomyces at all.

Recipe based on one from Wild Brews that was based on Cuvee de Tomme. Toned down the OG a bit (1.072 down from 1.087) to mellow it out a bit and allow possible addition of cherries later. Recipe calls for a long fermentation with WY3278. I'm trying to replicate this in a much shorter time.

Basic Outline:
1. Standard mash
2. Combined runnings into main kettle to mix, split 1/3 volume into 2nd kettle
- Main kettle: boiled for 90 minutes w/o hops, chill, transfer to MT and pitch Lactobacillus WY5335 @ 120F, cover liquid w/ plastic wrap and purge airspace w/ CO2. I've done some sour mashes, and the smell of commercial lactobacillus was very similar to the sour mashes I've done (similarly awful). Ferment for 12-36 hours (check sourness), then transfer to kettle, heat to just below boiling (denature lacto), chill to 75 & add to primary fermenter
- Small kettle, boil for 90 minutes w/ hops, chill, transfer to primary fermenter, pitch Brett WY5526, ferment @ 74F.
3. Combine & ferment combo for 1-2 weeks until gravity has dropped to 1.015ish.
4. Transfer to secondary on top of 1oz of oak cubes. Age 2-3 months and bottle.

Updated Status (12/24/09)
1. Lacto fermentation is at 85F. Gravity dropped 1 pt to 1.064. Taste was sour, but not overly sour. No huge stink yet, and nothing photograph-worthy. Will give it another day.
2. Brett L fermentation went fast & furious for 24 hours, but has slowed considerably. Level too low in carboy to check gravity easily. Temp steady around 76F.

Updated Status (12/26/09)
1. Lacto fermentation down to 65F. Gravity dropped 3 pts to 1.061. Scummy looking foam developing on surface, horrible smell. Clean, tart, sour taste (when I got past the smell).
2. Brett L fermentation was pretty done looking, but I did not check gravity. Temp steady.
3. Drained lacto fermentation into brew kettle, brought to 10 min boil, chilled, added to primary fermenter.
4. Combined fermentation going strong after 12 hours. Reached very high krausen, but has since dropped a little bit.

Updated Status (12/28/09)
Krausen dropping slightly, so I added my sugars tonight. I don't know the behavior of this yeast, so unsure if the late sugar addition (vs. kettle addition) was necessary or not.

Updated Status (12/31/09)
1. The sugar addition blew the top on my airlock on 12/29. Brett L during a primary ferment gives this ginormous krausen that looks like the head on a nitro stout. Crazy stuff.
2. Did a gravity check on 12/29 and it was down to 1.020 and still bubbling away. Taste was pleasingly sour, with some good fruitiness from the Brett L fermentation. High hopes for this one.
3. Seems to have pretty well finished as of 12/30. Will leave it until weekend, then determine whether to rack onto 5# of cherries or age as is.

Updated Status (1/4/10)
Transferred and had to move to a cooler spot (primary fermenter & heater needed for another batch).
- Gravity had stuck @ 1.020. Hmmm. I've heard Brett does not display super-attenuation when used as a primary yeast. We'll see what happens.
- Flavor was a little less promising than before...more leathery and smoky with an almost meaty aroma (I've read about this).

Updated Status (1/13/10)
- Racked onto 5# of tart cherries (local, frozen) on 1/7. Gravity at time was holding at ~1.020. Held temp @ 76-80F.
- Checked gravity on 1/9, had dropped to 1.021. Flavor was promising. Tart, with fruitiness from the cherries. Airlock totally still, no bubbles.
- Moved to cold cellar (45F) to age until a keg opens up.

Tasting Notes (1/24/10)
Appearance
- Deep reddish brown, hazy in color. Not brilliantly clear.

Aroma
- No huge aroma. What is there is slightly funky, but honestly not as complex as I expected.
- Tart cherries in nose, with some malt. Increases with temperature (obviously) to a nice aroma.
- Just not really funky at all. Could easily have been an ale yeast.

Taste
- Tart, but not sour. Fruity, but not overly sweet.
- For a big and dark beer, this is suprisingly refreshing and light in mouthfeel. Although FG is too high, it doesn't feel heavy.
- The tartness definitely compliments the cherries. I wouldn't describe it as being "sour", so lactic fermentation could have been much more aggressive.
- Slight dryness/tannins from the oak, but only slight. Could easily be missed.
- Hop bitterness is just about balanced…between tartness & hops in mini-boil, it came out ok.


Lessons (Updated 1/13)
- The fast lactic ferment worked well enough. Based on the sourness achieved, and how sour I like beers, I'd do it on 100% of the batch or figure out a way to hold hot temps longer.
- 100% Brett fermentations are straightforward enough. Need a little more time to get the starter going, but normal after that.
- Jury still out on the Brett Lambicus.
- I think I way underpitched and that may have contributed to lower levels of attenuation. FG will likely be 1.018ish, where I would have like 1.010-1.012 to bring out tartness.

Overall Lessons (Updated 1/24)
- This was an experimental brew, where I wanted to learn about lactic fermentations and all-brett fermentations. I learned quite a bit.
1) Lactic fermentations:
I could have done much more. I wouldn't describe the beer as being "sour". A drier beer would have been more sour.
Either 100% lactic fermentation, or just longer fermentation (would require additional temp control, especially since I fermented in cold basement)
Although it smelled like absolute crap, it makes for a very "clean" sourness. Very little funkiness. I've heard pedio is the funkier lactic producer.
2) Brettanomyces Lambicus
Yeast package smelled like tart cherry pie, and fermentation generated some crazy airlock smells, but it produces a relatively basic beer.
Could be mistaken for an ale yeast.
My cellcount was low, which could likely have contributed to a high FG.

- This is an enjoyable beer. Heck, for all the risks I took, it could have been a dumper. But it's not great, so my fast lacto and all-brett techniques have a way to go.
- This same approach could have been nice with a saison yeast.

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Last edited by Sixbillionethans; 01-24-2010 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Final tasting updates.
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Old 12-24-2009, 06:10 AM   #2
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Intriguing.

Hope to see more updates- this sounds promising.

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Old 12-24-2009, 03:55 PM   #3
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This does sound very interesting. Please keep us posted!

In the world of sour brewing, "sacrilege" shouldn't even be in the vocabulary. If it produces a good beer, then it works. If it doesn't, then try something else next time.

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Old 12-24-2009, 03:59 PM   #4
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I have a berliner weisse fermented with lacto and Brett L. It isn't quite as sour as I would like, but the brett character is excellent and the beer is a great drinker.

Once I get it more sour, this could be my ideal berliner weisse.

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Old 12-25-2009, 04:44 AM   #5
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Lacto + Brett (any strain) = Awesome. I also would like to make a fast and good sour beer. As you stated, I can produce the lactic acid fairly quickly, but I have still need to wait 2-4weeks for Brett to eat the residual sugar so that it tastes sour, and then 4-6 weeks for decent flavor, and 6-12 months to remove bottle bomb fear. The biggest fear I have is that in the presence of a low pH, Brett will super attenuate over a period of months, leading to bottle bombs. I think there are several solutions to this (1. wait 6-12 months to bottle, 2. Make a low gravity beer and wait for the gravity to drop to 1.008 before bottling, 3. Keg, 4. Beano).
I suppose you can accelerate the process with higher secondary temperatures.
I can't really taste the sour in a sour mash, until after the sugar has been eaten by fermentation.

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Old 12-25-2009, 10:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wetherel View Post
The biggest fear I have is that in the presence of a low pH, Brett will super attenuate over a period of months, leading to bottle bombs. I think there are several solutions to this (1. wait 6-12 months to bottle, 2. Make a low gravity beer and wait for the gravity to drop to 1.008 before bottling, 3. Keg, 4. Beano).
Thanks for great comments.
I will likely keg this guy anyways.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wetherel View Post
I suppose you can accelerate the process with higher secondary temperatures.
Is anyone aware of the recommended temperature range for the brett strains, seems like the practice of brewing with them is still being developed. Should I think 80F is too high, or could I go even higher?


Quote:
Originally Posted by wetherel View Post
I can't really taste the sour in a sour mash, until after the sugar has been eaten by fermentation.
I definitely wondered about this. It would take a TON of acidity to overwhelm the sweetness of unfermented wort.
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Old 12-25-2009, 02:06 PM   #7
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The wort in my sour mash definitely tasted tart. And the end result was not even that sour.

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Old 12-27-2009, 12:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixbillionethans View Post
Is anyone aware of the recommended temperature range for the brett strains, seems like the practice of brewing with them is still being developed. Should I think 80F is too high, or could I go even higher?
You might check over at this blog:

http://brettanomyces.wordpress.com/

I have not read the entire blog just yet; so, if the answer isn't there... you might want to shoot him an email.
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:38 PM   #9
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Where did you get the lacto you pitched? Did you sprinkle some grains in there or did you use a different technique?

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Old 12-31-2009, 09:21 PM   #10
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Culture: WY5335 pitched at 120F, no starter.

On one hand, I know craft breweries are doing fast-lactic souring using the lactobacillus from grain.

On the other hand, some of the pictures I've seen of crazy bubbling nastiness from grain-inoculations scare me cuz they've got more than lactobacillus.

I went with the sure thing.

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