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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > inactive bacteria
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:38 PM   #1
elenchus
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I am doing three sour beers, one is a dark ale with brett brux, one is a light ale with brett lamb, and the other is a mixture of the two. I believe I made the mistake of pitching the bacteria when I racked to carboys, following two weeks of primary. I hadn't gotten any pellicle, so I tasted and got zero sour notes after about a month. I know I need to be patient and age them, but I was concerned I messed up, and I believe I did. I tried restarting by boiling some light malt extract and pitching it in all three carboys. The mixture is showing quick pellicle formation within days, the brett lamb is showing a little, and the brett brux is showing nothing. Any thoughts on what I can do to jumpstart the brux, and maybe the lamb a little more? I don't want to just keep adding malt which should affect the flavor. I figure re-pitching the bacteria wouldn't help much. I thought about adding some malto-dextrin, but wanted an experienced opinion.

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Old 01-07-2014, 02:52 PM   #2
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Brett is a yeast, not bacteria, and won't create much in the way of acidity apart from a bit of acetic acid in the presence of oxygen. Are there some major details you are leaving out?

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Old 01-07-2014, 03:12 PM   #3
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I believe when I brewed my first lambic, I misunderstood exactly what I was pitching and was under the impression the brett was a bacteria, not a yeast. I am starting to understand where I've gone wrong. I just need to do some more research now that I understand my mistake.

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Old 01-07-2014, 03:18 PM   #4
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Gotcha. Well, still something you can enjoy and get to know the brett strains a bit, if not exactly what was intended.

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Old 01-07-2014, 03:31 PM   #5
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In my experience, with Brettanomyces beers, the B. lambicus will give you some nice cherry notes that will set the beer apart from a Sacch beer. The B. brux was unremarkable.

I love the Wyeast Roeselare blend for souring. At this point, if you really want to sour it, you could split a pouch of Lacto between the carboys. It really should sour in 2 months. Next time, try that Wyeast blend - it has both the yeast and the bacteria.

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Old 01-08-2014, 01:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elenchus View Post
I am doing three sour beers, one is a dark ale with brett brux, one is a light ale with brett lamb, and the other is a mixture of the two. I believe I made the mistake of pitching the bacteria when I racked to carboys, following two weeks of primary. I hadn't gotten any pellicle, so I tasted and got zero sour notes after about a month. I know I need to be patient and age them, but I was concerned I messed up, and I believe I did. I tried restarting by boiling some light malt extract and pitching it in all three carboys. The mixture is showing quick pellicle formation within days, the brett lamb is showing a little, and the brett brux is showing nothing. Any thoughts on what I can do to jumpstart the brux, and maybe the lamb a little more? I don't want to just keep adding malt which should affect the flavor. I figure re-pitching the bacteria wouldn't help much. I thought about adding some malto-dextrin, but wanted an experienced opinion.
I wouldn't expect anything in the space of a month. You pitched a small amount of brett into an alcohol environment with no O2. You did it right by the way. However it is going to take a long time for the brett population to build. Come back and see what it is like in a year. The brett wil probaly continue to devlop the beer for a couple of years.

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At this point, if you really want to sour it, you could split a pouch of Lacto between the carboys. It really should sour in 2 months. Next time, try that Wyeast blend - it has both the yeast and the bacteria.
The beers have alcohol and hops. Do you really think he will have any succes with lacto.
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:45 AM   #7
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Let these beers age. If you have provided a bit more food for the yeast your brett will get to work. Just give it some time 3-4 months. Taste along the way, as long as your gravity isn't continuing to drop you can bottle whenever you like the flavor profile.

Another option if you are looking to sour these up is to brew a batch of sour beer (with lacto pedio and brett) then make blends of this new sour beer and the originals.

Good luck and keep us updated!

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Old 01-08-2014, 04:25 AM   #8
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The beers have alcohol and hops. Do you really think he will have any succes with lacto.
Probably not. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:53 PM   #9
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I pitched some lacto and pedio into all three carboys and I'm going to let it go for another month or two and give them a taste to see where they stand, but I won't bottle them until at least June since I'm restarting the aging clock after pitching the bacteria. I've been making extensive notes for each step I take in this hodgepodge of an attempt at brewing sour beer, including all of your suggestions, which I greatly appreciate!

What I found odd was the lambic I brewed prior to these was a smashing success, but apparently I just got lucky. I also went online and bought a book on sour beers, so I will read that before I embark on my next attempt.

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Old 01-09-2014, 01:34 PM   #10
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I pitched some lacto and pedio into all three carboys and I'm going to let it go for another month or two and give them a taste to see where they stand, but I won't bottle them until at least June since I'm restarting the aging clock after pitching the bacteria. I've been making extensive notes for each step I take in this hodgepodge of an attempt at brewing sour beer, including all of your suggestions, which I greatly appreciate!

What I found odd was the lambic I brewed prior to these was a smashing success, but apparently I just got lucky. I also went online and bought a book on sour beers, so I will read that before I embark on my next attempt.
Reports on staggered pitching schedules (sacc, then brett, then LAB) are that they can be successful in a barrel but do not typically result in the desired sourness in carboys. Possible reasons for this are micro oxidation, the bugs having a "home" in the wood, adaptation of strains already within the barrel, etc. Typical time frame for souring is 1-3 years at cellar-ish temps, unless you're doing it Jolly Pumpkin style and going with short barrel contact time, allowing the acidity to further develop in the bottle (risk of bottle bombs for the inexperienced). Of course things will progress faster the warmer it is, but this is not necessarily for the better.
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