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Old 10-03-2012, 12:44 AM   #1
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Default Pellicle is thinning - what should I do?

So brewed my first sour beer (Flanders red) using the Flemmish Red ECY02 East Coast Yeast which is supposed to have Saccharomyces, Brett, lacto & Pedio. I went with plastic better bottles after reading the Mad Fermentationist's blog. I pitched the yeast right in the better bottle and it has been there since about May 19th (about 4.5 months or so). The beer fermented as any clean beer would for the first 2 days or so then the airlock activity slowed then stopped. I was checking on it every few weeks and I noticed a pellicle covering the entire top of the beer after around 2 months or so. Around 3 months in however, it looked as if the pellicle started breaking up (thinning out). It actually hasn't changed much from the picture in the last month but I am worried something is wrong. Oh, it been in my dining room in a cardboard box the whole time (avg 74 deg) with airlock. I actually had a chance to talk to Lauren Salazar from New Belgium (she spoke at our club meeting) and she said it sounded like it could be getting too vinegary because the protective pellicle is growing too much lacto (not sure if I got that right, she said it more correctly). I just know she said I could have 5 gallons of vinegar.

She said to taste it and see. Sounds simple right? So I just pop the airlock off and stick the wine thief in and sample? Won't taking the air-lock off let in a crap ton of oxygen? What I am saying is that do I need to be 100% ready to bottle if it actually tastes OK. My point is that I won't be able to bottle for about 1 more week (schedule). So should I wait to taste it until I get everything ready, I can either bottle it or dump it? Or will letting a little oxygen in real quick not going to be that big a deal? I'm just worried that if I taste it tonight and it tastes OK, then in a week when I get ready to bottle, it will be more vinegary due to the increased amount of oxygen I allow in during sampling.

Sorry to the long post. Any feedback is appreciated.

Edit: Forgot to mention I used de-bittered hops.

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Old 10-03-2012, 01:46 AM   #2
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Dude taste it and see what it tastes like. I rarely, if ever, get much of a pellicle in my better bottles so don't sweat it.

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Old 10-03-2012, 01:50 AM   #3
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Pellicles rise and fall as different bacteria and brett strains take control. It's nothing to worry about. At 4.5 months it needs to be left alone for a long time.

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Old 10-03-2012, 02:51 AM   #4
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I couldn't handle waiting on my Flanders. I sampled often and I think it helped having all of the oxygen exposure. My Flanders has a nice twang to it now its about a year old.

A friend of mine did a Flanders in a better bottle and kept opening for samples (because it tasted so good). He ended up winning best of show in a competition and got $500 in brewing equipment!

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Old 10-03-2012, 01:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hermsfun
I couldn't handle waiting on my Flanders. I sampled often and I think it helped having all of the oxygen exposure. My Flanders has a nice twang to it now its about a year old.

A friend of mine did a Flanders in a better bottle and kept opening for samples (because it tasted so good). He ended up winning best of show in a competition and got $500 in brewing equipment!
Do you know if he put it in the better bottle from day 1 and left it on the cake the whole time? Also, did he blend it with a younger batch?

I would also be curious as to his recipe. I did some looking and I only found 1 recipe out there, so I brewed it. I know there is a thread for one on here but I can't recall how similar it is to the one I found on the net (hopville I think).
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:27 PM   #6
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I brewed a Golden Strong ~1.070 OG with Bugfarm 5 and fermented and aged in a better bottle for ~8 months on the cake with no issue at all. The beer turned out fantastic after only 2 months in the bottle.

So I say taste it you want, take a reading, write down some tasting notes and save them in a safe place. Its fun to go back and read those notes and see how thew beer has developed over time. But I wouldnt think about bottling it until 10-12 months total, no problem leaving it in your BB for that amount of time.

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Old 10-03-2012, 03:29 PM   #7
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i have a vlaamse rood (sorry- showing off my linguistic prowess) / flanders red that i made in june, i started it off with s05 then 2/3 of the way through i pitched roeselare blend, and then racked into 3 secondary vessels; a 12.5L carboy filled close to the top, a 5L carboy with a good bit of head space, and the rest i splash racked to another 5L jug with quite a lot of the yeast cake, and then later racked to a 5L carboy again with the cake. don't exactly know what my point is, i just got excited reading this and had to reply. i will certainly post the results in a year, when i taste them separately and then maybe blend. i can say that at racking of the oxygenated one, after 2.5 months it tastes really nice, still mellow, no harsh sourness, slightly tart red winey more than anything, a hint of brett funk but not strong. no "off flavors"

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