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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Pitching on a sour cake concerns/questions
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Old 08-07-2010, 03:15 AM   #1
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Default Pitching on a sour cake concerns/questions

I recently brewed my first sour beer, a flander's red. I let it sit in the primary for about 3 weeks or so before racking it to secondary. From the very start, i did not want to waste my roeselare blend on just one beer so i planned to pitch a second brown to be soured on top of the cake.

So I brewed up a brown, racked the red, and pitched the brown on the yeast cake. Fermentation was evident almost immediately and was in full swing within a few hours. I kept the carboy in a waterbath with ice and the outside thermometer said between 68-72 during the fermentation every time i checked it. my concern is that all "normal" fermentation was done in about 2 maybe 2 and a half days and the smell is very boozy/skunky. Maybe it got warm while i was at work and finished hot? I work long shifts sometimes so it was a good 12 hours that i was away. I've never pitched on top of a cake before, sour or reg brewers yeast. Usually i propagate my yeast and pitch each bach to specification with a starter.

I guess my questions are these;
1. is it normal when pitching to a cake for it to ferment out this fast?
2. can i treat this sour slurry like i would normal yeast slurry? i mean, just wash it and store it in the fridge like i do other "normal" yeast so I can use it again in the future or not have to pitch on top of such a large amount of yeast?
3. should i have initially maybe halved or quartered the amount of yeast in the fermenter by dumping it out? With the possibility that this brown may have fermented out hot, I'm going to want to save some of this yeast & bug mix to do another batch in a few weeks, what do you feel is the best way to preserve your brett/bug combo? (i added the dregs of a couple beers into the brown as well)

Any help/feedback would be appreciated. I have pictures and maybe more detail of the brewnotes @ reverendtenhigh.blogspot.com

Thanks!

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Old 08-08-2010, 02:45 AM   #2
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1. Yes, it will usually finish sooner because the yeast is already active and ready to continue its hallowed task.

2. Not sure about this one. If you plan on brewing another sour soon, like you mention, then you probably could get away with it. Not sure what washing the yeast will do to the bacteria in it though; you may want to research that a bit more before you do it.

3. I haven't saved any brett/bug combo before, but I would gather that you save it similarly to any other strain.

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Old 08-08-2010, 02:55 AM   #3
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I've not done any of the three questions you've asked, so I don't have a definitive answer. But I will say, RDWHAHB. You'll wind up with beer. Whether it's drinkable or not, you won't know for a long time. If, after a long time has passed and it's still not palatable, maybe cooking with it will work.

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Old 08-08-2010, 10:43 AM   #4
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Its gonna suck. Just give it to me so you don't have to deal with it. I'll trade you an empty carboy for your full one.

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Old 08-08-2010, 07:31 PM   #5
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1. yes
2. I wouldnt wash it, use a small portion in future batches, although I wouldve suggested leaving the red on the cake far longer than you did, 3wks is very quick
3. I would just leave the sour on the cake until you are ready to repitch then siphon some out and use it

I would probably not reuse the cake on a beer that you think got hot, it could have altered the yeast/bugs to produce undesirable compounds, and on a 1yr+ beer I wouldnt take chances

In the future plan to leave the beer sit a lot longer before you rack, sours are slow and need time, sitting on the cake wont hurt things at all

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Old 08-08-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, people. I thought 3 weeks would be long enough. I guess my thought was that the sacc would settle out in a week and the extra 2 weeks would give the brett time enough to get going and be transferred over with the beer when i racked. I figured with a whole year left to sit, as long as I got some of the bugs/brett with the beer, it would be alright...and i'm sure it will be.

Adam, get off the internet and get brewing. Your long overdue for a batch and my beer closet is running low. Actually, I take that back, go buy some kegs so we can use all the extra carboys for sour beer

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Kegged: Third Eye Pale Ale, Orange Wheat
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:59 AM   #7
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I'm at work. I think they would frown on brewing here.

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Old 08-09-2010, 03:21 AM   #8
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Roeselare is far better the second time around, and even better the third in my opinion. You'll be fine.

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Old 08-09-2010, 09:47 PM   #9
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Keep us updated on how well it works. I just wonder if by racking you can get enough of the bugs in order to sour the beer. Maybe it will just take longer to develop the sourness and flavors.

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Old 08-09-2010, 11:39 PM   #10
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Keep us updated on how well it works. I just wonder if by racking you can get enough of the bugs in order to sour the beer. Maybe it will just take longer to develop the sourness and flavors.
it will sour, but 1st pitchings are slow, I generally suggest adding some maltodextrin to make sure things move along, also removing the cake removes a source of food/nutrients from the brett and bacteria, no real harm in moving it that fast but it will probably be a bit cleaner than if it was left on the cake
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