Saving sour blend
Is it feasible to save, store, then reuse a slurry of sour blend that was used over the course of a year to produce something like, say, a Flanders Red?
I ask in comparision to saving washed sacch. yeast, and how a washed sample is technically only "good" for a few weeks/months (using a proper starter). Does the lacto/pedio/brett mix go "bad" after a certain length of storage?
In attempting to produce/maintain a blend from batch-to-batch, it seems like pitching dregs from commercial beers would be too variable of a process, and that saving the bug profile would be a more reliable practice.
Hopefully that makes sense to someone. Thanks.
even with known bugs the whole process is vary variable, things like temp, sugars concentrations, water chemistry, etc, etc, can significantly affect the final outcome of a beer and can be very difficult to replicate each time
pitching dregs in my opinion is never a bad thing, reusing a yeast cake is also a good thing, however a bugged cake is much different than a sacch cake, as with continual repitchings the bacteria will completely dominate the sacch and youll get an ever increasingly sour beer, to a point this is good, and I generally reuse a portion of a yeast cake to start a new beer, but when I do I still pitch plain ol sacch with it
even going this route you cant predict how the beer will turn out, was the portion of bugged cake high in brett L, B, C? or pedio/lacto/aceto etc, you just never know
Id say for those who are really interested in sours to plan on brewing many sours and blending, as the best homebrewed sours that Ive brewed or tasted have nearly always been blended
+1 on Ryane's reply. Blending is a good thing. As you repitch sour slurries you have no control over the balance of the microbes hence the "wild" aspect of the process. The last thing you want is an overabundance of pedio resulting in a butter bomb. I know someone who keeps a sour house strain with waaaay too much pedio out of balance and he makes a very nice butter-kriek (friendly sarcasm here).
I buy the balanced Wyeast mixes and then pitch dregs if the mixes don't do what I want them to. It's a gamble every time but it eventually works. Just give it time. And most sour projects will "clean up" after several months too.
However don't pitch too many dregs from commercial bottles, and don't pitch old ones. Quick story:
A friend had a sour tasting after bringing a ridiculous amount of sour commercial bottles back from Belgium. No joke - every lambic brewery was represented. 22 bottles, ranging from new creations to "vintage" bottles from 98. I collected most of the dregs from all of these bottles...and pitched them into a batch of lambic. 4 months later I had wonderful batch of nail polish remover. Acetobacter was completely out of control...it actually burned my nose. Unblendable. I was forced to dump the batch.
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