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Old 08-06-2012, 02:47 AM   #1
mmonacel
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Default Sour beer starter - prepping for first lambic

I'm in the process of starting up a sour beer pipeline and wanted to prep a starter for a lambic I'll be brewing soon. My wife loves the really over the top acidic / sour Hansson's Artisinal stuff so I'll be tossing dregs into the starter as we finish off bottles. I may toss in dregs of other lambics if I like the profile along the way. I just did a 1L normal starter w/ some yeast nutrient and cooled it down, flamed the lip of the first bottle and put the dregs in. My plan is to purge out the head space with CO2 and put a stopper and airlock on. Over the course of the next month or so I'll be adding in a few more dregs and I'll come back to re-feed with fresh wort over other month or so until I'm ready to brew up the lambic.

Does this sound like the right way to go about this?

I also have a single BugFarm dated from early July. My plan is to brew a 10g batch. When should I add the Bug Farm to the starter wort (or not at all?).

Thanks!

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Old 08-06-2012, 02:54 AM   #2
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Also would basement temps (about low 70s this time of year), fermentation temps (mid-60s), or fridge temps (low 40s) be best here?

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Old 08-06-2012, 03:57 AM   #3
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make sure to pitch a normal yeast strain with that starter as it is likely to be predominantly brettanomyces and bacteria

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Old 08-06-2012, 03:58 AM   #4
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yes basement temps will be fine

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Old 08-06-2012, 04:04 AM   #5
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Your basement temps are fine. So are your fermentation temps. Fridge temps are too low. I ferment my lambic at ambient temperature start to finish. I brew it annually in December. It stays in an upstairs bathroom where the temperature during cooler months (we really only have a few) hangs in the low 60s at night to the mid 70s during the day. At the hottest part of summer it gets into the mid 70s at night but probably gets into the low 80s during the day. It's a touch warmer than I would like but I feel like the ambient fluctuations give a bit of terrior effect to the beer.

You're fine with your bottle dregs. I'm not sure whether you need a starter with bugfarms since I can't ever seem to score it when a new release is issued, but I'm sure somebody will chime in with an answer to that for you.

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Old 08-06-2012, 12:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReverseApacheMaster View Post
I'm not sure whether you need a starter with bugfarms since I can't ever seem to score it when a new release is issued, but I'm sure somebody will chime in with an answer to that for you.
Yeah - my question about the BugFarm is that it's a 5g pitchable quantity. If I want to make a 10g batch I'm guessing I'll need to step that up, but I'm not quite sure how fast that can be stepped up. I realize it may change the ratio of bugs slightly but I'm not too concerned there. I'm just not sure if it's a 1-2 week thing or a 1-2 month thing.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:36 PM   #7
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If you are pitching both bugfarms and the dregs you are probably ok on the brett and bacteria front. I'd add some extra saccharomyces to make sure you get a good initial fermentation. A good Belgian strain would be my preference but any will do.

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Old 08-07-2012, 10:26 PM   #8
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Bugs and brett don't need to be stepped up. Preference is for not stepping up Brett and letting it reproduce anaerobically. Bugs will not reproduce that quickly (short time with a starter).

It is the sacc yeast you want to be healthy, so that it can create the alcohol to protect the beer before any nasty critters have a chance to take hold.

To answer your question, the bugfarm will be fine to straight pitch to 10 gallons as long as you also have a healthy pitch of sacc yeast. I do not know if bugfarm has any sacc.

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Old 08-08-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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The bugfarm typically has an agressive saison strain in it. Have hear Al suggest a starter for it, but have only brewed five gallons with a single pitch.

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Old 08-08-2012, 02:44 PM   #10
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Good to know - thanks for the tip!

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