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Old 08-16-2012, 01:29 PM   #11
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My tactic for brewing a lambic or other sour beers is to under pitch. Especially in a mixed ferment sour saison or a lambic. I'll take a vial of bug farm, and just pour 1/4 of the bottle into a 10 gal batch to force the microbes to fight for growth. I figure when it comes to spontaneous inoculation via a coolship the wort is not receiving the standard 1mil cells/ml/degree plato. So with that said I avoid pitching the standard ale guidelines for yeast on sours and wild beers depending on the beer. I want a higher level of esters produces from the get go from stressed yeast because the brett will metabolize some of those esters into other flavors/aromas. It's like taking a drastically underpitched tripel and only pitching half the needed yeast. You end up with a phenolic ester soup, but if you add brett the esters get tamed and even out.

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Old 08-16-2012, 05:55 PM   #12
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Interesting. Have you been able to do side by side comparisons to see the differences? If not, I might take that approach on my next batch or two.

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Old 08-17-2012, 12:41 AM   #13
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Nothing side by side, but I did a saison with a proper pitching rate using ECY20. Then I did a lambic with ECY20 and I got more flavor and compexity in the lambic that is only 6 months old at this point. The complexity could be from the turbid mash or it is due to the decreased pitching rate. They both fermented about the same rate though so it doesn't seem the lambic wort did a whole lot to slow the culture down.

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Old 08-17-2012, 02:35 AM   #14
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I'm going through almost the exact same process right now. I have a 2L flask of wort that i've been dumping dregs from sours i enjoy in to it. I've "fed" it once and i have the beginning of a pellicle going. Just to add to the conversation, i'm thinking of brewing saturday. Is chilling and decanting the spent wort in the starter a good move or would i be decanting the bugs? It's about 1.5L worth of wort so i'm not sure i want to pitch it all, although that is an option.

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinghole View Post
Nothing side by side, but I did a saison with a proper pitching rate using ECY20. Then I did a lambic with ECY20 and I got more flavor and compexity in the lambic that is only 6 months old at this point. The complexity could be from the turbid mash or it is due to the decreased pitching rate. They both fermented about the same rate though so it doesn't seem the lambic wort did a whole lot to slow the culture down.
Interesting. One thing that I would like to sort out (which is tied to this) is the difference between primary Brett fermentation vs. secondary fermentation. There seems to be a good deal of research about primary Brett fermentations ending up very similar in nature to Sacc. ferments whereas adding Brett to secondary starts to really bring out the funk. I haven't seen it stated explicitly, but maybe Brett when fed a steady diet of "easy" sugars ferments out (and then peters out) like Sacc., but when fed only complex sugars starts throwing the funky esters.

That's a long way of me saying maybe there is something to the turbid mash bringing a high level of complex starches / sugars to the table and bringing out the real funk in the Brett. In addition, underpitching forces lots of replication which many times can result in (oddly enough) higher attenuation and significantly more esters (expected). There's a good exchange between Garret Oliver and the dude from Brew Science blog about this. Sounds like it was a best of both worlds scenario possibly - low pitching creating lots of new cells struggling and fermenting out everything in it's path but throwing tons of esters along with them eating a higher portion of complex sugars making them throw even more esters providing that higher level of flavor complexity / funk you got out of your lambic.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:17 AM   #16
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The saison is no slump in the flavor department it's just that the turbid mashed lambic has more complexity. I'm about to do a big batch of saison tomorrow 8 gal bret trois and 8 gal wild card mix of yeast and bacteria from two years of sour beers. I'm just going to let it roll with only the pitch of the mason jar.

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