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Old 06-23-2014, 05:18 PM   #1
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Default Sourdough to make sour beer?

Have any of you brewers and mad scientists out there tried dropping some sourdough starter into your fermentation? I've got about 20 gallons of a 6-month old starter at work that smells wonderful. Both the beer and the bread are soured from the same bacteria: lactobacillus.

I'm thinking about trying it since it's such an inexpensive style to make anyway, but if anybody has any experience to relate I'd love to hear it!

Here's to new experiments!

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Old 06-23-2014, 06:30 PM   #2
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Should work fine. I have not played with wild cultures much but a good brewing buddy has and had some very nice results.

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Old 06-23-2014, 06:40 PM   #3
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I have often wondered about doing this but my sourdough doesn't smell like anything I'd want near my mouth until it's cooked ( though a mate does drink the liquid off his )

There's a uk brewery that does produce a sourdough - http://wildbeerco.com/beers/sourdough/

I spoke to someone who knows them and was told they had a lot of trouble getting something drinkable so you might have to try a few batches.

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Old 06-25-2014, 04:32 AM   #4
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Now I really want to try a Wild Beer. Almost every one of those sounds very interesting. Though I don't think our 6 month old starter will compare even slightly with a 58 year old starter. Nonetheless...

Will return with progress on my sourdough beer... soon?

New question. Does anybody have any Wild Beer beers in the US? I would love to try just about every single one of those I saw on their website.

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Old 06-25-2014, 06:02 AM   #5
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Actually I'm willing to bet that after a certain amount of time it doesn't matter how old your starter is - it'll have reached an equilibrium between all the species living in it and it probably doesn't take that long. Of course each time you add flour you're adding more bugs but few of those will get a chance to take in an already active ferment.

Got a very vigorous ferment in a starter off their wild saison. I'll treat myself to a sourdough and clone the dregs off that - both for bread and brewing ( wonder how the bret will come out in bread ). Willing to post slants after the house move is done.

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Old 06-25-2014, 04:28 PM   #6
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Almanac release a sourdough ale commercially. They're available online from a number of places.

Although it's likely to be lactobacillus, without doing some lab work there's no way of knowing exactly what combination of lactic acid producing bacteria the sourdough contains. It will have number of other yeast and bacteria as well.

I've thought about making a test batch of sourdough beer, maybe I'll try that next time I have some extra wort. Personally, I think I'll pitch a little brett with it to help clean up any off flavors from the sourdough.

I don't think the age of the culture has any bearing on it's quality. If you take starter 'x' that's been maintained for 100 years and starter 'y' that I made two weeks ago and use the same flour to maintain them, they will become very similar over time as the resident microflora of the grain takes over. Nothing to do with brewing really, just a thought.

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Old 06-25-2014, 05:58 PM   #7
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I'm drinking the wildco sourdough right now, it's not what I'd expect at all from a beer.

It's pale golden, almost clear and with no head. Taste is fruity, tart - tasting more malic than lactic, and ever so slightly bitter.

It's very well balanced, tastes extremely good but in a blind tasting I would swear I was drinking a cider made with bittersweet apples - and a good one at that. I'd love to know what their hopping schedule was.

Needless to say, I've saved the sediment. I may never get round to pitching it in a wort as I've my own wild yeast to pursue but at the very least it's going to start a new sourdough for me.

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Old 06-26-2014, 03:46 AM   #8
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Came across this video on youtube recently and thought it might be of some interest to this thread:

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Old 06-26-2014, 05:38 AM   #9
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That wildco sourdough is really nice!

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Old 07-01-2014, 08:27 PM   #10
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The Wild Beer Co Sourdough tasted like a pretty normal Berliner Weisse to me. It was really good, but I didn't get any cider character. I emailed them awhile back asking how they determined a pitching rate.

Quote:
I messed around with adding a culture strait into the fermenter at the time of pitching for about a year and found it was rather difficult not to get off flavours. I settled on the following process for sourdough
Mash at 65c for one hour
boil for 15 min with no hops.
fill each oak barrel 80% full with wort at 25-27c no o2 added
add cultured lactic bacteria from Hobbs House culture as well as brett c.
This is then left for 3-4 months at about 14-20c for fermentation
Taste all barrels and blend accordingly.

If I was going to pitch a sourdough starter into a beer now with what i have learnt and know now I would brew the beer to a low abv 3-4.2ish%, ferment with brett, use o2/shaking, no IBUs. and when the fermentation has nearly finished the ph should be low enough to kill alot of bad bacteria and yeasts so the good ones will mature the beer over 4-12 months.
Ether which way you do it I would give it 4 months tell you even think it might be ready. for long term aging use glass or stainless or bottles.
If you're deadly curious about the beer, I can bring back a bottle with me when I move back from the UK in August and then post it to you. I will hopefully have enough space in my luggage with all the beers I picked up in Belgium.
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