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Old 03-04-2013, 09:03 PM   #1
terrapinj
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Default Too Many Different Bugs/Dregs?

Going to be attempting my 1st aged sour in the next couple months, likely Flanders Red/Brown.

My plan as of now is to use Roeselare for primary for a few months then rack to secondary and add some misc bottle dregs (RR, Jolly Pumpkin, maybe the Bruery etc) and possibly split some of the batch onto fruit and eventually add some oak to some/all of the batch.

Can you have too many different bugs/blends from bottle dregs that would create muddled flavors like using too many different malts/hops or will more misc cultures provide more complexity?

Is it worthwhile to try to harvest/step up the dregs 1st or just pitch them directly?

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Old 03-05-2013, 12:28 PM   #2
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The microbes will compete, and by the end they'll likely be only a few dominant strains. The more you pitch the harder it'll be to know what microbes are actually at work, but it should still make a fine beer. I tend to do 2-3 bottles worth in primary.

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Old 03-05-2013, 05:58 PM   #3
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thanks so much for the reply - big fan of your website btw

do you pitch the dregs in primary as the sole yeast/bugs or do you pitch in addition to sacch or another blend?

is there any advantage to adding the dregs to secondary vs primary w/ Roeselare?

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Old 03-05-2013, 07:34 PM   #4
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I always pitch some brewer's yeast. I'd rather not make a mixed starter, so I usually just toss in a half cup of slurry of whatever I’ve got laying around. Sometimes I’ll pitch a blend as well, but I’ve been just as happy with just dregs for sourness/funk.

Can’t think of any reason to wait on the dregs/bugs, unless you are worried about getting them into your primary fermentor. However, I never got enough sourness after a clean primary fermentation unless I’m aging in an oak barrel.

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Old 03-05-2013, 11:00 PM   #5
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i only have a 5g carboy and plastic ale pales so the plan is to start in the bucket for a few months then rack to glass to reduce headspace/permeability. i wasn't sure if it would be beneficial to add more bugs after racking to secondary to compensate for anything that may be left behind or if adding different bugs down the line added more complexity. since it's such a long time commitment i'm probably over thinking it and obviously i'd like to get it right the 1st time

sounds like pitching dregs in primary along with the roeselare will help encourage more lactic acid formation plus give the brett from the dregs plenty of time to get funky

also from reading up on your sour adventures, it sounds like it's ok to leave on a small amount of oak spiral for extended aging (6+ months)?

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Old 03-05-2013, 11:05 PM   #6
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Can’t think of any reason to wait on the dregs/bugs, unless you are worried about getting them into your primary fermentor. However, I never got enough sourness after a clean primary fermentation unless I’m aging in an oak barrel.
What about the killer RR bottling yeast? I thought I saw you mention not pitching it in primary, but maybe I'm misunderstanding.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:06 PM   #7
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i saw comments about not making a starter with RR dregs as it will encourage the growth of the wine yeast above the other microbes but I would think just pitching dregs in primary wouldn't be an issue as long as another larger sacch strain is pitched

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Old 03-06-2013, 07:33 PM   #8
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What about the killer RR bottling yeast? I thought I saw you mention not pitching it in primary, but maybe I'm misunderstanding.
The wine yeast that Russian River uses for bottling is Enoferm RP-15 aka Rockpile, a Syrah strain.

I too have been curious/wary about the impact of pitching dregs, or building a starter with dregs, that have a dry wine yeast as a bottle conditioning strain. I'd like to think that it would be a negligible effect, but would love to get some additional info.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:59 PM   #9
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What about the killer RR bottling yeast? I thought I saw you mention not pitching it in primary, but maybe I'm misunderstanding.
Never had an issue pitching RR dregs directly with the primary yeast, but I'd bet it would cause issues if you got it going and then pitched it into primary with brewer's yeast. I'd assume by the time it gets into gear from some 6 month old dregs, a healthy primary fermentation is done (and even if it isn't quite at terminal, the bugs will finish the fermentation eventually).
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:08 PM   #10
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The wine yeast that Russian River uses for bottling is Enoferm RP-15 aka Rockpile, a Syrah strain.

I too have been curious/wary about the impact of pitching dregs, or building a starter with dregs, that have a dry wine yeast as a bottle conditioning strain. I'd like to think that it would be a negligible effect, but would love to get some additional info.
RP15 is a "killer yeast", it will suppress and eventually kill brewer's yeast. now the amount of RP15 contained in the dregs of one bottle is pretty low so your sacc should get a good head-start before the RP15 can make the brew too toxic.

this would be an interesting thing to look into: when (and if) the sacc is killed off? there is a chance the sacc is killed before it finishes, and the RP15 won't touch the maltose, thus leaving more for the bugs. or maybe the RP15 doesn't have time to take hold before the army of sacc takes over.

i've read that making a starter out of sour dregs is a bad idea because it disturbs the balance of the bugs. some need oxygen to grow, others can't live in the presence of too much oxygen - thus a starter will favor some bugs over the others. best to just pitch them as they are.
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