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Old 05-20-2010, 02:22 AM   #1
DanZarrella
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Default Yeast & Bug Collection for Innoculating a Barrel

I'm getting my first barrel (a small new one, 2.5 gallons, American oak) so I'm building a bug farm from cultured dregs of wild/funky/sour beers to inoculate it with.
Here's what I plan to use:

Orval
Oud Beersel Oude Gueuze Vieille
Ichtegem's Grand Cru
Russian River Supplication
Rodenbach Classic
Allagash Interlude
Ommegang Ommegeddon
Cantillion Kriek
Drie Fontenein Oude Gueuze
Boon Gueuze
Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
Fantome Saison


Thoughts? Anything I'm missing that I should add?

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Old 05-20-2010, 05:24 AM   #2
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Probably won't get much if anything from the Rodenbach, but the rest of the list looks good.

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Old 05-20-2010, 11:42 AM   #3
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If you can find an older La Folie, get one of those (I've been told the newer ones are filtered but I cannot confirm).
St. Louis makes a sweet "lambic" if you want more variety of Lambic.
I think all Bruery beers (out of CA) have a Brett yeast in them but it could be the same as Orval uses...
Avery had an all Brett beer a few years back that I get good results from but no idea on what kind of Brett it is.
Wild Devil is fermented, at least partially, with Brett.
Petrus makes a couple of sours that aren't hard to find (an Oud Bruin and an Aged Pale) but I've had little success getting their yeasts to grow but you could try that.
Monk's Cafe Red is another one that you can get some dregs from that may help.
Also, I've not had much luck getting Fantome to grow but I know you can so good luck on that one.

That's pretty much what I've got in my sour bug jars along with some that you've listed up there. I also add various Belgian yeasts to the mix, as well. I figure they'll be good food once they die and, at worst, they'll add some interesting notes to the initial fermentation... once I get my damn lambics started!

One more note: If you are adventurous, you can add your own wild culture. Just follow the guide here and capture a wild yeast or two or hundreds and allow them to mellow. I've got a pretty good wild one I captured this past winter. It is a mix of ale and lager yeasts as well as other stuff, I'm assuming. But, this wasn't my first capture (nor the last) so don't expect perfection on the first round if you've not tried previously.

GOOD LUCK!

And post back with some results in a few years (I'll be sure to send you my address so you can send me a beer to sample).

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Old 05-20-2010, 03:35 PM   #4
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Nice list of bugs, should do well.

I would worry about doing a sour beer in a new barrel though. There is a lot of wood character and a lot of surface area in there for a long aged sour beer. You may need to age a few beers in their briefly (weeks) and then put them in glass/plastic until they are ready to bottle.

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Old 05-20-2010, 03:41 PM   #5
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I was planning on holding some white wine in it for a while to after cleaning with SO2 to leach out some of the oakyness.

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Old 05-20-2010, 04:50 PM   #6
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It will still leach several times more tannins and oak / wood flavor than will a larger, used barrel simply due to surface area of beer to wood. Were it mine, I'd probably age the beer in glass or stainless for at least a couple of years prior to putting everything (dregs and all) into the oak barrel that's previously held wine. I might even age a few other beers in there first. I'd be wary of aging beer in the barrel, used or not, for more than 3 or so months without trying it once or twice a month to check on the character. On the other side of the coin is the fact that some bacteria, if what you read is to be believed, eat tannins...

The reason I recommend glass or stainless is due to the rate O2 will get through plastic and thus into your beer. Plastic will allow 10s of times more O2 into your fermentation than will glass or stainless. Your wood barrel will allow many times more O2 in than, say, a large (50+ gallon) wine barrel. Glass and stainless will allow much less O2 (but still more than a typical large wine barrel or huge ones like Rodenbach uses).

The reason you want very little O2 is due to acetobacter which is an aerobic bacteria. This, if you didn't know, is the primary bug that produces acetic acid (vinegar). In a plastic bucket for 2-3 years, you'll likely wind up with a lot sourer beer than you'd want to and it may not be drinkable, even when blended. Even in your wood barrel, 2+ years would likely get more acetic acid than a "typical" lambic would have. Brett also uses O2 but can sustain on what little is in the headspace of the fermenter or that gets in through the barrel.

In any event, I still wish you the best of luck! With a little patience, you'll do well.

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Old 05-20-2010, 05:10 PM   #7
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I was thinking of using the barrel to age portions of sour/funky beers for shortish times, to then blend back in with the rest of the batch to age for a long time in glass.
I'm hoping this will allow some oak flavor, minimal (not objectionable) oxidation, and bug/yeasties innoculation.
After I get some more experience with barrels, I'll move towards getting a bigger one.

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Old 05-20-2010, 06:40 PM   #8
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You can also soak with warm water several times before use to help soak out some of the oakiness a bit

Blending is a really good idea, and I highly highly recommend it for anyone serious about sours, the best I have tasted/brewed were always blended

Personally I think a really nice oaky sour with a healthy portion of raspberries would be a good start, something like gargamel but a bit more oaky and with a stronger hint of vanilla

You might also consider using some JP calabaza blanca, Ive had great luck with it, and some Cuvee Rene, its actually a decent gueuze and is not pasteurized, both are relatively cheap and easily had

One thing I do suggeest doing is a small "starter" of each bottle, as Ive had some bottles that produce nasty results and I wouldnt want them to ruin a 5gal batch, you wont know the full profile in a month or two, but it should give you a decent indication of the way the beer would develop with those yeasts/bugs

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Old 05-20-2010, 06:46 PM   #9
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Yeah I'm doing each bottle of dregs as a small 200ml starter before mixing them.

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