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Old 10-24-2011, 06:39 PM   #1
storunner13
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Default Lactobacillus Culturing

So, I'm going to try to culture some lactobacillus from grain. Here's my plan.

Create a wort starter, maybe a pint or so, 1.030 with some Wyeast nutrient. Transfer it to a sanitized soda bottle (PET) and let cool to 120F. Then, I'll add some fresh barley (and wheat...it's for the batch of the Berliner Weiss I'm going to try...) and squeeze all the air out of the bottle before sealing it with the sanitized cap and try to keep if at 90-120F for 3 days or so.

The PET bottle is to keep as much oxygen out as possible for the duration of the Lacto propagation. The temperature is to best encourage lacto propagation. Does anyone see any issues with this method, or can anyone perhaps suggest a better/easier method?

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:45 PM   #2
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Biermuncher did something similar.

here's his thread.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/ive-got-bug-118242/

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:54 PM   #3
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You'll probably have to release the cap once fermentation begins. In my experience my sour mashes have off-gassed a bit, especially at higher temps around 120F. Just partially unscrew the lid and you'll be fine.

Unless you intend on trying to isolate the lacto from everything else and keeping a pure or semi-pure culture you're probably going to have a limited time frame to use that culture before wild yeasts and other stuff starts to propagate.

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:56 PM   #4
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I routinely do a sour mash for my saison. You're on the right track.

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Old 10-24-2011, 07:31 PM   #5
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The way I figured, if the lacto gives off some gas, it will fill up the space I squeezed out, and won't be some compound which is bad for the lacto...if it get's a little pressurized, I'll just vent it quickly.

I'm just trying to avoid the garbage/vomit smells which have been associated with a sour mash...and maybe a sour mash with exposure to oxygen. I'd try to sour the whole mash, but I feel like this is a more controlled process.

Now to see if I can't find someone to drink a soda for me.....

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Old 10-30-2011, 05:59 PM   #6
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Hmmm....I'm not sure about how the culturing went. It's been 4 days, and the bottle with the starter and grains smells like cooked corn...so maybe just some DMS..? I'm nervous to taste it, but my nervousness is probably unfounded. Gosh..I should just bite the bullet to see if it's sour/taste ok-ish.

Any comments/suggestions on where I should go from here?

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Old 10-30-2011, 11:28 PM   #7
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Here is my method for partial mashes for saisons:

1. place 1 lb of grain bill in 1L of water at ~160F and let it mash for 60 min.
2. bring mini-mash to a boil, and remove from heat.
3. once the mixture has cooled <100F, add 2-3 handfuls of grain on top.
4. place plastic wrap directly over slurry to decrease o2 content.
5. use between 12-24 hours later.

It seems to me like the biggest differences between my method and the one you are using are a)volume - it seems like 500mL is not very much, b)inoculation - how much barley are you adding?, and c) temp - 120F is pretty high, how are you maintaining that temperature in a plastic bottle? Maintaining temperature is much easier in a pot on the stove.

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Old 10-31-2011, 08:10 PM   #8
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I added about 1/4-1/4 cup of barley/wheat malt to 500mL. I was keeping the temperature between 90 and 120˚ by keeping the bottle partially submerged in a pot of water on the stove (more liquid to cool down). It's been at RT for the last 3 days or so.

In the past day it has been "carbonating"...so I'm guessing there's a wild yeast in there..So...Not sure where I'll go from here. I guess this has become more of an experiment than anything else.

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Old 10-31-2011, 08:14 PM   #9
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Interesting, can't wait to see how it goes!

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Old 11-08-2011, 03:59 PM   #10
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So, if anyone wants an update, here it is...after I've been sitting on my butt for a while. Also, if anyone wants to give me a suggestion, please do!

The "starter" I made in my plastic A&W bottle (it's brown) has completely soured (it's lip-smacking tart!) and fermented (I think). It's got a bit of a cidery flavor...probably just my mind making it up from the sourness.

Anyway. So the plan is to brew today (finally). I'll probably try a decoction mash to shoot for more malt character to run contrary to the sourness/smallness of the beer. Probably protein rest at 125-130F for 20 minutes, Decoct to 148F rest for 60 minutes, then Decoct to mashout at 168F for 20 minutes. I'll probably throw in the .75oz Hallertau with the second decoction. Then do a "sparge" à la the stove-top brewing. Then I'll bring to a boil for 5 minutes to sanitize the immersion chiller and then chill.

Now here's the deal. I'll probably take a sanitized gravity reading on my starter to see if it really has fermented (there was a lot of activity, and a lot of released CO2..I'm guessing yes). If it has, I'm thinking I'll just pitch most of the starter into the carboy with the wort. Should I swirl the "yeast" on the bottom and risk getting some of those grain particles (I will pour it through a sanitized strainer)?

Two other options include pitching the starter, then pitching some US-05 after 2 days, to give the Lacto a head start and help out whatever yeast is already there. OR I could split it, and pitch the extra yeast in one, but just the starter in the other.

So...Hit me with your best advice!

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