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Old 07-21-2011, 10:42 PM   #1
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Default Unboiled, unhopped, parti gyle lambic?!

Hello all! This may not be as pretty as elipsey's pellicle (never thought I'd ever type that) but it's cool none-the-less...

On a whim I decided to catch a second running off a 1.090 IIPA for my first parti gyle small beer. I used a bucket that had not been sanitized, but had been cleaned since its last use. I didn't have time to continue with the small beer that night, so I intended to proceed the next night. There was a lid on it, but the airlock hole was open. I accidently left it in my garage overnight and all the next day. Here in Little Rock we are suffering, like many, from extreme heat, and the temp definately exceeds 110 in my garage (it's a southern exposure, closed up with a fridge and freezer.) Domestic life wouldn't allow a brew session the next night, but I did move it inside to my 72 degree closet. So finally- 48 hours later- I opened the closet to brew and was nearly knocked over by the smell of beer. I popped the lid and this is what I found:




Here is the grain bill. The OG was 1.040.

Pale Malt (2 row), US 74.95%
Victory malt 15.01%
Flaked Rye 5.02%
Cara-Pils/Dextrine 2.51%
Caramel/Crystal 120 2.51%


So, my learned beer peers, questions:

1. Do you think this spontaneous fermentation is due to Pacman left behind in the bucket, or some strain of hell-spawn yeast that was strolling around in my garage?

2. Most importantly, can I drink it? It smelled like beer, though a little different from what I'm used to.

3. It was unhopped and unboiled. Comments? Should I dry hop it?

4. I put it in my incubator, currently at 68F. Is this advisable, or should I sweat it out in the garage?

5. Should I just pour it out and forget about it?

6. Is there anything special I should do to help it produce something useful, or should I just cross my fingers?

7. It looks like krausen and smells like beer, so it's not bacterial, right?

Thanks!

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Old 07-21-2011, 10:44 PM   #2
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It's yeast

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Old 07-21-2011, 10:51 PM   #3
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Smells like beer, looks like beer, must be beer. Maybe you've discovered a new Saison yeast, Procede as you wish.

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Old 07-21-2011, 11:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by COLObrewer View Post
Maybe you've discovered a new Saison yeast, Procede as you wish.
Is that the most likely explanation? If so, should I move the fermenter from 68F to something warmer?
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:43 AM   #5
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Dude - that is awesome. If you have a new strain of yeast then call it hell-spawn.

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Old 07-22-2011, 03:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xkred27 View Post
1. Do you think this spontaneous fermentation is due to Pacman left behind in the bucket, or some strain of hell-spawn yeast that was strolling around in my garage?

2. Most importantly, can I drink it? It smelled like beer, though a little different from what I'm used to.

3. It was unhopped and unboiled. Comments? Should I dry hop it?

4. I put it in my incubator, currently at 68F. Is this advisable, or should I sweat it out in the garage?

5. Should I just pour it out and forget about it?

6. Is there anything special I should do to help it produce something useful, or should I just cross my fingers?

7. It looks like krausen and smells like beer, so it's not bacterial, right?

Thanks!
1. Could be either, could be both.

2. You might be able to drink it in many months, maybe even a year or two from now. You basically threw a bucket of sugar water into an unsanitary environment. You probably have all sorts of enterobacter (like e. coli) working in there right now. Probably not best for you to drink it at this point.

3. Dry hopping will only help with flavor.

4. That's fine.

5. It's up to you.

6. No

7. Not necessarily.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xkred27 View Post
Is that the most likely explanation? If so, should I move the fermenter from 68F to something warmer?
As ReverseApacheMaster says, there is no way of telling what is in there.
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:56 AM   #8
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Boil a decent amount of hops for an hour in some wort and then dump it in there.

As for drinking it, you could measure the ph and if it's reasonably low, give it a try.

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Old 07-22-2011, 04:30 AM   #9
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Meh, it'll probably be fine.

Subscribed to see how it turns out!

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Old 07-22-2011, 05:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COLObrewer

As ReverseApacheMaster says, there is no way of telling what is in there.
It's definitely yeast you're seeing.

That was what the fermentor looked like after 3 days, which is waaaay too fast to be bacteria. And it doesn't look REMOTELY like any pellicle I've ever seen... but it looks exactly like krausen though.

I would bet everything I own on that big mass being yeast, I am that sure of it. It doesn't mean that there's no bacterial infection in the beer as well, but I promise you, that's not what you're seeing in the pic.

The idea that it could be a saison-like yeast is extremely unlikely though, and there's nothing to suggest that. Letting it ferment in the 60's would probably give it the best chance to turn out drinkable.

To the OP: I'm sorry, but I just have to give you crap for referring to this as lambic. It seems that uneducated brewers (on the subject) are constantly calling their accidentally infected or spontaneously fermented beers lambic, when they aren't even close, and it's beginning to bug (pun not intended) the hell out of me! It's like somebody dryhopping an English Mild and calling it an IPA, or someone using a bit of wheat in their beer and calling it a hefeweizen.

Yes, lambic is (traditionally) spontaneously fermented, but, for instance, I recently made a beer inoculated with cultured yeasts and bacterias straight from a Wyeast smackpack (often referred to as pLambic, with the p standing for "pure culture), and I guarantee you it will be far closer to a traditional lambic than anything a brewer outside Belgium has ever spontaneously fermented.

That's because spontaneous fermentation is just a very tiny part of what defines a lambic. Like any other style, it is defined by characteristic tastes, aromas, appearance, etc with guidelines on the grain bill, hopping schedule, and even the mash schedule is more important than whether or not the beer was spontaneously fermented. In fact, because the wild yeasts and bacteria in the small Senne Valley region of Belgium are quite unique, much like the sourdough yeasts of San Francisco, it is generally only possible to make a lambic-like beer with either a Wyeast or White Labs product, or dregs from one or more beers, since they are a blend of specific organisms in specific ratios that not only approximate what you'd find in Belgium, but are also known to produce drinkable beers.

Trying to do a COMPLETELY spontaneous fermentation outside a region like the Senne Valley will almost always produce something disgusting, and chances are that even if it somehow turns out good, it will have a character completely different from lambic. So, just to be clear, lambic is NOT a synonym for spontaneously fermented!

With all that being said, I don't think your're dealing with spontaneous fermentation anyways - it appears to have been inoculated with yeast from the unsanitized bucket and/or other equipment.
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