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Old 12-18-2012, 08:39 PM   #1
julian81
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Default Lactobacillus (Wyeast 5335) fermentation question

I brewed a Berliner Weisse this past weekend (Sunday). OG 1.030 and cooled it down to 100F and pitched a 1L starter of Wyeast 5335 (that was on a stir plate for 3 days - I know, I wanted to go longer but time wouldn't allow). I pitched at around 4pm on Sunday.

The wort is in my fermentation chamber at 100F consistent, and showing no signs of airlock activity or krausen as of this morning, Tuesday. Should I be seeing signs after 40 hours or so? I popped the carboy cap off and took a whiff, and it does not smell even mildly tangy/acidic. I'm going to check the gravity, ph and taste it when I get home, but just wondering if this is normal behavior for lacto? This is the first time I've used it.

Thanks,
Julian
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:12 PM   #2
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This will not ferment your beer (...wort) if you did not also add a standard (S. cerevisiae) yeast, that is likely why you have no signs of fermentation.
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCBrew View Post
This will not ferment your beer (...wort) if you did not also add a standard (S. cerevisiae) yeast, that is likely why you have no signs of fermentation.
Do you have a source for this? Because I was at a presentation at NHC this year, and Jess Caudill (wyeast) stated that the optimal fermentation profile for a berliner is to pitch lacto first for a week then sach afterwards to help it finish off - this also provides optimal acid production. This is what I am attempting to do. I will be pitching sach once the lacto has done it's part.


So I think you may be mistaken.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:00 PM   #4
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Well, if by fermentation you mean production of CO2 and alcohol (airlock activity and bubbling), then I don't believe that you will see fermentation.

If by fermentation you mean conversion of sugars into lactic acid, then you do indeed have fermentation, but don't expect to see krausen, airlock activity or significant drop in your OG until you add S. ceresiviae.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:04 PM   #5
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Also, from my experience with pickling and the like, you may see small bubbles and whitish film begin to form. But I'm not sure if that happens with pure lactobacillis in wort after a few days or not.

Anyway, I am generally interested in making a berliner weisse, so if you could keep us updated that would be very helpful.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:07 PM   #6
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OK, you had previously stated that it will not ferment my beer and I took that as meaning there would be no conversion of sugars into co2 and alcohol and no acid production. Thanks for the clarification.

Strange, I've seen videos online of wort krausening and bubbling. Mine is not. I'll keep an eye on it and check gravity/ph and taste to be sure. I'm going to pick up another lacto pack today just in case, and get a larger starter going in case I need to pitch that too.

I'll definitely keep you updated.
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:27 PM   #7
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Sorry KC, but I have a Berliner going right now by the same technique that Jess Claudill put forth and I did have about 48 hours if bubbling air lock and a nice krausen (pic attached). And it dropped the SG from 1.038 down to 1.018 in 5 days.
Mind you, I had the lacto starter going for a full 5 days before pitching so you may just have to wait a little longer to see anything. I went ahead and pitched the sacc after 5 days too ( I'm kinda impatient) but I know some here pitch after just 48 hours so I figure I just split the difference between 2-7 days.
My temps for the first five days were at a steady 83'F.
I did not see any more activity after pitching the sacc and I even wrote Jess at Wyeast and asked whether I should have aerated or done anything different and he said "no". There's just not a lot of sugar for the sacc to eat up so don't expect a lot of action.
Now the waiting begins. I really need to work on my patience...
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:31 PM   #8
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Thanks Pastorken! I'll wait a bit longer but I'm going to get another starter going just in case I need to repitch - that way I won't have to wait another week for the starter to finish.

Also, just to be clear Jess advised specifically against aerating when you pitch sach into the beer already fermented with lacto? I was curious about this. Also, did you cool it down before pitching sach?

I'm really hoping there was just a huge lag time and I get home tonight and see some krausening
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:47 PM   #9
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Update: just got home and after six days of no (and I mean zero!) activity after pitching the sacc, my airlock is bubbling again about 3-4 times a minute! :-)

Julian, glad I could share. I love sours and Berliners a lot and so I'm learning how to make my own now. On top of my Berliner, I have two lambics from the same yeast cake that are about 2 months along.
But it's a learning experience and does take a lot if patience!
I too had a question about re-aerating and, like I said, Jess said he usually does not. It was awesome to hear directly from an expert too! Now I got his email if I have more questions. :-)
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Old 12-18-2012, 10:57 PM   #10
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Hey, no need to apoloqize Pastorken.

Good to know. FWIW my info came from the pre-boil method (described here: http://seancoates.com/blogs/berliner-weisse and here: http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=radio).

A little more research seems to indicate that lactic acid fermentation can occur 2 ways: anaerobic, where lactic acid, but not CO2 or alcohol is produced and aerobic, where CO2 and Alcohol, but little or no acid is produced. This may explain the need to wait on the sacchromyces pitch, where by the krausening is the aerobic respiration phase which would be followed by the anaerobic (souring) phase, followed by the finishing off of the attenuation by the sach.

Anyway, I'm glad you guys were able to resolve this with experience! They talked about the video Julian linked on the basic brewing radio podcast I linked to; I'll have to check that out.

fwiw, Julian, I think the bit about the anaerobic fermentation being the souring phase would explain why you want to avoid aerating for the sach pitch: you might attenuate the sugars with the sach and not get the full souring you'd want from the lactobacillis.
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