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Old 02-27-2013, 09:19 PM   #1
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Default Maintaining a House Culture

I have just bottled and fruited my first batch of lambic. I have some ECY01 BugFarm coming for my 2nd batch.

I started wondering what other people do to maintain a house culture for the bugs. My goal is to have something that makes my homebrew sours somewhat my own, instead of just fermenting with Wyeast Lambic blend or whatever. I have used 3oz of oak chips in an attempt to carry over some critters from batch to batch.

Does anyone keep a jar or built up yeast and bugs? If so, how and what do you find most successful?

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Old 03-14-2013, 03:26 PM   #2
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I like to have oak chips in my sours for this reason. After I bottle a sour I pour off liquid into a sterilized jar containing the oak chips. This goes straight into the fridge to slow things down.

Another way I like to maintain a "house" strain is to take samples of souring beers as a means to start souring another. I can take a gravity sample of my lambic and add that to the new sour that I just transferred to secondary.

Lots of ways to skin a cat...

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Old 03-14-2013, 08:14 PM   #3
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i'm only playing with brett at the moment, but i believe that this approach should work with bacteria as well.

months ago i took a 1-quart mason jar in which i dumped part of a brett starter and then topped it up with weak wort. i filled it really close to the top so there is virtually no headspace in there. i put a piece of aluminum foil tightly over the top and secured it in place with a tight elastic. the foil keeps it relatively air-tight. i keep the jar in a dark corner of my basement. whenever i want to use some brett, i use a dedicated turkey baster to squirt some of the jar's contents into the beer. i then use the same baster to pull some beer out of the main batch and add it back to the brett jar - these replacement squirts keep the jar full and provide fresh food for the brett.
What hops should I grow? Looking for cheap honey?

Drinking:3726 rye saison, local sour cherry kriek, oud bruin, saison bottled with ECY34
Carbing: Ardennes BDSA, TYB saison brett blend, apricot golden sour, TYB Saison Blend II
Fermenting: an irresponsibly hop-bursted Conan DIPA
Aging: 3726 saison w/ brett x2 (dregs mix & Lochristi), witbier w/ brett, sour cherry mead, rye sour ECY20/ECY34 split, several other sours, acerglyn, and probably some stuff i've lost track of...
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:41 AM   #4
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I have 2 going at the moment. One is straight Wyeast Lambic Blend, and the other is my house blend from multiple sour beers that has produced some excellent sour beers.

I start fermenting with the bugs in a glass carboy, and then as the sacc fermentation is slowing down I rack some of the beer out into a 1.5 liter wine bottle, put an airlock on it and store it away at room temperature until I next want to use it. Since I have two primary mixes I'm using and brew about every 4 months, each gets 8 months between use to increase their colonies of bugs.

This maintains the original bug mix. After I've taken my sample, I'll often add dregs of other sours to the main beer, so each one usually ends up different.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:54 AM   #5
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I can bear witness to oak chips/cubes being a goo method

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