Beer Log #1 - First Wild Mix Fermentation

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Dgallo

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So I am planning on starting my own small Wild/Sour project; I've really gotten into the broad style over the past few years thanks to Suarez Family Brewing and Plan Bee brewing, both relatively local to me. So in honor of launching, I figured I'd document my first Mixed Fermented Belgian Farmhouse-All the way from planning to cellaring and sampling. Please chime in if you have a suggestion. I'm hoping this will help not only myself but others who are just getting into or wanting to get into mixed or wild fermentation.

I just finished reading, sampling, and just researching a lot of mixed fermentations, individual bug strains, blends, and methods and timing of letting the microbes work. It's been fascinating for sure but with the many beers that fall under this vast blanket of Wild/Sour/spontaneous fermentations, its seems there are many ways to skin this cat.

After reading https://modernbrewhouse.com/wiki/Sour_beer and speaking @RPh_Guy about some of my ideas, I've decided to follow the modern fast funky and sour method.

I will be brewing 5.5g of a Belgian Farmhouse that I will be splitting into (2) - 3 gallon lg mouth carboys. Below is the base recipe; (
There is a possibility I will be upping the recipe to 8 gallons and splitting between 3 FV, however, I haven't planned that one out yet. I will update the thread if needed)

Grains
6lb. - 60% - Floor Malted Pilsner
3lb - 30% - Wheat Malt
.5 lb. - 7.5% - Rye Malt
.25lb. - 2.5% - Caramunich I
Mash
@148 for 75 minutes
using Glucoamylase per directed by product
___________________________________________________________________________

*** FV #1 (3gal) - Volume: 2.75 gals of wort ***

Copitched at 70*f being allowed to free rise to 78*f
Primary Yeast: Imperial B56 - Rustic
Brettanomyces: Brett Bruxellensis WLP650

After 36 hours of fermentation it will be inoculated again with L. plantarum using Renew Life Ultimate Flora - allowed to finish out

I will be adding the following at day 10
3 lbs - Pureed Peaches
8 gr - Fine Fresh Grated Ginger
5 gr - Lavender flowers
___________________________________________________________________________

*** FV#2 (3gal) - Volume: 2.75 gals of wort ***

Copitched at 70*f being allowed to free rise to 78*f
Primary Yeast: Imperial B56 - Rustic
Brettanomyces: BRETTANOMYCES LAMBICUS WLP653


4 DAYS before bottling I will be dry hopping with - 5 oz Nelson

__________________________________________________________________________

I will be updating this thread as things begin to happen and if any changes are made. Again, please feel free to chime in if you have a suggestion or even if you have a resource that you believe I may find helpful as I begin or continue with my Wild/Sour project.
 

DrKnow

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Now this is just my personal opinion, but I would ditch the caramunich and probably the rye too. 60/40 pils/wheat makes a great base for these types of beers. Especially if you plan to add fruit. It will let the color of the fruit come through better instead of turning an unappealing shade of brown. It will also let any contribution from the bugs stand out from the simple grain bill. I’m also not a fan of the glucoamalyse in this instance. Your saison yeast and Brett should dry it out to a single digit stable FG in a matter of weeks. You can then safely package and allow the flavors to develop in the bottle.
Your pitching/fermentation schedule is sound. Although I’d suggest some more interesting Brett strains. Once again, personal opinion, but I really like the stuff from the Yeast Bay. I’m glad to see you plan on dry-hopping one batch. I feel like it doesn’t get talked about enough but hops and Brett interact in some strange and wonderful ways. Good luck!
 
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Dgallo

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Now this is just my personal opinion, but I would ditch the caramunich and probably the rye too. 60/40 pils/wheat makes a great base for these types of beers. Especially if you plan to add fruit. It will let the color of the fruit come through better instead of turning an unappealing shade of brown. It will also let any contribution from the bugs stand out from the simple grain bill. I’m also not a fan of the glucoamalyse in this instance. Your saison yeast and Brett should dry it out to a single digit stable FG in a matter of weeks. You can then safely package and allow the flavors to develop in the bottle.
Your pitching/fermentation schedule is sound. Although I’d suggest some more interesting Brett strains. Once again, personal opinion, but I really like the stuff from the Yeast Bay. I’m glad to see you plan on dry-hopping one batch. I feel like it doesn’t get talked about enough but hops and Brett interact in some strange and wonderful ways. Good luck!
Thanks you for the suggestions and advice! I will most likely eliminate the Caramunich from the grain bill. I was thinking the rye would add a slight spice layer to the beer.

When it comes to yeast bay Brett’s, which ones do you like and what are the primary notes you got from them?
 
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Dgallo

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FYI Glucoamylase should be used in the fermenter, not the mash.
I didn’t realize that. The resource I read was talking about putting it in during the mash. If I use it I’ll add it to the fv

Another question I just thought of is that when adding fruit the Brett will consume the complex sugars. Will 10-14 days prior to bottling be long enough for a full attenuation from the fruit
 

DrKnow

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As far as the Yeast Bay strains go, I’d say Amalgamation II is my favorite. It’s a blend of strains and it works fast. Tons of tropical fruity funk. But I’ve used them all and been really happy with the results. I find their descriptions on their website to be pretty accurate. Except for the Lochristi strain. I was only able to get it to do that strawberry thing once.
 
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Dgallo

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Fruit doesn't have complex sugars.
Even better. The amount of times I’ve added fruit to lacto sours, wheat beers, and ipas you’d think I’d know that all ready
 
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Dgallo

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As far as the Yeast Bay strains go, I’d say Amalgamation II is my favorite. It’s a blend of strains and it works fast. Tons of tropical fruity funk. But I’ve used them all and been really happy with the results. I find their descriptions on their website to be pretty accurate. Except for the Lochristi strain. I was only able to get it to do that strawberry thing once.
Just got a chance to browse yeast bay and It looks like they produce some great blends. I think I’m actually going to go for Amalgamation II and Beersel. Thinking Amalgamation for FV1 and Beersel for FV2
 

couchsending

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I keep a bunch of the Yeast Bay Brett strains going. Personal favorite is 184. It’s very fast in producing it’s flavor profile and hitting final attenuation.

Last year I did a little 5g test of 5 different TYB Brett strains. I primaried with Ardennes then separated into 5 different 1g glass jugs and pitched a different strain into each and left for 14 months.

Interestingly enough only one strain (blend) took the gravity to 1.000. All the others stopped at 1.004-1.005ish. They all produced some acidity as well (no acetic acid. pH levels were between 3.6 and 3.9.

If your goal is something say more long term or more complex I’d look to a different lacto to add to a culture. Ideally one that has some hop tolerance. The Brevis strain from TYB is pretty hop tolerant but whatever Jolly Pumpkin uses is insanely hop tolerant. It allows you to add more hops in the kettle and still get acidity. For me that’s critical to develop complexity and depth of character especially if you’re going for something along the lines of what Suarez or HF produce.

Or you can just use Brett and no lacto. I’d be willing to bet that most of the $10 HF “farmstead” beers have no lacto in them and are 3 month beers including bottle refermentation. The only finish around 3.9 pH. The culture they use if something goes into a wine barrel for long term aging most likely has bacteria in it as pH gets much lower on those bottles.

Have you measured the pH on any Suarez bottles? Been a while since I had one but they only seemed mildly tart to me which you can accomplish with just Sacch/Brett and no bacteria.
 

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I agree with the above. JP lacto doesn't care if you use hops. It laughs in the face of IBU and antimicrobial properties!
 
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Dgallo

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I agree with the above. JP lacto doesn't care if you use hops. It laughs in the face of IBU and antimicrobial properties!
I may have to check that out. That would certainly bring interesting hop profiles to the mix. I have a wild, what I believe is a lacto strain, in my local environment that sours with the presence of hop. When I close transfer my ipas, I usually run about 20 oz of beer into a bucket to clear any lines of o2 before racking into the keg and twice now I left it accidentally in the garage for 2/3 weeks. The beer sours and tasted ok but was terribly oxidized, I’m tempted to try to capture this a do a small 1 gallon batch to see how it really come out. I know @BrewMan13 soured one of his wilds with the cultures on the skins of apples from maybe 5-7 miles from me and the beer was clean and had a nice sour note.
 

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If anyone wants to hear the full story, I'd be glad to oblige. Suffice it to say, I'm on the fifth iteration of beers with the wild culture, and it definitely seems to be acclimating to a beer environment. Most recent successful batch finished at 1.007; first one was much higher, with exactly the same everything. Every odd number batch is a simple lambic-style grist; every even number is something different (both have been duds so far). But really want to play with fruits or something going forward in the simple grists - especially grapes, since that reminds me of my grandfather.
 
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Dgallo

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***Update*** order has been placed and recipes finalize

The same base beer is going to be split 3 ways

grain
65% - Pilsner malt
25% - malted wheat
10% - Flaked wheat

fv#1 3 gallons
Primary yeast: Imperial Rustic
Brettanomyces: Amalgamation II
Fruit/herbs: 3 lbs of peach - 5 grams Lavender Flowers


fv#2 3 gallons
Primary yeast: Imperial Rustic
Brettanomyces: Beersel Blend
Lacto: ultra flora probiotics
Fruit: 2 lbs of raspberry - zest of medium orange.
dryhop: nelson & cashmere hops


fv#1 3 gallons
Brettanomyces: Amalgamation II
Dryhopped heavily with Riwaka & Nelson
 

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fv#1 3 gallons
Primary yeast: Imperial Rustic
Brettanomyces: Amalgamation II
Fruit/herbs: 3 lbs of peach - 5 grams Lavender Flowers
No bacteria or hops? That's ok, just curious of your thought process here.
 
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Dgallo

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No bacteria or hops? That's ok, just curious of your thought process here.
Since I’m still learning about Brett, I split up the recipes in a way to see how it works In different combinations. This specific recipe is to see its interaction with brewers yeast and without hops.
 

brownni5

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Since I’m still learning about Brett, I split up the recipes in a way to see how it works In different combinations. This specific recipe is to see its interaction with brewers yeast and without hops.
Do you know that Brett on its own does not produce acid? At least not desirable acid (it can produce acetic acid in the presence of oxygen - think vinegar). For an experiment, it seems you have a lot going on there and without bitterness or acidity to balance the sweetness from the wort, it may be undrinkable. Unless lavender flowers add bitterness - I'm unfamiliarity.

Am I off- base here?
 
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Dgallo

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Do you know that Brett on its own does not produce acid? At least not desirable acid (it can produce acetic acid in the presence of oxygen - think vinegar). For an experiment, it seems you have a lot going on there and without bitterness or acidity to balance the sweetness from the wort, it may be undrinkable. Unless lavender flowers add bitterness - I'm unfamiliarity.

Am I off- base here?
The primary yeast finishes tart and coupled with the dryness from the Brett, it should off set the sweetness
 

couchsending

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Do you know that Brett on its own does not produce acid? At least not desirable acid (it can produce acetic acid in the presence of oxygen - think vinegar). For an experiment, it seems you have a lot going on there and without bitterness or acidity to balance the sweetness from the wort, it may be undrinkable. Unless lavender flowers add bitterness - I'm unfamiliarity.

Am I off- base here?
Brett does produce acidity. Or I should say it will lower pH much further than Saccharomyces. Brett secondary ferments will create a perceived level of “tartness” and not through the production of acetic acid. It depends on the strain but I’ve had ferments get to around 3.60 with no bacteria.

However I do agree you need bitterness if you’re just going to be using Brett. There’s zero reason not to bitter these beers. Anywhere from 20-40 IBUs depending on ABV.

So you’re using glucoaymlase why? You’re using a diastaticus primary yeast and a subsequent dextrin fermenting wild yeast.

The shortest time frame I’ve ever heard of any professional producer who’s beer I enjoy doing a fruit secondary fermentation is 2 months. I usually go 4.

If you really want to learn about Brett I’d split the ferments three ways. Add Brett at the start on one, add Brett after high krausen on the other, add Brett after primary fermentation on the other. To see how the character changes.

Then add Fruit to one and dry hop the other.
 
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Dgallo

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Brett does produce acidity. Or I should say it will lower pH much further than Saccharomyces. Brett secondary ferments will create a perceived level of “tartness” and not through the production of acetic acid. It depends on the strain but I’ve had ferments get to around 3.60 with no bacteria.

However I do agree you need bitterness if you’re just going to be using Brett. There’s zero reason not to bitter these beers. Anywhere from 20-40 IBUs depending on ABV.

So you’re using glucoaymlase why? You’re using a diastaticus primary yeast and a subsequent dextrin fermenting wild yeast.

The shortest time frame I’ve ever heard of any professional producer who’s beer I enjoy doing a fruit secondary fermentation is 2 months. I usually go 4.

If you really want to learn about Brett I’d split the ferments three ways. Add Brett at the start on one, add Brett after high krausen on the other, add Brett after primary fermentation on the other. To see how the character changes.

Then add Fruit to one and dry hop the other.
Originally I was going to use enzymes but I’m not anymore.

thanks for the advice on the different timing. That’s definitely going to be used in future brews for sure. This time I’m going to do the co-pitching method.

I have a 15 month old so my brew days are limited, so this will be 8 gallon knock out batch split at pitching but I thinking I’ll be to pull 3 gallons off the kettle and cool it for the lacto co pitch and then I’ll be able to hop the remaining
 

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Brett does produce acidity. Or I should say it will lower pH much further than Saccharomyces.
Yes, that's a much better way to say it. What I was trying to get across is that adding Brett doesn't make a sour beer - I see that assumption sometimes, but not as often anymore.
 

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So glad I stumbled on this thread. I just pitched my first mixed ferm blend today in a small saison. I went with the Mad Fermentationist’s Saison Blend.

Really looking forward to see how these split batches work out for you.
 
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Dgallo

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Alright so I reviewed my notes and I have been fermenting for 7 day’s and currently on the 8 day of fermentation. So taking the advise from those in this thread and decided to hop FV2 and FV3. So I decided to do a full 9.25 gallon batch to initially only go through a quick pasteurization boil. I then pulled 3.0 gallons off for FV1, the mix fermented farmhouse with a High Hop intolerant lacto strain, cooled and pitched the yeast and Brett blend.

I boiled the remaining volume for 10 minutes and hopped it with 20 ibus of Columbus. I quickly cooled And pitched. Here is a recap and final decision moving forward for the split batch, this is what was and will be committed to.
___________________________________
The base beer is 9 gallons of
60% -Bohemian Floor malted Pilsner
25% - White wheat
15% -flaked wheat
OG -1.048
Which I split 3 ways;

FV 1 - 3 gals
Primary yeast - Imperial Rustic
Brett - Almagation II
Lacto - Probiotics
2 lbs Red Raspberry
1 medium orange zested
1 Vanilla bean
Dryhopped with Nelson and Cashmere

FV2- 3 gal
Primary yeast - Imperial Rustic
Brett - Brussels blend
3 lbs Peaches
4 grams Lavender
20 ibus Columbus
Dryhopped with Citra and Mosaic

FV3 - 3 gal
Brett - Almagation II
20 ibus of Columbus
Dryhopped with Citra, mosiac, & Nelson
 
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Dgallo

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****Update - Day 14****

Took a gravity sample and tasting sample of all 3 versions of the split batch. All 3 looked to have reached or/are very close to reaching FG. Decided to move forward with adding the fruit and herbs to the two of them and the dryhopped the other. Here is the nitty gritty

FV1 - 3 gallons on day 14
Cultures: Imperial Rustic yeast, Yeast Bay Almagation II (Brett blend), Ultra Flora (lacto pro biotic)
Current gravity 1.002
2.5 lbs of Red Raspberries
Zest and juice from 1 naval Orange
1 - Grade A Madagascar Vanilla Bean (puréed with the raspberries)

FV2 - 3 gallons on day 14
Cultures: Imperial Rustic yeast, Yeast Bay Brussels (Brett blend)
Current gravity 1.002
3lbs of White peaches
5 grams of lavender flowers

FV3 - 3 gallons on day 14
Cultures: Yeast Bay Almagation II (Brett blend)
Current gravity 1.003
Dryhopped with 3 oz of Citra and 2 oz mosaic. Eliminated the Nelson since it did not smell fresh enough. Looked like my sealer must have not sealed that pouch properly so didn’t want to use it.
 
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Dgallo

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*****update - Day 22****

Today is day 22 and things are looking pretty good to go on FV1 and FV2 after 8 days on the fruit. 4 days ago I added the dryhops to both of these beers and tonight I will start crashing to bottle them Wednesday, possibly tomorrow night.

FV3 was dryhopped on day 14 and then again on day 18 with a total of 2oz per gallon. As a reminder, this beer was a fermented with a Brett blend only. This was the only one of the 3 beers that form a pellicle.

With this being my first 100% Brett ferment and I am not very familiar with how the pellicle should look. I was wondering if this pellicle looks typical. Any insight is welcome;
5CD91D4F-A73D-47D2-AE90-EDE67926A35D.jpeg
D73A5ABC-8C77-479C-9AF0-0C9B15B66882.jpeg
 

Steve-Ooo

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I wouldn't worry about the pellicile. I assume the green on it is the dry hops.

Its funny I've never gotten a pellicle on an all brett ferm but always get them on sacc/brett ferms.

Any change in gravity from day 14?
 
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Dgallo

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I wouldn't worry about the pellicile. I assume the green on it is the dry hops.

Its funny I've never gotten a pellicle on an all brett ferm but always get them on sacc/brett ferms.

Any change in gravity from day 14?
Only on the FV3, it dropped another point so it’s down to 1.002. It’s possible it just from a little more degassing
 
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Dgallo

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**** Update - Day 35 ***

All beers have been bottled and bottle conditioning for roughly 10 days (except for FV1, that got bottled only 5 days ago)

I just cracked the first beer for this project and it was from FV2. Here is a reminder of the beer;

FV2 - 3 gallons
Cultures: Imperial Rustic yeast, Yeast Bay Brussels (Brett blend)
Current gravity 1.002
3lbs of White peaches
5 grams of lavender flowers
Dryhopped with Citra and mosaic

30087A23-8A2A-4898-93AE-B7F588348EAB.jpeg
 
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Dgallo

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Just noticed there are a few discrepancies between the FV# and exact ingredients from earlier. Yesterday’s post and all update post moving forward are/will be accurate.
 

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@Dgallo Looks like a tasty beer! I'm curious, how is the lavender coming through. I've had some good beers with subtle lavender and I'd like to try adding some myself to some mixed ferm stuff. With 5 gm in a 3 gal batch do you find the level to be noticeable? And I'm assuming when you say lavender flowers you used fresh flowers without any green plant matter?
 
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Dgallo

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@Dgallo Looks like a tasty beer! I'm curious, how is the lavender coming through. I've had some good beers with subtle lavender and I'd like to try adding some myself to some mixed ferm stuff. With 5 gm in a 3 gal batch do you find the level to be noticeable? And I'm assuming when you say lavender flowers you used fresh flowers without any green plant matter?
It’s a good beer but the Lavender is slightly too forward for my preference. I’m hoping it fades to the background a little more as the Brett character continues to develop.

I used french dried lavender peddles which I harvested from the garden. Dryflowers are more potent than fresh as they become more concentrated as the moisture is removed. At this point I would actually suggest dialing it back to 2g. That being said, I will continue to update the progress of this beer as it ages.
 
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Dgallo

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Time to sample another one of the beers from the split batch. This is the 100% Brett fermented ipa.


FV3 - 3 gallons
Cultures: Yeast Bay Almagation II (Brett blend)
Current gravity 1.003
Dryhopped with Citra, mosaic, and cashmere
C2472559-9E2C-433B-9CCD-1DFB8DD7DFFE.jpeg
 
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Dgallo

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@Dgallo It’s not fair to post a pic like that and not include some tasting notes. That’s a nice looking beer. What does it taste like?
Lol sorry brother. The 100% brett fermented ipa is definitely my favorite so far but I’m still yet to officially try the beers from FV2.

the ipa is very fruit forward and the hops and Brett interact in an interesting and complex waY. I get notes of pineapple, citrus, tart fruit, kind of Apple but not quite and touch of dank cattyness. There are also undertones of hay and subtle funk. Very excited to see how the Brett develops over time
 
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