"Keeping" brett/lacto/pedio starters on hand

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Active Member
Jun 13, 2009
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Houston, TX
I have a moderate amount of experience rinsing yeast from batches, but am relatively new to sour styles. I'm curious about what people out there are doing to keep their wild yeast and bacteria thriving and ready to add to a freshly made batch of wort. Rather than rely on repitching onto a funky cake, I'd like to be able to keep my organisms separate prior to pitching to a batch. So, if anyone out there is doing this:

1. What sort of a vessel do you keep each starter in?
2. Where do you store the vessel? Is room temp OK, or should these be refrigerated?
3. How often do you add fresh food (wort from a batch? extra starter wort? something else I haven't even heard of?)?
4. When you add fresh food, presumably you have to decant off some excess liquid to make room, correct?
5. What kind of sanitation processes do you use to ensure that the only things in the vessel are the bugs themselves (I always get paranoid when decanting/adding new food)?
6. When ready to brew a batch, do you just get a "traditional" starter going with a portion of your maintained stash and add as normal?

If anything is confusing, let me know and I'll try to clarify. Thanks in advance!


Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2011
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Santa Rosa
i maintain a few growing cultures (all of them funky and some funkier than others) and am starting a 100% lacto this weekend... i'll be keeping lacto in the fridge only because i don't want it to run its course quickly... i suspect keeping a lacto culture isn't very easy. my plan is pure apple juice, keep it in the fridge, take out the day or two before pitching, decant, slurry and pitch half. then sticking it back in the fridge topped back up with apple juice.

the only thing i'm "worried" about is O2... it'll be in a beaker with air lock...

100% brett is easy to keep... i leave mine at room temp... if i think about it i toss it in the fridge after it's grown up a bit... if i step it up, i just decant, add in new goodies and let it go at room temp...from what i've seen, brett goes way slower and ferments way cleaner than sacc.

i have one culture (house yeast) that has everything under the sun in it... it has a MASSIVE acetic acid aroma to it (which scares me) - but i have used it and its in a sour mashed blonde flanders and there is zero acetic aroma. not sure why it went away after pitching but the culture still has a huge acetic aroma... weird.