Kettle Sour not really that sour after 72 hours - doing something wrong?

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nuggets

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Hey all, would appreciate some assistance here.

This is my second time brewing an extract Berliner Weisse from a recipe I got at my brewer supply shop (1:1 wheat/malt mix). Kettle souring with OYL-605 lacto.

I'm now at 72 h after pitching the lacto (went in @ 68F wort temp).
Has been sitting in my oven at room temp (72F) for the entire 72H.

pH is only 4.06 and tastes only a little sour - shouldn't pH be a little lower by now?

Things I checked thru:
-Did not put any hops in the boil before pitching; I know from my prior, failed, attempt at kettle souring a Berliner that Omega lacto is very hop-sensitive
-Lacto was well before its "good until" date.
-Equipt was sanitized using one-step (maybe I didn't wait the entire time to let the one-step dry, but have done this with prior brews and it has not been an issue)

Should I just give it a bit more time?

thx in advance for your help
 
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nuggets

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How much extract did you use and what is the total volume of liquid in the kettle right now?
This was for 2.5 of brew.

I used 2 lbs of extract. Right now there is about 2.5 gallons in the kettle.
 

SourLover

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I don’t have my notes with me, but I’m pretty sure every time I have used OYL-605 I keep the temperature at around 90 degrees for 12 hours and then let it cool down slowly to whatever pitching temperature I’m using. I’m usually adding a hops around 22-24 hours in to try and stop the lacto.
If you started at 68 degrees and think you might be at 72 degrees I’m wondering if your temperature is too low.
I think I would bring the temperature up, and possibly add a small amount of goodbelly to try and get it moving along.
 
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nuggets

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Thanks, @SourLover

Given your suggestion to encourage growth by increasing the temperature and/or adding additional organisms, I take it it's not game over yet.

But is there a period of time at which point ordinary (non-lacto) bacterial growth that's happening in the standing wort overpower whatever paltry lacto growth would have occurred (in the best of circumstances)?

In other words, do I still have a few days to tinker to get the culture going or is the entropy of microbiology stacked against me?
 

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I have an extract sour that is about to be bottled. It didn't taste very sour after 72 hours so I added another Goodbelly. Another 72 hours and not much change. @VikeMan mentioned that the unfermented sugars in the wort would mask the sour, so I boiled then pitched the yeast. It definitely tastes more sour now that it's fermented. I don't think adding more lacto and giving it a couple more days will hurt, but not sure if it'll help that much. Good luck!
 

SourLover

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I have an extract sour that is about to be bottled. It didn't taste very sour after 72 hours so I added another Goodbelly. Another 72 hours and not much change. @VikeMan mentioned that the unfermented sugars in the wort would mask the sour, so I boiled then pitched the yeast. It definitely tastes more sour now that it's fermented. I don't think adding more lacto and giving it a couple more days will hurt, but not sure if it'll help that much. Good luck!
This is a very good point that I didn't think of as I'm using a PH meter first and taste second.

Given your suggestion to encourage growth by increasing the temperature and/or adding additional organisms, I take it it's not game over yet.

But is there a period of time at which point ordinary (non-lacto) bacterial growth that's happening in the standing wort overpower whatever paltry lacto growth would have occurred (in the best of circumstances)?

In other words, do I still have a few days to tinker to get the culture going or is the entropy of microbiology stacked against me?
I might be misunderstanding this, but if you've already pitched the Saccharomyces I don't think you are looking to raise the temperature.
Check out the link below. It may have some useful information for you.

 
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nuggets

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Thanks @SourLover to clarify i haven't pitched the Saccharomyces yet - this is still all pre-yeast. Up until this point, I have basically boiled the 2 lbs of extract, let it cool in an ice bath with a sterilized thermometer until < 80F, and pitched the omega lacto and just waiting at this point.

My question was whether i could stand to wait for a few more days for the lacto to multiply and "take over" assuming optimizing the conditions, vs just give up at this point and start over due to possible infection and/or colonization with other bacteria that are likely multiplying and potentially crowding out the lacto.

Forgot to clarify a few more points:

-Pitched the lacto directly, no starter. It was out of the fridge for 2 h prior to that.
-Using a cheap a$$ pH meter from Amazon.
-Wort is sitting in a 15qt pot with a glass cover on the top. There is airspace between the top of the pot and the cover.
-sampling for pH testing with a sanitized turkey baster directly from the top.

At this point it's been 96h since pitch.
Just sampled again and the pH is oscillating between 4.06 and 3.98.

At this point this isn't working.

Thoughts?
 

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I personally would dump it and try again out of an abundance of caution. Keep it warmer next time. Maybe something in the one step residue stunted the lacto? I wouldn't use it as a no rinse sanitizer. Get some starsan.

A single pack of Omega lacto was able to take 6 gallons of wort from 4.4 to 3.2 in about 14 hours at 85F.
 

Davedrinksbeer

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Need to keep the wort temp around 90 when you pitch in the sour yeast and try to keep it there for 2-3 days.
I just made the exact same kit 2 months ago. Turned out pretty.
 

SourLover

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My question was whether i could stand to wait for a few more days for the lacto to multiply and "take over" assuming optimizing the conditions, vs just give up at this point and start over due to possible infection and/or colonization with other bacteria that are likely multiplying and potentially crowding out the lacto.
I definitely agree with Bobby_M, and if it were me I'd cut my losses and start over from scratch. If you do decide to start over, I'd chill the wort to 85-90 degrees and dump the OYL-605 in at that point. Do you have the ability to keep the 15qt pot at 85-90 degrees? I'd check it sometime between 12-24 hours, and my guess is that it will be where you want it at.

I too would recommend using Star San. A small bottle with last a very long time. I used something similar to one step on my first few batches, but I didn't feel comfortable using something that was supposedly a cleaner & sanitizer. At that point I started using PBW for cleaning and Star San for sanitizing.
 

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Put your pot back on the stove and heat it back up to 90. Pull the pot off and wrap some towels around it and see if the PH drops anymore. OR you can reheat and add another pack of Lacto Sour Yeast and see if that lowers the PH for you. The wort is still fine, if anything you can boil the wort, add hops, ferment as usual and make a non sour beer. When you boil the wort it’s going to kill off any critters in there
 

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I definitely agree with Bobby_M, and if it were me I'd cut my losses and start over from scratch. If you do decide to start over, I'd chill the wort to 85-90 degrees and dump the OYL-605 in at that point. Do you have the ability to keep the 15qt pot at 85-90 degrees? I'd check it sometime between 12-24 hours, and my guess is that it will be where you want it at.

I too would recommend using Star San. A small bottle with last a very long time. I used something similar to one step on my first few batches, but I didn't feel comfortable using something that was supposedly a cleaner & sanitizer. At that point I started using PBW for cleaning and Star San for sanitizing.
Lacto actually works best about 100F, it's evolved to live in people and animals so it likes body temperature. I only do kettle sours in summer when my garage is over 100F during the day, and they always come out great just from making a starter from some wort and a handful of uncrushed grain. So far I'm 5/5 for this technique, though it's bound to fail eventually given the lack of control over the bugs on the grain.

But yeah you need temps between 90-105F (think a yogurt maker temp), and you can actually pitch a little of the liquid off the top of greek yogurt to make a great kettle sour too btw.
 

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Lacto actually works best about 100F, it's evolved to live in people and animals so it likes body temperature. I only do kettle sours in summer when my garage is over 100F during the day, and they always come out great just from making a starter from some wort and a handful of uncrushed grain. So far I'm 5/5 for this technique, though it's bound to fail eventually given the lack of control over the bugs on the grain.

But yeah you need temps between 90-105F (think a yogurt maker temp), and you can actually pitch a little of the liquid off the top of greek yogurt to make a great kettle sour too btw.

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nuggets

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Thanks all

Not to be deterred by failure, i actually went out and bought a Milwaukee PH56 pHmeter and re tested tonight - pH is 3.4. We are 5 days out at this point.

yeah yeah i know it's not a $200 pH meter but still better than the **** I was using before.

Who knows how long it's been sitting there at that level of acidity, but still...going to run with this since as @Davedrinksbeer mentioned you can always boil and kill all the bugs before you pitch the Saccharomyces.

So unless you all advise against it i will boil/hop/pitch (safale K-97) and keep you all posted...
 

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Just boil as normal and see what you get. I've never really let the kettle sour for more than 48 hours but I double batch with preboil levels up to 18 gallons. The wife likes her sours really sour so after boil off that is what she gets. I either do a huge starter some times with 2 packs into 5 liters if I need to be finished sooner than 24 hours or right at 24 hours. If I were to just pitch 2 packs no starter, I start the sour on Saturday and finish the boil Monday after work. Lacto likes an oxygen free environment so I fill the kettle head space with CO2 and tinfoil the lid shut. Doubt the CO2 blanket is required though. I brew on electric so I set the temp at 90 and forget it until it is ready to start the boil. You will be able to tell if it is gonna be good and sour after it starts to boil it kind of makes for a feeling of it is hard to breath when you are breathing in the boil off vapors which is not the case on not sour beers. Everyone I have had come in to see the breathing thing agrees that it is weird but it is a good sign. Lol.
 
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Bobby_M

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I'm not trying to be argumentative here at all. I'm just saying the OP is using Omega's product so I posted their guidelines which I suppose is specific to the blend of Lacto strains they put in the package. I want to believe that the person at Omega that suggest that max temp is also a biologist. Take it or leave it.
 

RPh_Guy

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If I had seen this thread earlier, my first questions would have been what meter are you using, and how and when was it calibrated. It was obvious the pH reading was wrong.

Correct usage is needed to get accurate reading from a pH meter: Calibrate your meter per instructions before every use. Do not reuse calibration solution. Follow correct storage instructions as well.


you need temps between 90-105F
With L. plantarum you do NOT need high temperatures. Your experience using wild cultures doesn't apply here.
 

TheMadKing

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If I had seen this thread earlier, my first questions would have been what meter are you using, and how and when was it calibrated. It was obvious the pH reading was wrong.

Correct usage is needed to get accurate reading from a pH meter: Calibrate your meter per instructions before every use. Do not reuse calibration solution. Follow correct storage instructions as well.



With L. plantarum you do NOT need high temperatures. Your experience using wild cultures doesn't apply here.
Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 3.56.37 PM.png


The characterization literature of L Pantarum states an optimal growth temperature of 37C (98F) with a viable range of 28-45C.

You may not need high temperatures, but it would seem that it ideally does prefer a higher temperature for optimal growth. I'm sure it works fine at 95F, and Omega may have a bred a subvariant of L. plantarum that prefers cooler temps, but in general Lacto strains prefer temps in the upper 90's to low 100's. I don't believe I have given any inaccurate or misleading information here
 

superiorsat

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I don't believe I have given any inaccurate or misleading information here
Your info in general I don't believe is inaccurate or misleading. On the other hand there is subvariant or engineered specific lacto spec's available from the manufacturer ( probably with a whole team of microbiologists doing analysis, they are engineering edited ester specific yeast for crying out loud ) giving best results info so their product can perform at its best. I think that is all Bobby was referring to. Your info is valid in my opinion. Not that that means anything. LOL. :mug:
 

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View attachment 769949

The characterization literature of L Pantarum states an optimal growth temperature of 37C (98F) with a viable range of 28-45C.

You may not need high temperatures, but it would seem that it ideally does prefer a higher temperature for optimal growth. I'm sure it works fine at 95F, and Omega may have a bred a subvariant of L. plantarum that prefers cooler temps, but in general Lacto strains prefer temps in the upper 90's to low 100's. I don't believe I have given any inaccurate or misleading information here
My point was that you can use this particular species at room temperature (well below its optimal temperature), where it does sour the wort/beer fairly rapidly. It's misleading to say that it needs high temperatures.

One could argue that you want the Lactobacillus to work as fast as possible in this circumstance (kettle souring), and while I certainly agree, raising temperature is probably the worst option to accomplish that. The high temperature (around 37°C) doesn't give the pitched bacteria a significant competitive advantage over other spoilage microbes. Increasing pitch rate (using a buffered starter) and pre-acidification are more appropriate ways to accelerate souring because they also decrease the risk of spoilage.

In your case using a wild culture, ~37°C is actually considered too low. The professional brewing literature recommends to hold wild cultures at 45–48°C for biological wort acidification. I believe this temperature tends to inhibit yeast while still allowing desirable Lactobacillus species to sour the wort (e.g. L. amylovorus or L. amylolyticus).

References available upon request.

P.S. Also on topic, I'm wholeheartedly against kettle souring since it has much higher contamination risk, is a more complicated process, and produces a much more bland beer compared to co-souring methods.
 
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nuggets

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Hey all,

Update since the last post - (this was a 2.5 gallon extract recipe)

Steps:
  1. Re-boiled wort (x 60 min)
  2. Hopped with 0.5 oz Hallertau (x 15 min)
  3. Cooled to ~65F
  4. Added ~1 cup of *tap* water to get wort up to 2.5 gal
  5. Pitched ~4 g of *dry* Safale K-97 (using the ratios on the packet ) to glass carboy
  6. Waited 4 weeks
  7. Bottled using 2g corn sugar
  8. Waited 4 weeks
  9. Opened + tasted last week
Results:

-Right level of sour, right color and mouthfeel.
-Low level of carbonation.
-Weird off-bitter flavor at finish - drinkable, but couldn't finish second bottle.

Overall, not a success.

Noob question but do you think the off-flavor and lack of carbonation are related to aging or bottle conditioning for a too short period, or contamination from organisms in the tap water?

thx
Thanks all

Not to be deterred by failure, i actually went out and bought a Milwaukee PH56 pHmeter and re tested tonight - pH is 3.4. We are 5 days out at this point.

yeah yeah i know it's not a $200 pH meter but still better than the **** I was using before.

Who knows how long it's been sitting there at that level of acidity, but still...going to run with this since as @Davedrinksbeer mentioned you can always boil and kill all the bugs before you pitch the Saccharomyces.

So unless you all advise against it i will boil/hop/pitch (safale K-97) and keep you all posted...

pdate:
 
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