Mixed fermentation lag time

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SRJHops

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This question answers itself, probably, but wondering if others could share their experience/thoughts...

Yesterday I pitched some diastatic saison yeast into low ph (3.5-ish), low SG (1.018) wort. After 24 hours I'm still not seeing any activity, so starting to worry... BUT I'm guessing I just need to be patient... for how long?

I used two packets of Philly Sour, 5 gallons, OG 1.048. As usual, after the acidification phase, the Philly is now paused for few days before it starts to ferments out the rest of the sugar. That's when I pitched the 3711.

I did not take a ph reading but (prior to pitching the saison yeast) the SG dropped from 1.048 to 1.018, so that indicates the Philly did its work and likely dropped the ph into the mid 3's.

I plan to give it another day for the saison yeast to kick in... but after that I might pitch some more yeast...

Thoughts?
 

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Don't be in such a hurry. I think it takes some time for the yeast to begin breaking down the complex sugars into stuff they can chew on. You aren't keeping it too cool for the yeast you added are you?

I might give it 2 - 3 more days before I wonder about it.
 
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Don't be in such a hurry. I think it takes some time for the yeast to begin breaking down the complex sugars into stuff they can chew on. You aren't keeping it too cool for the yeast you added are you?

I might give it 2 - 3 more days before I wonder about it.

Thanks. I've got it set to 71 right now, which is about where I like to pitch my saisons. I actually had the Philly at 77, but cooled it down to pitch the saison yeast. My understanding is Philly produces more acid at higher temps, and I also gave it some extra glucose (corn sugar).
 
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Well, after 48 hours of no apparent activity and no drop in SG, I decided to pitch some more yeast. I had actually planned to pitch it in the original recipe, so I had it on hand, but held off because I didn't think it was needed. I figure it can't hurt to pitch more, and I didn't want the Philly to start back up and start chewing all the remaining sugar.

The downside is I'll never know if waiting 3 days would have been enough for the yeast to get going. But I'm used to my fermentations taking off in under 12 hours (Philly Sour notwithstanding - it tends to take 24), so I indeed lost patience after 48. I'll try to remember to report back on the final beer!
 
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Can 3711 be happy in that sour environment? A pH in the mid 3-s is darn brutal.
That is my question... Is it too sour for another yeast? The manufacturer recommended pitching the second yeast after the acidification phase. But is the pH too low for it to work? I pitched be-134 on top this morning...

Worst case I get a sour. But I want a sour Saison.
 

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Not much is going to be "happy" starting out in a mid-3 range unless it's a massive culture. That's near where acid sanitizers work. As fermentation progresses, the pH drops further still.
 
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Not much is going to be "happy" starting out in a mid-3 range unless it's a massive culture. That's near where acid sanitizers work. As fermentation progresses, the pH drops further still.

Yeah, I clearly have a lot to learn more here... So, what can I do now? Wort is likely at 3.4 or so. My plan was to pitch the Saison yeast and end up with a sour Saison.

I guess if the Saison yeast doesn't work I might switch gears and rack onto some fruit.
 

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What you're probably seeing here is a combination of acid shock to the 3711 and minimal fermentable sugar for 3711 to consume.

At this point it may make sense to just let the yeast in the beer do its thing until FG is reached and accept the beer for what it is. If you are dead set on trying to get 3711 to operate in the beer, you need to read up on acid shock (specifically on acid shock starters) and repitch. For the time and money involved, it may not be worth it this go around.
 
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What you're probably seeing here is a combination of acid shock to the 3711 and minimal fermentable sugar for 3711 to consume.

At this point it may make sense to just let the yeast in the beer do its thing until FG is reached and accept the beer for what it is. If you are dead set on trying to get 3711 to operate in the beer, you need to read up on acid shock (specifically on acid shock starters) and repitch. For the time and money involved, it may not be worth it this go around.
Will do. Thanks much!
 

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Yeah the only stuff that'll normally play ball at pH ~3.5 is things like Brettanomyces. For a sour Saison you'd have been much better fermenting with a Saison strain first then souring with lacto in the fermenter.

You could always lob some simple sugars into to try and kickstart fermentation but I reckon at that pH it's probably a lost cause. All you'll end up doing is killing otherwise perfectly viable yeast.
 

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i dont think there's a simple answer to the yeast question. but if i had done this and was making a second batch, i think i'd pitch seperately and combine. i dont drink alot of saison, but the ones i think seem to be more popular are tart (pH approaching 4) vs sour (pH in low 3s). so let the philly get super sour. let the saison get super dry. then combine. sour dilutes to tart. and hopefully the saison sticks around to get it super dry.
 
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Yeah the only stuff that'll normally play ball at pH ~3.5 is things like Brettanomyces. For a sour Saison you'd have been much better fermenting with a Saison strain first then souring with lacto in the fermenter.

You could always lob some simple sugars into to try and kickstart fermentation but I reckon at that pH it's probably a lost cause. All you'll end up doing is killing otherwise perfectly viable yeast.
Adding some sugar isn't a bad idea... The Philly Sour will keep working, but I need the saison to kick in. I will try a bit of corn sugar...
 
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i dont think there's a simple answer to the yeast question. but if i had done this and was making a second batch, i think i'd pitch seperately and combine. i dont drink alot of saison, but the ones i think seem to be more popular are tart (pH approaching 4) vs sour (pH in low 3s). so let the philly get super sour. let the saison get super dry. then combine. sour dilutes to tart. and hopefully the saison sticks around to get it super dry.
Might be the way I will have to go... Or maybe I pitch the Saison sooner next time, before the pH gets so low...
 
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Not much is going to be "happy" starting out in a mid-3 range unless it's a massive culture. That's near where acid sanitizers work. As fermentation progresses, the pH drops further still.

Do you think a massive pitch could have overcome this? I usually pitch big, but this one was at 1.028 when I pitched the 3711, so I figured that would do the trick. The original recipe had the Be-134, and I had considered one more too. (I usually pitch really big and have had great results.)
 

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this one was at 1.028 when I pitched the 3711, so I figured that would do the trick.
Was that a starter or just a smack pack? A good size, healthy starter would have much more chance. Healthy being key, as cell walls will be stronger helping the cells survive the strong acidic environment.

While finding and trying solutions, you have some time. There's nothing going to happen to your sour beer as it is, the acidity protects it from many potential invaders.

What kind of fermenter is it in right now? You will need to protect the beer from oxidation.

WY 3711 will eat through anything given enough time, but the flavor profile is not all that impressive. Even when you turn the heat up flavor is still somewhat underwhelming. Either have patience, and give it time. Or perhaps make a good size starter with your choice of Saison strain, and pitch it while it's still active.

Belle Saison is derived from 3711, allegedly. You could probably make a starter with that instead. Or a starter of BE-134.
 
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Was that a starter or just a smack pack? A good size, healthy starter would have much more chance. Healthy being key, as cell walls will be stronger helping the cells survive the strong acidic environment.

While finding and trying solutions, you have some time. There's nothing going to happen to your sour beer as it is, the acidity protects it from many potential invaders.

What kind of fermenter is it in right now? You will need to protect the beer from oxidation.

WY 3711 will eat through anything given enough time, but the flavor profile is not all that impressive. Even when you turn the heat up flavor is still somewhat underwhelming. Either have patience, and give it time. Or perhaps make a good size starter with your choice of Saison strain, and pitch it while it's still active.

Belle Saison is derived from 3711, allegedly. You could probably make a starter with that instead. Or a starter of BE-134.
It is possible the 3711 and be-134 are working, of course, though it's impossible to tell. There is definitely yeast in suspension.

So it sounds like a big pitch is one thing to try next time, if I don't end up with a Saison this time. I think I will pitch it sooner, too. Maybe after the Philly eats 10 SGs instead of 20.

I don't make starters, but I do tend to blend. This is a version of a Saison that usually gets two smack packs and one dry. I pulled back this time because the Philly is doing the heavy lifting...

Not too worried about oxidation.. not enough hops to give me concern. (I bottle my NEIPAs and they don't oxidize, but it takes a lot of work!)
 

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All good strategies to implement. Or perhaps give the Saison a good head start before introducing Philly Sour, with or without adding extra wort.
I would certainly give yeast starters another thought. Those smack packs may not be all that vital or viable. For shaken-not-stirred (s-n-s) starters you'd only need a gallon jug and 12-24 hours. Stir plate not required.

Not too worried about oxidation..
Malty beers and sours can also oxidize, it's not just the hops.
 
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All good strategies to implement. Or perhaps give the Saison a good head start before introducing Philly Sour, with or without adding extra wort.
I would certainly give yeast starters another thought. Those smack packs may not be all that vital or viable. For shaken-not-stirred (s-n-s) starters you'd only need a gallon jug and 12-24 hours. Stir plate not required.


Malty beers and sours can also oxidize, it's not just the hops.

The manufacturer says the Philly has to be pitched first or it will be outcompeted by the other yeast... But I had not considered that the low ph would cause the second yeast not to work.

I almost always pitch blends, so starters aren't really on my list, personally. I used to make NEIPA's, and those beers are expensive! I now mostly make Belgians, and even with 3 packs of yeast they are still about half the cost of a hazy...

Agree that all beers can oxidize. However, my experience is the hoppy beers are at the greatest risk. I can transfer the low hop beers and I don't seem to have any problems....
 

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The manufacturer says the Philly has to be pitched first or it will be outcompeted by the other yeast...
I've read that too.

But I had not considered that the low ph would cause the second yeast not to work.
Let's not forget the organism that gets the head start will (try) outcompete any others, it's the quest for survival and dominance. She first grows like crazy, heavily populating every ml of beer, then metabolizing all available sugars, the simplest first. She's now rules your beer.

A few days in, there you show up again, now with a meager smack pack of 3 months old 3711... 50 billion cells at best, most likely less, none in optimal condition. 3711 doesn't stand much chance to compete with Philly at that point, even less so in an acid bath 5-8 times stronger than she would have felt comfortable in, with not much left to metabolize.

So yes, it's all about getting timing and quantities sorted out.
Such as starting with separate fermentations, then combining them at some point before either is totally done?

Or probably more predictable, let both finish out on their own, then blend to taste, similar to what Lambic brewers do. That may give you an indication for the future what ratio of clean/sourness works best and could be achieved in a single vessel fermentation or combined at some point while still active.
 

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Yeah the only stuff that'll normally play ball at pH ~3.5 is things like Brettanomyces.

Sorry, but that's not true. Lots of Saccharomyces strains will work at a pH of 3.5, or even lower. Every successful homebrewed and commercial "kettle sour" is proof of that. My go to is WLP001, but others swear by other strains.

That said, I have no idea about 3711 at low pH.
 
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I've read that too.


Let's not forget the organism that gets the head start will (try) outcompete any others, it's the quest for survival and dominance. She first grows like crazy, heavily populating every ml of beer, then metabolizing all available sugars, the simplest first. She's now rules your beer.

A few days in, there you show up again, now with a meager smack pack of 3 months old 3711... 50 billion cells at best, most likely less, none in optimal condition. 3711 doesn't stand much chance to compete with Philly at that point, even less so in an acid bath 5-8 times stronger than she would have felt comfortable in, with not much left to metabolize.

So yes, it's all about getting timing and quantities sorted out.
Such as starting with separate fermentations, then combining them at some point before either is totally done?

Or probably more predictable, let both finish out on their own, then blend to taste, similar to what Lambic brewers do. That may give you an indication for the future what ratio of clean/sourness works best and could be achieved in a single vessel fermentation or combined at some point while still active.

A separate fermentation may indeed be the way to go. Maybe I will try splitting the batch next time.
 
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Sorry, but that's not true. Lots of Saccharomyces strains will work at a pH of 3.5, or even lower. Every successful homebrewed and commercial "kettle sour" is proof of that. My go to is WLP001, but others swear by other strains.

That said, I have no idea about 3711 at low pH.

Have you ever heard of a specific Saison strain that tolerates low pH? Seems like 3711 and Be-134 are NOT up to the task.
 

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Sorry, but that's not true. Lots of Saccharomyces strains will work at a pH of 3.5, or even lower. Every successful homebrewed and commercial "kettle sour" is proof of that. My go to is WLP001, but others swear by other strains.

That said, I have no idea about 3711 at low pH.
Sorry should have been clearer, I was referring to that pH and the pitching circumstances described by the OP rather than in general. A big, fresh Sacc starter with plenty of nutrients and probably a hit of extra sugar would probably have stood a good chance though as you say how that pH would have affected that Saison yeast I don't know.
 

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Sorry should have been clearer, I was referring to that pH and the pitching circumstances described by the OP rather than in general.

Okay, now I'm lost. We know that many Sacch strains work at a pH of 3.5 or lower. What were the pitching circumstances to which you referred?
 

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Have you ever heard of a specific Saison strain that tolerates low pH? Seems like 3711 and Be-134 are NOT up to the task.

Sorry, I don't now of any specific Saison strains that have been successfully used in soured worts. But I'd bet there's probably something about it on the Milk The Funk web site.
 

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Okay, now I'm lost. We know that many Sacch strains work at a pH of 3.5 or lower. What were the pitching circumstances to which you referred?
As in low pH wort with few-to-no nutrients, extremely low OG wort with no mention of a starter.
 

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As in low pH wort with few-to-no nutrients, extremely low OG wort with no mention of a starter.
Right--I don't think 3711 would have had an issue if it had been pitched at the start and continued to work as the ph dropped but that's not what happened here.
 
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Right--I don't think 3711 would have had an issue if it had been pitched at the start and continued to work as the ph dropped but that's not what happened here.
In this case I can't co-pitch because the 2nd yeast would outcompete the Philly. But I think I could pitch sooner and pitch a healthier amount.

In this case I pitched after it dropped 20 SGs, but I could try pitching the second yeast after 10, though that would mean the beer won't be as sour...
 
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It does occur to me that I will likely be able to tell if the Saison strains are working... I'm at 1.009 now, and I doubt the Philly can get below 1.005. If I hit 1.000 or .998, I think it's safe to say I will have a sour Saison.
 

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i dont think there's a simple answer to the yeast question. but if i had done this and was making a second batch, i think i'd pitch seperately and combine. i dont drink alot of saison, but the ones i think seem to be more popular are tart (pH approaching 4) vs sour (pH in low 3s). so let the philly get super sour. let the saison get super dry. then combine. sour dilutes to tart. and hopefully the saison sticks around to get it super dry.
This is what I would recommend as well. If you have the fermentor space, just take your time and let the sour batch keep doing it’s thing. When you have time, make another batch with whatever saison yeast you want. When it comes to sour beers, I usually let then sit in primary for about a month before I even think about packaging or checking gravity, and I have generally gotten better results by blending them anyway. Personally, I have seen the benefit of keeping a few carboys of aged wild/sour beers around that I will usually blend with younger saison style beers, kind of like a solera or a bière de coupage. Sour/farmhouse style beers can be frustrating if you try to control them too much, or speed the process up, but if you can be patient and flexible with your process and expectations, you will be rewarded with amazingly complex and balanced saisons.
 
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Reporting back...

Well, my Philly Sour Saison is just OK. After a 10 days of carbonating it's drinking like a slightly tart wheat beer. The ph only got to 3.8, at least on this first measure. (Will measure again this weekend.)

The high ph is disappointing, because I used 5% corn sugar, which was supposed to increase the acidity. 3.8 isn't even really a sour beer. However, it's still very drinkable, and I have a few gallons sitting on some fruit, so I have higher hopes for those.

I'm not getting much Saison character, though it could start to come through after a few more weeks. Still, I think my conclusion is that I should have pitched a lot more Saison yeast. Though even that might not have worked...

As for Philly Sour yeast, I am just not sure. I really need to figure out how to get it under 3.5 ph.
 

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id wonder if this is simply something that will happen when you copitch philly sour. my understanding is that its acid production is tied in with its normal fermentation process. so possibly "sharing" the sugars/fermentation with the saison caused it to not have enough activity to generate the acid required to get down to low-mid 3s. essentially it only did a "half" ferment and therefore didnt generate the acid it would have if it had fermented on its own...

someone else with better understanding of the metabolic pathways would have to chime in tho, as my understanding isnt expert by any means.

but maybe another indication that philly is best pitched on its own and then blended if you want sour.
 
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id wonder if this is simply something that will happen when you copitch philly sour. my understanding is that its acid production is tied in with its normal fermentation process. so possibly "sharing" the sugars/fermentation with the saison caused it to not have enough activity to generate the acid required to get down to low-mid 3s. essentially it only did a "half" ferment and therefore didnt generate the acid it would have if it had fermented on its own...

someone else with better understanding of the metabolic pathways would have to chime in tho, as my understanding isnt expert by any means.

but maybe another indication that philly is best pitched on its own and then blended if you want sour.

I had hoped it would sour first, and then I could pitch the Saison yeast. But my plan did not work. I didn't get enough souring, and the Saison yeast did not take off.
 
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So I decided to open the bottles and dose them with some lactic acid. It worked! Still not much Saison flavor, but at least they are sour.

Kind of begs the question.. maybe I should just make a Saison and add lactic post fermentation. I suppose using Philly would reduce the amount of lactic I'd need. But just tossing in a few ounces of lactic might be less work than doing a split batch...
 

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I had hoped it would sour first, and then I could pitch the Saison yeast. But my plan did not work. I didn't get enough souring, and the Saison yeast did not take off.
I'm still puzzled about the lack of souring from your Philly Sour. One of our club brewers has been using that yeast for Red Flanders the past year and a half, and they are quite puckering! The first one he did was definitely the most sour beer in a 10-12 bottle/growler sour beer lineup, in a mini "sour hour."

Now, I'm not sure how many packs he's pitching in his batches. Could that have something to do with it?
 
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I'm still puzzled about the lack of souring from your Philly Sour. One of our club brewers has been using that yeast for Red Flanders the past year and a half, and they are quite puckering! The first one he did was definitely the most sour beer in a 10-12 bottle/growler sour beer lineup, in a mini "sour hour."

Now, I'm not sure how many packs he's pitching in his batches. Could that have something to do with it?
Well, when I pitched the Saison yeast it appeared to stop the souring... And by then the wort was too acidic for the Saison yeast to work very well, if much at all. So I did not get a sour Saison as planned.

Bottom line is you can't easily co-pitch when using Philly...

I could try a BIG pitch of the second yeast, but the wort would be really acidic. I think that is why the Saison yeast did not work. But I only pitched one pack of Be-134.

Next time, I think I will just do a split batch and blend, then adjust with a little lactic acid if the pH isn't where I want it.

I am going to email the manufacturer and see if they will share tips for co-pitching.
 
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Turns out that a different yeast, Sourvisiae, from the same company, would have been a better choice. It's a GMO sacch yeast that sours, and can be co-pitched from the start.

On its own it will give a final pH of 3, which is a bit too tart for me. But I wonder if the pH would be a bit higher when co-pitched? I might start a new thread and see if anyone has done it.
 

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It's way geekier than is needed to directly answer this question, but there's a new paper been published on gene expression in regular yeast in response to being fermented with the Philly Sour species and Torulaspora delbruekii (same species as WLP603 among others) which I've posted in more detail about over on the main Philly Sour thread - which if you've not read then I strongly recommend, including the links to the suigeneris blog where things that affect acidity with Philly and Sourvisiae are discussed. Just in general, it's better to keep on the one thread rather than spread discussion over lots of different ones :


Yes the Philly Sour species is a relatively "weak" competitor against "regular" yeast.
 
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It's way geekier than is needed to directly answer this question, but there's a new paper been published on gene expression in regular yeast in response to being fermented with the Philly Sour species and Torulaspora delbruekii (same species as WLP603 among others) which I've posted in more detail about over on the main Philly Sour thread - which if you've not read then I strongly recommend, including the links to the suigeneris blog where things that affect acidity with Philly and Sourvisiae are discussed. Just in general, it's better to keep on the one thread rather than spread discussion over lots of different ones :


Yes the Philly Sour species is a relatively "weak" competitor against "regular" yeast.
Thanks! I will check out that thread.

In the past week I've done more research, started that new Sourvisiae thread, and even corresponded with Lallemand.

My current learning is indeed that co-pitching another yeast with Philly Sour is not a good idea. I do plan to keep using it on its own.

Sourvisiae, on the other hand, is a GMO sacch yeast, so it can be co-pitched. Could take a few batches to dial it in, but pitching 60-70 percent of a different yeast (example: Saison) and 30-40 percent Sourvisiae would be a good place to start.

That percent blend should give the dominant yeast a chance to do its thing, and the Sourvisiae then adds some tartness. I do think having some lactic on hand to lower the final pH a bit would still be prudent.

At least this is what I learned from Lallemand and others. Will go check out that thread to see if that is what others are doing.
 
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