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ChadChaney

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Just getting into sour/brett/wild brewing and can not seem to find a solid answer to this question. I have some medium toasted oak cubes that I am planning on adding to a brew with WL Belgian Sour Mix. I have been trying to leech the oak flavor from the cubes with beer, swapping it out daily, is there a better method, if not, how long is this going to take, I really do not want any oak character in the final beer. Also, did I read this right, after use, I can dry the cubes and the bugs will be preserved in the cubes? Thanks folks.
 
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ChadChaney

ChadChaney

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Another quick question, if I want to pitch Lacto (WL) into 2.5 gallons do I need to make a starter, if so, any good ways to keep it warm? I can't seem to find a heating pad w/o the suttoff...
 
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You don't absolutely need a starter but if you wanted to make one and keep it warm you can use a water bath and add small amounts of hot water to maintain the temperature. Not perfect but a workable option.

As far as your first answer goes, I don't think your process will work as you think it will. Putting oak in and out of the beer will destroy the pellicle, if one already exists, and expose the beer to oxygen which can have a negative effect on it. Especially if you're fishing around the bottom of the fermenter for some cubes. Second, it's not like you can stick the oak in and the bugs magically slide in right away. They will get into the wood over time so you'll need to leave it in there for a while. Probably weeks at a minimum but there's no harm in putting them in there during the entire aging process. You can boil the crap out of the oak to get most of the flavor out. If you only add a few cubes you're not going to get noticeable flavor in five gallons of beer.

Is there any reason why you won't just save some of the cake to use on a new batch? Much easier than the whole wood thing.
 

spearko520

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yeah - what ReverseApacheMaster said- do you mean that you are trying to get rid of the oak flavor by soaking them in beer (like BMC - cheap beer) and giving them fresh beer, swapping out the oakey beer, on a daily basis, prior to using them in your sour beer? I think boiling is a better bet to extract the oak. maybe the acidity in the beer helps, you could probably boil the beer or even use vinegar or star san, but i just boil in water.
 

Coff

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The boiling method works really well, or even popping it in the microwave until all the water boils off then repeat.

You could always soak the cubes in bourbon/whiskey/wine which would add another layer of depth as your beer would take on some of those characteristics.
 
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ChadChaney

ChadChaney

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Sorry, should have been more clear, I am trying to rid the oak of flavor before adding it to the aging beer. The beer will be a Belgian Wit and I plan on adding fresh Bing Cherries and Lacto with the cubes. I will be saving some of the cake, if not all, but after reading that Vinnie sun dried some cubes with the RR blend of goodies on them, I thought I might try to preserve some of my blend as well.

Ok, here is another question, I have a Saison in 2 separate 1 gallon jugs, I pithced WL Brett B into them both, split the vial into both. One is covered with tin foil (I was short and airlock) and the other an airlock. Checked them today and after a week, the one with the smaller amount of Brett and the foil has a small pellicle formed, and the airlock does not. I am aware this is due to the oxygen allowed into the vessel, and my question is this.. Should I remove the airlock on the other jug and do the foil thing to let more oxygen in, or am I am risking oxygenation by using just foil, and should I add an airlock to the other vessel?

Thanks again everyone, you have all been so awesome on this forum as I learn to brew these awesome and complex styles!
 

spearko520

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when i do an all brett, i treat it just like i would any other clean beer, so yes to airlock. A week seems fast for a pellicle to form, even when i use large jars which have a good deal of headspace, it takes longer than that- are you sure you aren't just seeing fermentation krausen? I just pitched the brett B trois into an all brett batch and it has a nice healthy top crop like four days later, but a pellicle is different. Sometimes they form, sometimes they don't- i never thought it was a big deal either way- though i think i may have read something, somewhere, to the contrary- or something along the lines of certain parts of brett activity nearer the pellicle development (being indicative of oxygen exposure) are increased. It doesn't seem to matter for me, that i can tell.
 
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A pellicle is neither good nor bad. It's just a reaction to too much oxygen exposure. The one with the airlock likely hasn't formed a pellicle yet because there's still CO2 in the fermenter and/or the beer is releasing CO2. Eventually a pellicle will probably form. Brett will get busy with or without a pellicle. However, once one forms that is an indication you need to be gentle with disturbing it to prevent unwanted oxygen exposure by breaking the pellicle.
 

Calder

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A pellicle is neither good nor bad. It's just a reaction to too much oxygen exposure.
Is it "just a reaction to too much oxygen"?

I have read that in many places, and accepted it to be true .... after all, everyone says so. But from my experience I am starting to doubt it.

I keep most of my sours and brett (secondary) beers in 5-liter glass carboys sealed with drilled stoppers and vodka filled airlocks. I add the brett or bugs as the beer is transferred to these secondary fermenters and I ensure there is a little fermentable material to build up plenty of CO2 in the headspace. Most of these are filled to within an inch of the top, leaving very little airspace.

Most (if not all) eventually form a pellicle, some forming it within a couple of months, yet in every case there is still positive pressure within the carboy (as indicated by the fluid level in the 'S' type of airlocks that I use.

Once in secondary, I leave them alone and don't open them until I am ready to either bottle or rack onto some fruit. I have a little army of these containers in my crawl space.
 

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