Pellicle on Flanders Red Ale

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Morkin

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I'm planning on a Flanders Red next week. Problem is, I only have a bucket and 5 gallon fermenter available, as I'm lagering some beer in my other fermenters....

I was planning on a 5.5 gallon batch, with primary fermentation done in the bucket with airlock, then a transfer to a 5 gallon fermenter for the bugs to go into.

I'm planning on putting a little less in the secondary to account for the pellicle formation, but I want to know how tall to expect the pellicle to be...

I've never made a Flanders before, is the pellicle as tall as krausen, or is it just a little film on top of the beer? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks,
 

jessup

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Dogphish

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i thought that the microbes need a small steady supply of oxygen to sour the beer in a timely manner. are you saying the beer will sour the same way without creating a pellicle if you can limit the O2?

i'm glad you asked this question because i just pitched bugs into a 5 gallon fermenter with the concern of too little surface area for the pellicle.
 

spiny_norman

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i thought that the microbes need a small steady supply of oxygen to sour the beer in a timely manner. are you saying the beer will sour the same way without creating a pellicle if you can limit the O2?

i'm glad you asked this question because i just pitched bugs into a 5 gallon fermenter with the concern of too little surface area for the pellicle.
I'm just gearing up to do my first sour beer. From my understanding (and obviously I'm no expert) you want some O2 so that you get some acetic acid, but not too much that it turns the beer to vinegar. themadfermentationist.com is an excellent resource. Apparently you don't want to sweat it if you don't get a pellicle, either.

I have a surpless of cornys so was going to ferment initially with neutral yeast (high mash temp) in a carboy to about 1.025 before transferring it to a keg and adding the oak and bugs. Nor very scientific, but I think I'll just crack the lid once every few months so that some O2 gets in there. I also read somewhere (I forget where) that a carboy with a carboy cap would likely work well as it's slightly porous. Also heard that using a bucket is a bad idea because it is too porous, but seen contradictory comments that some home brewers have made outstanding sour beers with buckets.
 
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Morkin

Morkin

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Where do you get the Oak stoppers that Jamil talks about? Is it just the oak dowls that you can get from northernbrewer and austinhomebrew? Or do you have to stick them into a stopper? Also, how is C02 released when you stop it up like that?
 

XXguy

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Where do you get the Oak stoppers that Jamil talks about? Is it just the oak dowls that you can get from northernbrewer and austinhomebrew? Or do you have to stick them into a stopper? Also, how is C02 released when you stop it up like that?
Take a peek here. I'm pretty sure the mad fermentationist posts here sometimes in HBT. His blog has lots of good stuff about "funk".

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2007/02/8-homebrew-barrel.html

Good luck with it.
 

BrewNinja1

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He goes by OldSock here. Helps out a lot in the lambic/sour section of the forums. Somewhere I read on his website he doesnt bother with the wood stopper anymore.
 

Calder

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Where do you get the Oak stoppers that Jamil talks about? Is it just the oak dowls that you can get from northernbrewer and austinhomebrew? Or do you have to stick them into a stopper? Also, how is C02 released when you stop it up like that?
I think the originals were oak chair legs from the hardware store that fitted in the corboy opening.
 

jessup

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I think I'll just crack the lid once every few months so that some O2 gets in there. I also read somewhere (I forget where) that a carboy with a carboy cap would likely work well as it's slightly porous. Also heard that using a bucket is a bad idea because it is too porous, but seen contradictory comments that some home brewers have made outstanding sour beers with buckets.
using a corny works well. just try not to touch it too much. for all you know there IS a pellicle inside that you can't see, and if you open it and disturb the gentle monster it may fall prematurely. not a big deal, but patience is key! wait as long as possible before opening. an oak barrel will allow a certain amount of O2 in and out of the barrel which is really optimal, but a corny will work by pulling the pressure release from time to time. taking the ball lock off and replacing with a bung and airlock works great, too.

buckets will expedite souring since it's so porous, but if you walk a fine line it may work out well. it will also expedite your precious sour to vinegar. i've aged with plastic for up to a few months, but no long term aging. there are stories of failing buckets and losing whole batches so why risk a long term project like this...
 

spiny_norman

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using a corny works well. just try not to touch it too much. for all you know there IS a pellicle inside that you can't see, and if you open it and disturb the gentle monster it may fall prematurely. not a big deal, but patience is key! wait as long as possible before opening. an oak barrel will allow a certain amount of O2 in and out of the barrel which is really optimal, but a corny will work by pulling the pressure release from time to time. taking the ball lock off and replacing with a bung and airlock works great, too.
I was planning on replacing the gas connector with an airlock, and when it's done to do a CO2 push for bottling and further aging. Do you think I need to cut an inch off the bottom of the dip tube? Not too bothered about clarity but getting the tube blocked after a year and a half of waiting because of pellicule debris, yeast and other particulates would be rather annoying.
 
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Morkin

Morkin

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So what is the consensus on letting 02 into the carboy. Should I just go with the wooden stopper? Or should I put a carboy cap on the bad boy and let it ride out and hope that it lets in enough 02?
 

jessup

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So what is the consensus on letting 02 into the carboy. Should I just go with the wooden stopper? Or should I put a carboy cap on the bad boy and let it ride out and hope that it lets in enough 02?
a consensus is impossible on that subject. like i pointed out with the bucket and porousity, O2 is good to a point then isn't beneficial anymore. there are 'too many ways to skin a cat' for there to be straight answer for any sours, but there are faulty methods. if you put a wooden stopper in the bung hole of your carboy and your wood expands, you might break the carboy due to the wood expanding. i would recommend using a bung and putting an oak dowel thru the bung. i think using a carboy with silicone bung allows almost the same amount of O2 exchange as using a large oak barrel. see wild brews for all the answers to your questions.
 

Dogphish

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in terms of O2 transfer, you could put a pint or a quart of the batch into a sanitized bottle with just foil over the lid. then you could blend this over aerated beer/vinegar back into the main batch to achieve the desired amount.

or, you could seal it us tight in a carboy and add wood chips. they will give off some O2 and it will be less/easier to control than a wooden peg. you can alway add more.
 

jessup

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in terms of O2 transfer, you could put a pint or a quart of the batch into a sanitized bottle with just foil over the lid. then you could blend this over aerated beer/vinegar back into the main batch to achieve the desired amount.

or, you could seal it us tight in a carboy and add wood chips. they will give off some O2 and it will be less/easier to control than a wooden peg. you can alway add more.
your first option would work, but that would be about the same as adding lactic acid directly to your beer. trying to skip steps and expedite sours won't give you a quality beer with lots of complexity. just so we're clear this technique would add acidity but not oxygen.

your second option is no good. wood chips do not release O2. they give a habitat for your bugs and add tannins which will act as food, but they will definitely not release O2. the wooden peg is used since it will allow a small amount of O2 to exchange. the wooden peg works great until it expands and cracks/breaks the carboy. i always use a regular bung and airlock and it works fine. if you rally want to get fancy, use a bung and put an oak dowel through the bung. whether you want to let the dowel touch the beer or not is up to you and a totally seperate discussion. if i were you i would start looking into old threads where subjects like this have been discussed extensively. there's a lot of info from people and testimonies of their experiences.

PM me if you want any detailed info or have a need for additional info. oldsock a/k/a madfermentationist is a wealth of knowledge as well as ryane in the wild/sour forum.
 
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