Sourdough discard for bottle conditioning

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agood1no

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hey guys - I made a simple Belgian pale amber ale yesterday, and pitched a continental ale yeast for primary fermentation. since it was so simple and relatively small (12 liters, about 3 gallons) I was thinking about trying my luck with catching some bugs outside my house, but chickened out and opted for the continental ale yeast instead.

BUT my buddy has a several years-old sourdough starter, and I was thinking of using that to bottle condition to try to get some of that lacto funk during carbonation. anyone have any success doing something like this? should i add a small amount of the new yeast (sourdough starter) a few days BEFORE bottling, or right before? I also don't know if sourdough starter would blow up all my bottles; ideally would like to avoid that

thanks in advance for your thoughts!
 

monkeymath

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I think it's hard to say what critters are at work in a given sourdough culture and if anything in there is tolerant to both hops and alcohol.
Could be that the already present yeast eats everything before other bugs get a chance.

Note that raw sourdough contains enzymes that might cause excessive attenuation (and hence carbonation) in the long run, as well as a degradation of proteins, which could harm head retention.

It's an interesting idea, but I wouldn't expect too much.
 

mashpaddled

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Agree--difficult to know what is in the sourdough starter. You might get some acidity from the culture but by the time you bottle you're not dealing with a lot of easily digestible sugars (other than the bottling sugar). There could be lactic acid bacteria that can ferment complex sugars but no way to easily know that. The wild yeast could have diastatic qualities that allow them to ferment out remaining sugar in the beer and produce overcarbonated bottles--possibly explosive bottles. On the other hand, the yeast and bacteria may have very low alcohol tolerance and die upon meeting the beer.

It's an interesting idea but one you are probably best trying on a small number of thick bottles where you won't risk the entire batch turning out poorly or risking injury from the bottles. If it works out well then you could try it on a larger batch.
 

TurnipGreen

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Sour dough starter is chuck full of wild yeasts and bacteria. Those wild yeasts will likely strip all the residual sugars and probably the flavor out of your beer. It sounds like you’re looking to try a wild yeast, so go for it. You could get a really cool yeast flavor. Or if this dude’s yeast has been around for 10 years, maybe it’s pretty stable to one single yeast? It will be hard to predict the attenuation of the mixed bag of wild yeasts, but in general they tend to eat a wider group of sugars, so you might want to not add any new sugar/malt at bottling or a lot less.

What it you just did a couple bottles with the sour dough? Then if you like it you could save the dregs to use again.

Sounds like a fun experiment!
 

bracconiere

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hmm...maybe acetobacter is in there and your 3 gallon batch would make good vinegar for french fries or potato chips? 🤔 :mug:

needs o2 for that though....
 
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agood1no

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hey guys thank you all for the input, and I appreciate your thoughts on this. I think doing just a few thicker bottles with the starter sounds good, and that way if its awful i don't waste all 12 L of this batch.

I consent to this experiment fully knowing, from your feedback, that at best it will have no effect and at worst will taste like crap and possibly blow up a couple bottles. will let ya know how it turns out!
 

BGBC

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Why not do a small starter...with the starter. That way you can try it out, see if it ferments wort, see if you like the flavors, plus step up whatever is in the starter and get it acclimated to the environment you eventually want it to ferment in (beer).
 
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agood1no

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Why not do a small starter...with the starter. That way you can try it out, see if it ferments wort, see if you like the flavors, plus step up whatever is in the starter and get it acclimated to the environment you eventually want it to ferment in (beer).
that is a very good idea...thank you!
 
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