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Sourdough to make sour beer?

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jamesdawsey

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Have any of you brewers and mad scientists out there tried dropping some sourdough starter into your fermentation? I've got about 20 gallons of a 6-month old starter at work that smells wonderful. Both the beer and the bread are soured from the same bacteria: lactobacillus.

I'm thinking about trying it since it's such an inexpensive style to make anyway, but if anybody has any experience to relate I'd love to hear it!

Here's to new experiments!
:mug:
 

Microscopist

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I have often wondered about doing this but my sourdough doesn't smell like anything I'd want near my mouth until it's cooked ( though a mate does drink the liquid off his )

There's a uk brewery that does produce a sourdough - http://wildbeerco.com/beers/sourdough/

I spoke to someone who knows them and was told they had a lot of trouble getting something drinkable so you might have to try a few batches.
 
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jamesdawsey

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Now I really want to try a Wild Beer. Almost every one of those sounds very interesting. Though I don't think our 6 month old starter will compare even slightly with a 58 year old starter. Nonetheless...

Will return with progress on my sourdough beer... soon?

New question. Does anybody have any Wild Beer beers in the US? I would love to try just about every single one of those I saw on their website.
 

Microscopist

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Actually I'm willing to bet that after a certain amount of time it doesn't matter how old your starter is - it'll have reached an equilibrium between all the species living in it and it probably doesn't take that long. Of course each time you add flour you're adding more bugs but few of those will get a chance to take in an already active ferment.

Got a very vigorous ferment in a starter off their wild saison. I'll treat myself to a sourdough and clone the dregs off that - both for bread and brewing ( wonder how the bret will come out in bread ). Willing to post slants after the house move is done.
 

TNGabe

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Almanac release a sourdough ale commercially. They're available online from a number of places.

Although it's likely to be lactobacillus, without doing some lab work there's no way of knowing exactly what combination of lactic acid producing bacteria the sourdough contains. It will have number of other yeast and bacteria as well.

I've thought about making a test batch of sourdough beer, maybe I'll try that next time I have some extra wort. Personally, I think I'll pitch a little brett with it to help clean up any off flavors from the sourdough.

I don't think the age of the culture has any bearing on it's quality. If you take starter 'x' that's been maintained for 100 years and starter 'y' that I made two weeks ago and use the same flour to maintain them, they will become very similar over time as the resident microflora of the grain takes over. Nothing to do with brewing really, just a thought.
 

Microscopist

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I'm drinking the wildco sourdough right now, it's not what I'd expect at all from a beer.

It's pale golden, almost clear and with no head. Taste is fruity, tart - tasting more malic than lactic, and ever so slightly bitter.

It's very well balanced, tastes extremely good but in a blind tasting I would swear I was drinking a cider made with bittersweet apples - and a good one at that. I'd love to know what their hopping schedule was.

Needless to say, I've saved the sediment. I may never get round to pitching it in a wort as I've my own wild yeast to pursue but at the very least it's going to start a new sourdough for me.
 

dantheman13

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Came across this video on youtube recently and thought it might be of some interest to this thread:

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrK50z71X0[/ame]
 

McCoy

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The Wild Beer Co Sourdough tasted like a pretty normal Berliner Weisse to me. It was really good, but I didn't get any cider character. I emailed them awhile back asking how they determined a pitching rate.

I messed around with adding a culture strait into the fermenter at the time of pitching for about a year and found it was rather difficult not to get off flavours. I settled on the following process for sourdough
Mash at 65c for one hour
boil for 15 min with no hops.
fill each oak barrel 80% full with wort at 25-27c no o2 added
add cultured lactic bacteria from Hobbs House culture as well as brett c.
This is then left for 3-4 months at about 14-20c for fermentation
Taste all barrels and blend accordingly.

If I was going to pitch a sourdough starter into a beer now with what i have learnt and know now I would brew the beer to a low abv 3-4.2ish%, ferment with brett, use o2/shaking, no IBUs. and when the fermentation has nearly finished the ph should be low enough to kill alot of bad bacteria and yeasts so the good ones will mature the beer over 4-12 months.
Ether which way you do it I would give it 4 months tell you even think it might be ready. for long term aging use glass or stainless or bottles.
If you're deadly curious about the beer, I can bring back a bottle with me when I move back from the UK in August and then post it to you. I will hopefully have enough space in my luggage with all the beers I picked up in Belgium.
 
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jamesdawsey

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McCoy - That would be great! I would love to try it if you can make room. If my experiment turns out well I'll be glad to send you a bottle to try.

That video is very well thought out. If you're interested, I recommend checking out his follow-up video of the brew day and tasting notes. Hopefully I'll have a chance early next week to begin.
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Snv07QnwkG0[/ame]
 

TriggerFingers

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I am splitting a 5 gallon batch into 1 gallon jugs for Brett trails....I have a really nice sourdough starter I made last year with an old pack of Wyeast 3191 and it smells like sour cherries. I am going to take spoonful of slurry and infect 1 gallon and see what happens.
 

beansnbrews

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I've been cultivating a sourdough starter for about 5ish years now and I too have been considering throwing some into some wort one of these days to see what happens.

I wasn't able to watch the videos, but have been wondering regarding pitching: Have any of you who have tried this made a starter out of the sourdough starter and then pitched into the wort or just threw dough starter into wort? Just wondering with all of the flour/water slurry in the dough starter how that would affect the resulting beer.
 
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I made sourdough from the trub off a Berliner Weisse I made a few years ago. The sacc and lacto are perfect for making sourdough.

Unfortunately, I don't think the reverse is always true. It's possible that the yeast in sourdough won't ferment maltose in wort, so the lacto will do all the lifting. Not sure, but I remember reading this.

Here's a (bad) pic of the bread I made.

 

dantheman13

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Inspired by Mike T., I made some kvass two weekends ago. I used sour dough from a local pizzeria (best pizza in Vegas IMO) and their house cultured wild yeast. I'll be bottling it up this weekend, and will condition it for the next month. I'll report back on how it turns out.
 

Urkelbot

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I did something similar but with homemade fermented sauerkraut. I made a starter with a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut juice in left over beer wort. It eventually took off and after a couple weeks it tasted sour and was actually pleasant. I took it into the lab and on the gram stain their was plenty of yeast gram positive cocci and rods, I assume are lactobacillus and pediococcus. Lots of other gram negative bacteria I couldn't identify.

I've been taking a third sparge from my regular brews boiling down to about a half gallon and fermenting in growlers with the sauerkraut blend. The results have been good especially with fruits added. I haven't done any larger batches yet
 
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jamesdawsey

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So I said I would get back. My Sourdough experiment seems to have gone off without a hitch! It Tastes like Westbrook Gose without the salt. Smells like I dropped a chunk of bread into a glass of very sour lemonade. Tastes like a well balanced berliner weisse even though no wheat (except in the dough) was used. I'm thrilled! Here's what I did:

3 big spoonfulls of sourdough starter in a 1/2 gallon of wort at 1.045. Cover with aluminum foil - not an airlock.
1 week later I stepped it up to one gallon trying my best to leave the sediment in the first starter (to leave the dough behind). Again, cover with aluminum foil - not an airlock.
1 month later I tasted it and it's delicious. Haven't stepped it up to 5 gallons yet. I may just boil a little EKG or Williamette in water and add that to my 1 gallon. Or I may just bottle and drink as is. It's Delicious!!
 

Microscopist

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Planning a test batch myself, dunno if what I've got even qualifies as a sourdough any more- it started life as one but has been fed my excess wild yeasts, a few dregs of saison and the dregs from a bottle of a Bret brew I bought. It gets sugar, excess sweet wort,honey and wholemeal, white and rye flours as feed depending on the weeks kitchen activity. Smells nice and sharp, no hint of off odour and makes a great loaf
 

MaddBaggins

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I did something similar but with homemade fermented sauerkraut. I made a starter with a couple tablespoons of sauerkraut juice in left over beer wort. It eventually took off and after a couple weeks it tasted sour and was actually pleasant. I took it into the lab and on the gram stain their was plenty of yeast gram positive cocci and rods, I assume are lactobacillus and pediococcus. Lots of other gram negative bacteria I couldn't identify.

I've been taking a third sparge from my regular brews boiling down to about a half gallon and fermenting in growlers with the sauerkraut blend. The results have been good especially with fruits added. I haven't done any larger batches yet

I've been curious about this as well. I ferment my own kraut and wondered about adding some juice to a beer. My concern was the salt content in the kraut juice.
I follow this guys method. http://www.wildfermentation.com/making-sauerkraut-2/ I've made 3 batches so far. I think I used a little too much salt in the latest batch, but it kept the cabbage nice and crispy. The second batch, I tried to cut back on the salt. It tasted good, but had no crunch.
 
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jamesdawsey

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Planning a test batch myself, dunno if what I've got even qualifies as a sourdough any more- it started life as one but has been fed my excess wild yeasts, a few dregs of saison and the dregs from a bottle of a Bret brew I bought. It gets sugar, excess sweet wort,honey and wholemeal, white and rye flours as feed depending on the weeks kitchen activity. Smells nice and sharp, no hint of off odour and makes a great loaf
If you think it smells/tastes good then I recommend giving it a shot. The only reason I was so excited about doing this experiment was because I adore the aroma that I get every time I feed our sourdough starter.
 
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jamesdawsey

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Final update, for anybody interested:

Brewed in september 2014, Bottled in December 2014, and in March 2015 it's become more sour, but not too sour yet. I could drink a case of these without batting an eye.

I finally stepped the one gallon up to a 5 gallon batch, and after about 3 months of fermenting and 2 months of sitting in the bottle it has developed very well. It's now got a good sour pucker that's well balanced but not overwhelmed by the minimal malt. Again, you'd never guess there's no wheat in the malt bill. It's a very good Berliner-Weiss-sans-weiss beer. Delicious.

Recipe's simple:

3.5 lbs. Gold DME (why I didn't use wheat? Had gold on hand)
.25 oz. Hallertauer for 30 min.
stepped up sourdough starter (explained earlier)

If you have access to a sourdough starter you like, and you like sour beers this is an easy beginner's recipe for sours.

Cheers!
 
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