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10/31/07 10:45 AM  
More on Brett Starters
Starting a new thread because I don't want to hijack again and because I have different sort of question....

When making feeding a starter, are tryptone and peptone interchangeable? I just added tryptone because the micro-lab down the hall from me uses it interchangeably. I am feeding D-glucose, tryptone, DME and yeast nutrients from Wyeast on a stir plate but am wondering if there is anything else I can do to make the world a happy place.

11/05/07 01:55 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Okay so from what I've read, Brett rarely produces a kreusen in a starter. Today is day ten. This weekend I put the starter in the fridge, dropped the yeast and this morning I decanted the spent wort. I topped it up today with 300ml of 50% DME/ 50% dextrose, a little yeast nutrient and a couple hours later....

BoOM. The thing is going nuts. Foam foam foam.

So is this normal or did I somehow get "infected" in a bad way? It smells alright but seems wierd based on what I've read.

11/05/07 02:03 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
What did you pitch into the starter...dregs or something from WY/WL?
11/05/07 06:25 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
I pitched a pack of WY B. lambicus that I finally located from Williams Brewing.

11/05/07 11:15 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
When I made a starter with Orval dregs for my saison I had a nice krausen in the flask by the next morning. In the secondary I had s light krausen until I cold crashed it.
Dave I
11/08/07 12:16 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
This is partially related . . . If you are using Brett, Lambic, or wild yeast and bacteria in general, in the secondary:

1) Do you need to make a starter for use in the secondary, or is that only if you are using it as the primary "yeast."

2) When you smack a smack pack of Roeselare or Wyeast Lambic Blend and the like, do you let is swell before pitching, or just smack and dump it in? I read in one recipe it said not to wait for the Roeselare blend to swell; I am not sure why not.


Al B
11/08/07 12:58 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
1) A starter is good practice in general for the best results no matter what is used or when its used. For example, a starter should be used if the culture is on the old side after manufactured or pitching into a high gravity brew. Aerate the bretts if alone, but not the lambic/pediococci mixed cultures - Pedio do not grow in O2.

2) Swelling will at least tell you that yeast in the pack are viable - which is nice. I don't think that after smacking the pack of a Roes/lambic blend that the balance of critters goes "off-kilter" (there really isn't THAT much nutients in those little sacks).

Al Bacteria

11/08/07 01:02 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Al, do you have any propagation steps where you put b. claussenii from an aerobic environment into anaerobic? Such as from agar to a non-stirred test tube? Or do you go straight from agar to a stirred liquid?

I am thinking it's less risky to go from agar to the smallest stirred volume I can, versus going to an anaerobic medium at all.

11/08/07 01:04 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
oops that last one is from me, not Al of course
Al B
11/08/07 02:38 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Baums -

For propagation or population growth, normally its the other way around. I now keep B. clausenii on an agar slant(screw-capped test tube) in the refrige. Even at cool temps. there is a small build-up of CO2, so it is essentially anaerobic. From there it is transferred(a loopful) to an aerated volume of broth/wort starter - typically anywhere from 20ml - 100ml. After that, build up the volumes of starter, refrigerating a large amount of slurry each time before adding more fresh wort.

So yes, from agar plates use a small volume of broth/wort to start, then build.

Dave I
11/08/07 03:22 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
For us low-tech bug brewers, how would you reuse something like a Roeselare, Wyeast Lambic blend, or just your own blend of bugs & wild yeast?

For instance, I would like to make two back-to-back Flanders beers. Would I:

A. Primary ferment the first beer in one container using just yeast, secondary in a different container and infect it then (using the first yeast cake for beer #2), then age in a third container (letting the beer #2 age in the first beer's infected secondary container)?


B. Primary ferment the first beer with a beer yeast for a week, add Roeselare (or whatever) for the next two weeks, then transfer it to a second container for longterm aging and primary beer #2 on the yeast-and-bug cake of the first beer without aerating it?


Al B
11/08/07 04:54 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
There are many ways infect beer, its hard to screw that up....if you were reusing generation after generation over and over - it will get very acidic, I would then keep some of the Rose-blend in the refrigerator - which is an option if one didn't have a handy third carboy.

I should think either A or B is fine, since the amount of contact time with the R-blend will be short, and the reuse is only once.

11/09/07 10:56 AM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Interesting, Al. Maybe your claussenii does eventually run out of oxygen while it's on the slant (after some initial aerobic growth). But I think a key point is that your claussenii is *never transferred to a medium that's not continuously aerated* during propagation. This is what I was trying to get at.

Lots of people propagate saccharomyces by first taking a colony from agar and starting it in a test tube that is (at most) aerated just once by shaking. The sacc yeast grows essentially anaerobically in the test tube, before it's transferred to continuously aerated media. I tried this with claussenii, a few times, and it took forever to grow.

This experience, which is consistent with what's in the Skinner paper available on PubMed that I think deals with the same strain, has been that a huge lag time can occur when the claussenii is suddenly transferred from aerobic growth to an anaerobic medium. So it seems better to avoid any such step.

It seems wiser, backed by Al's experience, to put the first step into something that's continuously aerated--even if you have to use a somewhat a larger volume to do this. I'll try a direct comparison soon--one loopful into unaerated 10 mL, one loopful into once-aerated 10 mL, and one loopful into the smallest volume I can get on my stir plate.

11/09/07 11:05 AM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
So after two weeks off constant stirring and incremental feeding, my Brett l. culture has grown to the point that after refrigeration, it looks like I have about 200 ml. of just Yeast cells (after they have fallen out of suspension). I am going to pitch into five gallons for my first 100% Brett Beer but is this enough to keep some back in a sterile tube in the fridge? Or should I pitch it all and then reuse the yeast cake after this beer is done?

Al B
11/09/07 02:27 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Baums - <<and starting it in a test tube that is (at most) aerated just once by shaking>> I notice what little O2 is there after shaking once, it is consumed very rapidly. Keeping the cap loose helps alot, though.

Of course, this applies to all yeast, but some yeast (just like bacteria) can have specific needs.

Ryan - good job. Now double it. (just kidding). What's yer starting gravity? Aim for a pitch as if you were going to do a lager taking acount of volume and degrees Plato. That will be a safer bet.

Al Bug

11/09/07 02:33 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Starting gravity ~ 1.077

5.5 gallons

how does one do the pitch rate calculation you're talking about?

Al B
11/09/07 02:58 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters

Here's a Wyeast FAQ - A rough rule of thumb is to double pitch rates above 1.065 and triple pitch rates above 1.085. Or, more technically, a million cells per milliliter are needed for a 20degree plato (1.080 specifice gravity) beer, or 3 Activator packages for a 5 gallon batch

You have slurry, not Activator pouch, but you can guess - its safer to dose a bit higher w/ Bretts. So lets see, 3 Activators = 357ml/5 gal @ 1080. I'm reasonably sure a thick slurry will have more cells if fresh, but on the safe side, doubling your slurry will do it for 5.5gal??

11/09/07 03:02 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
It frustrates me that there is no way to know where you are in terms of cell counts though. For example, over the course of two weeks, during which time I have been decanting off the spent wort, I have probably fed the Brett. something close to 2.5 liters of 1040 wort. There must be some way to quickly estimate, based on growth rates, the total number of cells?

Otherwise, my thick yeast sludge could be suspeded in 500ml or 1500ml and still look like slurry. so how do I gauge?

Is two weeks of constant stirring and feeding a good enough guess?

Mike T
11/09/07 03:14 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Jamilís site has a good pitching rate calculator ( www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html ). It suggests that doing 5.5 gallons of a 1.077 lager you would need about 250 ml of thick fresh yeast slurry. It has little slider bars for you to indicate the thickness and % non-yeast material in your slurry.
11/09/07 03:30 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters

awesome. thanks

11/09/07 03:41 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Ahh but there is still the problem of defining what is a "thin" or a "thick" slurry.

11/09/07 05:50 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
It sounds like you just want to know how many cells you grow in a given starter. Such measurenents have been taken and are available in a lot of places (Designing Great Beers, various posts to forums, etc). Though unfortunately they don't all agree. This kind of number is also what's at the heart of the Mr. Malty calculator.

But, I have seen fairly decent agreement (especially from the sources I trust most) that you grow ~100 billion cells in a 1 liter starter at 1.040, IF it's continuously aerated and not nutrient deficient (i.e. if you make it from old extract, add a bit of nutrients).

Something like a factor of 2-3 below that if the starter is not continuously aerated.

Granted there will be strain to strain differences but this is a good place to start. So if you want to pitch your 22L of 19P wort at pro lager rates (1.5 B cells/L/P) you'll want 418B cells. So, a 4 liter starter if it's stirred or continuously aerated, or 2-3 gallons if not.

11/09/07 05:52 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
And by "stirred" I mean with a sufficiently loose cover that it's essentially continuously aerated. Very tight foil would probably not get it done.
11/10/07 03:42 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Well, I appreciate the advice. After all of that help, I pitched my first 100% Brett brew today.

SG 1.079

Lag time < 1hr !!!!!

Thanks guys


11/10/07 06:25 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Ryan, IMO there is a huge hurtle to get past if one has a shot at successful brett brewing. 1 hour lag time? Sounds like you bolted over that hurtle!! Congrats dude, thats great news. Welcome to a whole new world of brewing!
11/10/07 07:07 PM  
Re: More on Brett Starters
Thanks Steve,

but I definitely owe a lot to you guys for the advice. My friend who entered the foray with me, pitched a WYeast pack directly into five gallons and has seen no action. He doesn't read this board. (obviously).

I'll be really excited to see how it comes about; I'll let you know how it goes.

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