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Dave I
11/04/07 06:53 PM  
Sour Ales: Keg or Bottle, Which is Easier?
Hopefully this does not touch on other threads or questions at all, much less ones I have asked. But, with a sour ale (e.g. Flanders, Lambic, Brett-beer, etc.), is it more prudent to bottle or keg? The reason I ask is I am thinking it might be easier to reserve a keg for my bug-beer as opposed to keeping track of which bottles are infected. I know I will have to keep everything infected separate from the normal yeast-beer stuff, and I am planning on keeping a designated infected-carboy or two, plus an infected syphon, tubing, etc.

Essentially, I am wondering:

1) Is it advisable to have a keg for sour ales, or should I just keep a separate stock of bottles for infecting?

2) Is there any chance of infections transferring based on using the same attachment for carbonating the beer? Any way the quick-connect for the gas can get infected if I do not have a multi-tap option and swap the gas from keg-to-keg?

3) Can I use a generic "infected" keg for ALL of my infected beers, or would I need to have one for Brett beers, one for Lambics, one for certain mixes? I am assuming a standard disinfectant will clean out MOST of the germs so that whatever I add will take over as far as the wild yeast(s) a/o bacteria go. Is that accurate?

4) Is there any reason NOT to keg wild brews?


Mike T
11/05/07 09:35 AM  
Re: Sour Ales: Keg or Bottle, Which is Easier?
I bottle everything so I donít have much of a choice. However, I have never had a bottle infection and I do not keep track of which bottles are which (I soak them all in oxyclean followed by star-san). I really like bottling because I can spread out drinking them over a long period of time. It is very cool to hang onto bottles and see how the beer changes over time.

Kegs have the big advantage of being able to control carbonation, with bottles there is always of risk of getting uncarbonated or overcarbonated wild beers. Iíve been spending lots of time trying to figure out exactly how to deal with a Brett A inoculated Courage RIS clone. If I was kegging I could just crash chill it and force carb, but for bottling I fined/chilled it, racked it and added some campden tablets, now I am going to re yeast and bottle. Hopefully the Brett is all dead, the sulfites will not effect the flavor, and the new bottling yeast (US-05) will deal well be able to handle the 10.5% abv and low pH and will not conversely overcarbonate the beer.

11/05/07 09:41 AM  
Re: Sour Ales: Keg or Bottle, Which is Easier?
IMO kegging is always easier.
11/05/07 10:12 AM  
Re: Sour Ales: Keg or Bottle, Which is Easier?
I have a dedicated tap for belgians that includes my wild/sour beers...the way I see it is that if there is any cross contanimination from the wee beasties that it will only add another dimension to the style I have brewed. I keep seperate kegs for this tap, but I'm not sure one would have to if they keep things sanitized well.
11/05/07 11:13 PM  
Re: Sour Ales: Keg or Bottle, Which is Easier?
I also have a tap dedicated to sour ales, and a couple of kegs that are clearly marked. But I really only put Brett beers in these, my roselare blend beers will get bottled.
02/07/08 10:15 PM  
Re: Sour Ales: Keg or Bottle, Which is Easier?
I'm just finishing up my first keg of my first wild brew. I wasn't planning on having a dedicated "wild" keg and tap/line but this thread has made me question that.

At what temperatures to most bugs (brett/pedio/lacto) quit multiplying? My taps and lines are all in my 37-40F fridge. So even if I put a pilsner in this keg where the wild stuff could overtake the flavors, would it have any luck growing in these conditions?

I thought I had read on another post on this forum (which I can no longer locate) that many posters here do not maintain separate kegs or tap lines for wild beers.

02/08/08 06:39 AM  
Re: Sour Ales: Keg or Bottle, Which is Easier?
I have conflicting comments here. My 3rd all brett beer has been in the fridge for months. I had some 2 weeks ago for the first time since maybe mid fall, no question it has continued to develope. I keep the fridge at 34F.

But I do not have dedicated lines or kegs and as of yet have had no reason to regret that.

02/08/08 10:00 AM  
Re: Sour Ales: Keg or Bottle, Which is Easier?
With good sound sanitation techniques you should be able to use the lines and taps for any beer. With my taps I always keep the lines filled with an iodophor solution when not pouring beer. I immediately fill the lines after I have poured each evening's glasses.
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