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05/04/08 08:26 PM  
Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
Bpotts mention of an empty/evaporated airlock reminded me of this question. Once a nice, thick, dense pellicle has formed has anyone emptied the airlock and allowed air to flow for an extended period of time. If not, ant speculation on the result? I've neen wondering about this for a while but kept forgetting to ask. The color picture in Wild Brews of Gulpener Bierrouwerij's pellicle put this idea in to my head I think - it looks sturdy enough to stand on!
05/05/08 08:40 AM  
Re: Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
Honestly, I always use airlocks, and have never gotten a pellicle like that....I'm now wonering if my sour beers have not had enough 02 all this time....or does the pellicle only form in the presence of 02 to protect against oxygenation? Is it just a defense mechanism of brett or is it desired either way? What about difference in taste between a beer that has a pellicle and one that does not (because not enough 02 gets in to help it form).

When we got a quick heat spell early this spring, one of my sour brews expanded up into the airlock, and after it receded a nice little pellicle formed inside the airlock. Thought that was funny...

05/05/08 10:31 AM  
Re: Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
I bottled a Flanders red recently, and the oxygen pickup during transfer seems to have caused the brett to go kind of crazy in the bottle--big pellicles, etc. And this was a beer that was in a 7 gallon oak barrel (presumably getting a fair bit of microoxygenation through the oak, despite the solid rubber stopper I used).

Anyway, I think there's little doubt that most common vessels (even buckets) let in less oxygen than the brett might ideally want. But that doesn't mean more oxygen is actually good for the beer...

Anyway oxidation and acetic acid production would be things to keep an eye on if you experiment with more permeable closures.

05/05/08 11:30 AM  
Re: Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
Out of the several wild beers I have going right now, only two have a pellicle. A lambic that has been in a plastic bucket for ~2 months, and a 1 gallon jug of a sour mashed cherry beer I made last summer that tasted like crap, so I threw some brett in. That one is only covered with aluminum foil. Although I do have several of these 1 gallon jugs of various "extra" beers with a wide variety of bugs in them; they're all covered with only foil and only the one has a pellicle.

All my other wild beers are in glass with airlocks and none of them have a pellicle. Since my understanding of pellicle formation is that the brett forms it in the presence of O2, it makes sense to me that it would not form in a more or less anaerobic environment.

05/05/08 12:16 PM  
Re: Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
These glass jugs that are only covered in foil... do they get acetic very quickly?
05/05/08 12:16 PM  
Re: Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
Baums, I've had pellicles form in the bottles too,,,,never seemed to make much of a difference, no over carbonation or anything.
05/05/08 12:24 PM  
Re: Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
Baums; honestly I have not tasted any yet. However none of them smell acetic at all. Frankly, I don't mind if they do.

The glass jub project basically started from 1) a beer I had sitting around that wasn't going anywhere, and 2) some extra beer that wouldn't fit in a keg. So now I've got a few of them going with various bugs with the intent to taste and blend some day.

05/06/08 04:39 PM  
Re: Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
I have started using silicon stoppers on my sour ales once primary fermentation has completed. For much of primary, I use foil+rubber band rather than a blowoff tube also.


05/20/08 07:56 PM  
Re: Pellicle + Empty Airlock = ????
The experiment is on! I racked a biere de garde into a Better Bottle I had used to blend my Flander(s) in the previous day or two. You guessed it, pellicle. It popped up in record time, probably partly because I added some sugar solution when racking to get the CO2 up in the headspace. Since I'm really not sure how the beer will turn out, I decided to remove the liquid from the S-style airlock. There is a little left to hopefully prevent a large bug from getting through, but the beer is definitely open to the inside air. The pellicle is already thick with HUGE bubbles, a couple the size of a raquetball fooating in the beer! I added the dreggs from an Orval to enuse that there is at least some good Brett B in there even if the rest is an infection and not the good Roeselare bugs. I'll be sure to post how the beer turns out and what happens to the pellicle from here on.
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