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05/13/08 01:08 AM  
Best bug harvesting practices?
I am the fortunate new owner of some Russian River brews - Beatification(3) and Temptation(3). Of course, I want to harvest the bugs. I think I've got a good handle on what I'm going to do, but because I'm in FL and they're in CA - I want to get the most bang for my buck and get it right the first time. My thought was just to dump the dreggs into a light gravity DME and apple juice unaerated starter, wait a few days - 1 week, and then into a light gravity beer - maybe a watermelon funk approximation. Then harvest from the fermenter and into a somewhat higher gravity beer ~1.060-70. Sound good? Any other advice? Better to just dump straight in? I'd like to maintain the ratio's somewhat, which I know can be tricky without proper equipment. Thanks guys.
Al B
05/13/08 08:13 AM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?

Send me a bottle of Beautification immediatly and I'll do the rest!!!!!! ;D - HA! just kidding .....sort of...well..maybe not.

OK. First off, the ratios may not be what you want as populations shift over time in the bottle as well as before its even bottled from barrels.

The protocol of using DME first rather than just dumping it in to a high gravity brew seems better, but bacteria if any can get out of hand quickly and be more sour than funky as you seem to want. Its difficult to assume whats best without knowing what is in there. For example, after culturing Rodenbach foederbier, a yeast is finally coming around after 2-3 weeks because there were so much lactobacilli.

If the bottle dregs are fresh, you can send me some of the dregs - I can tell you whats in there, isolate anything that grows and send it back - separately so you can make your own ratio of bugs if you like.

Al B

05/13/08 09:02 AM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
That's funny Al... I think I remember Hilde Martens's thesis saying lactobacilli populations dropped to near-zero after a bit of time in the big casks. I wonder how old the Foederbier is.
Al B
05/13/08 09:39 AM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
Good point Baums. I don't know, Cafe Englebewarrder (something like that) apparantly always have foederbier on what appeared to be a dedicated line and pump. So, while contamination is a possibility, I feel it is lessened by this fact. In addition, it was a new keg that day. The other bugs I am finding are at very low populations. Also, its been my experience under the right conditions that Lacto will quickly grow faster than Pedio or yeast.

The only way to make any determinations is to sample directly from the foeder - I don't know the process of Rodenbach in filling their kegs which may have a big impact.

I will say that I did not find anything in the Grand Cru from the same cafe. Also, from the same cafe, I have a different culture from an unfiltered Palm next to the foederbier on tap and a Boon oude gueuze on the other side of the foederbier tap.

05/13/08 10:52 AM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
Al B

If chips/bugs could be returned to me (and others on the board) for future batches, a bottle of Beatification (and anything RR makes for that matter) would be easy to get for you. Let's call it self-serving altruism.

I am very curious to see what bugs are in this spontaneously fermented beer in comparision to the chips Vinnie passed out last year.

05/13/08 11:26 AM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
SAH; I too am trying to culture up some bugs from Vinnie's latest barrel aged beers. Right now I've got 250ml of ~1.035 starter wort sitting with the dregs from a bottle of Beatification and a bottle of Supplication. I still have my bottle of Temptation but will probably drink it in the next couple days and add that as well. (I got one of each)

Originally I was going to make seperate starters from each, but then decided to just go with a mixed culture.

Good luck.

Al B
05/13/08 11:34 AM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
MTC - I do not have anymore chips from RR, but I do have a Brett that I was able to isolate from those chips. I have older bottles of Temptation - I can see whats in there I reckon.

05/13/08 12:03 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?

I can get more chips (unused). In addition, I have a second generation starter going right now from another set. It might be interesting to see how these bugs have changed, too.

Let me know about the Beatification--I am lucky to live in an area that has plenty available.

I missed your last giveaway and my good friend, Ryan, saw fit to use a portion of his rather than send them my way. Some friend! I have been reading good things about your work and just want to help keep the ball rolling.

Al B
05/13/08 12:21 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
Very good mtc. I can send you whatever I have now and down the road (alan.x.buck@gsk.com). I will also add you to the list for the next bug project.....perhaps a "new" Roeselare blend that I'm working on as indicated above?


05/13/08 01:10 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
Al B, I'll send you an email and would be happy to send you the dreggs from a bottle and we can work out the details of methods/container/etc by email. I definitely don't want just sour, I could use Lacto for that. But I love a sour beer, and would prefer it to be both sour and funky. So it sounds like isolating and making the 'correct' blend/ratio is what would be best. I'll check on the bottle date tonight.
05/13/08 03:32 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
I have regular access to the RR beers including the sour ones. Anyone think the new Supplication was a tad light in color and not very expressive of the oak or the fruit?

It tasted pretty similar to the Beautification although I didn't sidebyside taste.... several week apart.

A friend out here actually made a watermelon funk before the commercial one was announced last year at 21A. I could put you in contact with him if you were interested in his beer details. It was made last summer and had the dregs of a million commercial sour beers in it. The watermelon came acrosss nice and subtle in it. cheers, petec

05/13/08 04:13 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
Hey Pete. I agree with you as to the lightness of the Supplication. Although I still found it to be quite enjoyable and maybe a little "cleaner" around the edges than the Beatification which I found to be a little rough on certain parts. I was also lucky enough to have Beatification on draft a few weeks ago and thought it was smoother than the bottle version I had this weekend. I also found the Supplication to be a little more complex due to the Pinot Barrels and the cherries, however as you said the flavor contributions were pretty subtle. Haven't popped the top on my Temptation to compare yet. Soon though.

I was actually thinking about making a Watermelon funk too. Although I must say, I found the RR/21A version to be quite delicious.

05/13/08 07:01 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?

I may be out of town, but I can still see when people are slamming me behind my back. Watch it tough guy.

Al B
05/13/08 07:17 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
I was wonderin' when Ryan would chirp in ....
05/13/08 09:10 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
I ain't hiding, Ryan.

tankdeer, petec:

I just cracked a Supplication today with a friend. I agree it is a little thin. Indeed, if I hadn't read the label I wouldn't be thinking brown ale. But I agree with petec in noticing its complexity. I attribute this to the power of Vinnie's bugs. To me it is fruit, sour, and funk up front with just a touch of oak in the finish. Quite refreshing, really.

Beatification is a whole other monster. I'm due for a check up at the dentist six months early from the few glasses I've been lucky enough to try. Either way, the really exciting part, at least to me, are the extra "gifts" Vinnie left for us at the bottom of the bottles. It is going to be a great Summer.

05/13/08 09:22 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
petec, I'd love to hear your friends brew details. Is there a way to get them without posting my email here. I trust this community, but am always weary of posting my email address on a public forum. Could you post the details here, or in a new thread? Thank you.
05/14/08 12:53 PM  
Re: Best bug harvesting practices?
I'll work on getting the info from him. It was a nice tasting summer beer last year. He used the fruit of atleast one watermelon. (not sure if it was in the fermentor or where.....). Color was almost peach.

It was a wheat beer base. I think he even dryhopped with Tett for fun. petec

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