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MarkO
06/09/09 02:58 PM  
peculiar wild yeast/lactobacillus behavior
I write to seek a little insight into a "bug puzzle" I've recently experienced:

I have a wild culture of yeast and bacteria captured in Portland, Oregon, where I brew and drink. Have used it for a couple of years to make a wide variety of beers. I'm not sure exactly what is in it, but it certainly contains at least one sp. each of saccharomyces, and lactobacillus, along with some unidentified oxidative yeasts.

A while back I kegged the results of one such brew in a corny -- a sour white beer that was pretty nice. Added glucose to keg, allowed two weeks for conditioning, then tapped. I served the beer from the "natural" CO2 pressure, then planned to connect the external gas once pressure was gone (which is pretty much what I always do, in order to get a little "real ale" at first).

The difference is that this time the pressure never ran out. I served the entire keg without external CO2, and pressure was at a constant 5-10 psi (estimated). It would slow after a few repeated pours, but with a couple days of rest, pressure would increase again.

Any ideas on what could have been producing the gas in the interim? I know it's hard to say without knowing exactly what was in there, but I am wondering if there are any likely candidates that could have produced CO2 under such conditions.

Thanks in advance for your ideas.

SteveG
06/09/09 03:06 PM  
Re: peculiar wild yeast/lactobacillus behavior
No clue but I do have two questions.

What kind of temperature was the keg kept at during all of this?

Did the flavor change along the way?

MarkO
06/09/09 03:23 PM  
Re: peculiar wild yeast/lactobacillus behavior
Yes, important information, that. It was a constant 64 F, for about 3 weeks (my kegerator was full with something else, and it tasted pretty good at that temp).

Tasted pretty much the same all the way through : steady lactic acid at relatively high, but tasty, levels.

And the beer was aged for 1 year prior to kegging, fermentation lock still bubbling slowly after a year, but gravity at 1.004 at kegging, down from 1.060 or so.

Al B
06/10/09 07:49 AM  
Re: peculiar wild yeast/lactobacillus behavior
If the assumption of <<saccharomyces, and lactobacillus, along with some unidentified oxidative yeasts>> is correct, then it is most likely wild Saccharomyces yeast creating CO2 over the long haul (Lacto in very small amounts) - particularly if a white beer has lots of dextrins (probably if alot of wheat / oats were used and not converted).

Wild Saccharomyces yeast of several species will be low flocculating and superattenuative.

SteveG
06/10/09 01:16 PM  
Re: peculiar wild yeast/lactobacillus behavior
...and presumably not that out there in taste?

It sounds like, if you could control that, a great way to dispence beer.

MarkO
06/10/09 01:44 PM  
Re: peculiar wild yeast/lactobacillus behavior
I can at least cut out the trips to the welding shop for filling CO2 bottles, if this behavior holds up. I am definitely going to try to keg another, to see if this behavior holds up.

This beer did contain ~30% unmalted wheat.

It tastes pretty good, both with and without the souring bacteria. Something like a Weisse. I isolated some of the yeast without the lactobacillus last year (using Emil Hansen's 19th century methods -- there is only a very low-tech lab in my garage). Brewed with it and produced some very neutral-tasting beers, with very low ester production. I was disappointed at the time, as I expected it to crank out some crazy, "wild" flavors.

Anyways guys, thanks for the insights. I might have to invest in a microscope, and a class in microflora taxonomy . . .

wetherel
06/11/09 03:12 AM  
Re: peculiar wild yeast/lactobacillus behavior
I wonder if the fermentation rate slows down with increased pressure, until eventually it reaches an equilibrium.

On the topic of lactobacillus, I'm making a sourdough starter (whole wheat flour, acidophilus pill, and barley grains as sources of lacto). I'm going to use some of it for soughdough, and some to kick off a Berliner Weisse. I've been feeding it every 12 hours for the past 4 days. I think it smells like vinegar (acetic acid), which means I have some heterofermentative lactobacillus strains (50% lactic acid plus 25% acetic acid and ethyl alcohol and 25% carbon dioxide). http://www.fao.org/docrep/x0560e/x0560e10.htm

Do you think a Berliner Weisse would taste better with a hetero or homofermentative (eg. delbrueckii) strain?

offequeRego
08/11/09 11:45 AM  
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