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Al B
07/27/09 10:46 AM  
Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
You might think that the bacteria associated with sour beer consist of Pedio, Lacto, and sometimes Acetobacter. Those are the major players, yeah.

I have isolated 3 strains of bacteria from Rodenbach foederbier & NB La Folie that - get this - assimilate organic acids such as lactic acid, acetic acid, among others. That is, they can break down acid into another product (acetate/lactate?). what does that mean? A final product that is smoother, softer to an extent rather than mouth-puckering acidity.

I have added some of these bugs to vinagarized beer and after a few short weeks, became much softer than the harsh bite of acetic acid. How much can they do, only time will tell.....and a few experiments.

Ever wonder how Duchesse de Bourgogne has that sweet/sour aspect like fine balsalmic? It ain't from pasteurizing in my opinion.

Then there's a wine bacterium called Oenococcus (like Pedio) except one interesting trick......it converts sharp tasting malic acid to soft lactic acid. A great bug to use when cherries or other fruit are high in malic acid. It has worked nicely in a flemish red w/ cherries for me. Use it after yeast fermentation has completed.

Al Bacterium

07/27/09 11:14 AM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Cool findings! Keep us updated as the experiments progress.
07/27/09 01:42 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Funny you should bring this now. A wine maker friend was over for dinner the other night and after showing him the brett beers and jars of Pedio and Lacto he mentioned Oenococcus.

He thought it might be a nice addition to wild beers.

I forgot to ask him where one could find it though. Any ideas?

07/27/09 01:55 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
<<I forgot to ask him where one could find it though. Any ideas?>>

I'm curious about this too

Al B
07/27/09 02:10 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Oenococcus is readily available. It may be called Malolactic bacteria on the pkg. Both WL, WY in liquid form and in dry form such as Lalvin. None of which display any "sickness" or ropiness, but plenty of acidity and diacetyl so use brett along w/ it.

You can find it online such as Morebeer, North. brewer, Midwest, Grape&Granry etc. etc. under the wine yeast.

07/27/09 02:33 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Al B,

You mention the three strains you have been able to isolate, have you identified what organisms they are yet?

Also, and stop me if this has already been discussed, I found a journal article the other week describing how Brett when paired with pedio will further accentuate the super attenuation characteristics of Brett. Anyone notice this effect and if so by how much will this change in practice?

Al B
07/27/09 02:55 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
I have not been able to get an identification yet, at least a good one by traditional biochemical means. They seem to be related the most to Corynebacterium which is a very large gorup of species. Somewhat related to other Genera - Arthrobacter, Curtobacterium, Cellulomonas.

They do not utilize maltose, maltotriose, sucrose, or starch....mostly just glucose, various organic acids, and glycerol. They do grow aerobically, but not sole aerobes.

07/27/09 06:16 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Interesting. Were they able to make your vinegar drinkable? On a side note reduced balsamic vinegar tastes very sweet, a lot like Duchess. Maybe a little less vomitesque though ;)
Al B
07/28/09 07:07 AM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
<<Were they able to make your vinegar drinkable?>>

It was very drinkable compared to what it was. Very much like Duchesse, the acetic aroma was still apparent, more like the acetate ester, I think. There may be a point of no return if too acidic, I don't know yet.

08/05/09 04:09 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
hey al, regarding the malo-lactic bacteria... how long did it work on your aged beer? i thought it produced a good bit of diacetyl but it might break down after a while. did you notice any while it was young?
Al B
08/05/09 08:38 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Oenococcus will produce diacetyl if there is fermentable sugar left. The key here is to add it after all fermentables are done, then add it to convert malic to lactic. That's what I did and I did not detect diacetyl, but I also had brett in there too.

Like Pedio, if you use brett, the brett will absorb most of the diacetytl.

09/22/09 08:39 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Hey Al, have you done any more expermentation with these bacteria? Also how were you able to isolate them; just by streaking? selective media? and have you found similar bacteria in other sour beers or are the Rodenbach and New Belgium beers unique?
09/23/09 11:18 AM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Interesting tid bit about the oenococcus, Ill have to keep that in mind in the future

Ive actually used Lalvin Narbonne, cant think of the number, for the same purpose before, but it converts malic to lactic acid

Al B
09/24/09 08:25 AM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Not yet Zach, they were isolated on non-selective media, in fact non-maltose media since some of the isolates do not utilize maltose. This is the first time I have seen these types of bacteria, but any barrel-aged sour could potentially harbor certain bugs in their own niche.
tom sawyer
04/05/10 12:29 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
I found this thread after wondering in another thread about this same topic.

I see Oenococcus will produce diacetyl in some instances. At six months my lambic had a BAD diacetyl problem, but after another six months it was gone. So I suppose diacetyl is only transiently present and will get used up eventually.

I think I'll add one of my vials of Whitelabs MLB to my barrel after the primary fermentation is complete. I think I'm going to add a can of Oregon cherry puree that I have sitting around, so this may provide some malic for food.

Al B
04/05/10 01:05 PM  
Re: Other bacteria implicated in sour beer
Yeah, Bretts will absorb diacetyl in sour beers, much like Sacch. will in non-sour beers (i.e. diacetyl rest).

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