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Author Replies
03/04/11 08:02 PM  
storing bugs
Just wondering if anybody had any thoughts on using wood to store bugs. Do you use wood cubes in a beer then simply add them to a new wort for the next batch? The proportions get worked out by pH/alcohol concentration etc..? Do people just keep a jar with a mix of whatever they can find in it, then use those cubes for for a new beer?

I have read some things from Vinnie I believe at Russian River about home brewers using cubes to store and re-use bugs but it was pretty scarce on details.

tom sawyer
03/05/11 08:20 AM  
Re: storing bugs
I personally use my own beers (or commcercial dregs) to innoculate, but the cubes are a good way to ship bugs and also store well if space is at a premium. You kind of get what you get as far as the ratios of the various species, whatever the content is when you add the bugs is what you get. It tends to work out though, the various organisms take their turn over time. You really don't expect consistency, but you always get something interesting. Commerical producers tend to blend to get what they want.
03/05/11 08:41 AM  
Re: storing bugs
I've had pretty good results keeping wood chips in cheap commercial beer (PBR). When bottling a batch, I take the chips from the bottom of the fermenter and rinse them with hot tap water. Then I put them in a loosely capped mason jar with some macro-swill.
03/05/11 11:46 AM  
Re: storing bugs
When kegging a finished batch, I've begun pouring some dregs of my carboy into a beer bottle, purge w/ CO2 and cap. Then I put in the bottom of my kegerator (where it's <38F).

When I want to innoculate a batch, I sanitize the outside of the sealed bottle, open it and pour some/all of the slurry into my new batch. Re-purge w/ CO2 and seal if desired.

This practice would likely be frowned upon for proper "pure" yeast propagation since I don't make any effort to wash the cells.

I've used this method a couple times now and it seems to work fine, but I've definitely wondered what others are trying. The old method was that your barrel transferred yeast & bacteria from batch to batch. I carboy age so don't have that ability/luxury.

03/05/11 01:29 PM  
Re: storing bugs
So will you guys add yeast and the cubes or just let the cubes do their thing? Or will you ferment first with yeast then rack onto the inoculated cubes for say a Flanders red style?

I'm about to do a Flanders red and will include some oak cubes for my own experiments but I'm just curious about others.

03/05/11 02:29 PM  
Re: storing bugs
I've had great success with oak cubes. I generally do a yeast ferment then rack onto the cubes for long-term aging. I almost always add additional wood cubes, then give some away. I've also stored cubes in a sanitized plastic tupperware container for months in the fridge. I started my cubes several years ago with Brett L and Brett B, pedio and lacto. I've since added dregs from numerous sours, and I have noticed later batches picking up more acetic acid when using the cubes. Still makes a great Flanders.
Brain S
03/05/11 11:31 PM  
Re: storing bugs
@jaskelto: out of curiosity, what does the pbr taste like after you do this?
03/06/11 01:20 AM  
Re: storing bugs
Well, because of the small volume the tannins from the oak are overpowering. Other than that, it tastes okay. It gets pretty darn sour after just a few weeks.
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