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Nate O.
05/30/12 10:56 PM  
Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
I've been using the fast-lacto, sour wort method exclusively for my sour beers. Basically, I sour some amount of the wort until it's how sour I want it, then boil or pasteurize it, then ferment as usual.

I've gotten it dialed in pretty well (the most common descriptor from my homebrew club is "balanced"). I want to branch out into Brett secondaries, but I'm not sure how to go about that.

Does anyone sour with lacto upfront, then use a Brett secondary? How much more sour should I expect the Brett to go?

05/31/12 12:28 AM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
Brett sourness is pretty minimal, though with the acetic acid it can produce can make a more perceived sourness.

What's wrong with your method now? It sounds like you're getting the sour level you want. The only thing left is how much brett character you get and characters you get from it's esters. This will depend upon the remaining gravity of the wort and the phenols and acids in the beer when the brett goes to work.

Nate O.
05/31/12 09:00 AM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
Could you elaborate on how gravity, phenols, and acids affect how the Brett behaves?

I'm happy with my current method. It makes a very clean sour. It's great with a hop-forward beer, and in a Berliner Weiss. I brewed a Flander Red inspired ale this way, and it turned out well, though not really anything like the commercial examples I've had.

I'm hoping to get some funky/fruity flavors out of the Brett (like the big earthy/cherry notes in Rodenbach and Duchesse). My wife is really into the Duchesse and wants me to make something similar. She said my all-lacto Flanders Red was kinda boring, and the sourness tasted one-dimensional.

Do you think a Brett secondary will get me the earthy/cherry notes I'm looking for? I don't want over-the-top sweaty horse aroma like some Brett beers have.

I have a pack of B. lambicus I'm planning on using.

Nate O.
05/31/12 09:09 AM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
Also, I've heard of people using Pedio in conjunction with Brett. What does the Pedio bring to the table that Lacto doesn't? FWIW my lacto cultures are whatever is on my base grain, so I'm not sure exactly what I'm getting.
Nate P.
05/31/12 10:11 AM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
It's kind of the other way around. If you want to use Pedio, it's a good idea to use Brett. Pedio puts out diacetyl and the Brett takes it back up. Pedio is a different sourness, it's the dominant sour flavor in Russian River sour beers, except for Beatification which is heavier on the Lacto I believe. White Labs has a new strain of Brett out as a platinum release for May-June, WLP644 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois. You can maybe tell from the name where they got it. I'm excited to try it, got a vial to bottle a Brett/Bacteria only Pale Ale.

If you want more complexity in a Flanders, I would try Wyeast's 3763 Roeselare Ale Blend.

Nate O.
05/31/12 10:42 AM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
I've actually never had any of the Russian River beers, except for Pliny when I lived in CO. Now I live in MO, and they don't distribute here at all.

My LHBS was out of the Roeselare. I might order some online, but right now I don't need anything else, and I have a hard time paying $10 for the yeast, then another $8 or so for shipping.

05/31/12 12:29 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
Pedio and lacto both produce primarily lactic acid. Pedio is a much stronger organism, though, and so can survive with higher levels of hopping than the lacto.
05/31/12 02:30 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
For the cherry notes I would go with Wyeast Brett Lambicus, that's the one I've gotten the most fruity notes from, though the Brett Clausseni (sp?) is very fruity, but more tropical fruity to me.

I'm probably not the best to explain the whole phenol/acid ester production of brett, hopefully either Al B or Chad can chime in, they really know their stuff. But from my understanding brett will create esters from acids and phenols present in the beer creating it's character. Now each strain of brett produces slightly different characters and different amounts of these esters. If you do a search on Chad Y's "Brettanomyces Masters Project" you should be able to sort of get an idea of this process.

What you will need is some residual sugar for the brett to ferment. Most brett strains have very high attenuation, so they will typically be fine in secondary, taking your gravity down into the low single digits. So it sort of finishes of the remaining sugars. I guess what I'm getting at is if you want a lighter brett character use a higher attenuating primary yeast, so it leaves less sugar behind for the brett which should give less character. If you want a stronger brett presence then leave a higher final gravity after your primary.

So maybe for your initial trial, sour it up like you have been and try and aim for a final gravity of around 1.012 after the primary yeast is done. Next, rack to secondary and pitch a packet of Brett Lambicus. Wait for a few months until the gravity stabilizes again, probably around 1.006 or so, then you're ready to bottle.

05/31/12 02:38 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
One other thing. Both of the beers you mentioned, Rodenbach and Duchess, are pasteurized and blended/back-sweetened to give that sweet/sour effect.

Typically when you use brettanomyces you end up with a very dry beer due to the low finishing gravity, so yours won't be as sweet as the examples you listed.

**also, as far as pedio goes, just like lactobacillus it produces lactic acid, so it won't really bring anything new to the table, especially with the method you're using.

The other sourness that you might be looking for is acetic acid, which is like vinegar, this is found in both Rodenbach and Duchess. This can be produced by brettanomyces and by acetobacter. I think you should get enough from the brett lambicus.

Nate O.
05/31/12 02:42 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
Awesome Da, thanks for the tips. I'll use the pack of B. lambicus I have on hand.

I'll sour as usual, then I was planning on using either just BM45, or a split batch with BM45 and Ardenne or Rochefort. I don't think the BM45 can eat maltotriose, so I'm guessing if I just fermented with BM45 it'd end up in the mid 1.020's or so, based on my experience with Cote des Blanc in wort. I'm thinking a 1/2 + 1/2 split would get me around 1.012 when I blend them.

05/31/12 03:13 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
You could also just go with the Rochefort strain, it tends to finish fairly high for me usually 1.008-1.010, which should be plenty for the brett in secondary.
Nate O.
06/03/12 03:13 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
After some more thinking, I'm looking at something like this:

(Split 40L batch, 20L or so to be pre-soured)

First half:

OG - 1.050-ish

10 IBU (Magnum?)

95%-100% pale/pils, maybe 5% special B (steeping grain), dark candi syrup to get the color dialed in.

Primary ferment with BM45, then B. lambicus in secondary.

Second half:


10 IBU (Nelson Sauvin)

100% pale/pils

Primary ferment with K1V-1116, then B. lambicus in secondary, with 1oz or so dry hop of Nelson a few days before bottling.

Nate O.
09/13/12 10:56 AM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
Just wanted to update. I bottled the first half (the red) a week ago. I dosed with some premier cuvee and it carbed up really quickly.

It's surprisingly great for how young it is. It's got a huge cherry nose, and a more subtle cherry/"generic" brett flavor. Overall, it's well-balanced and nicely layered. If I didn't know better, I'd have called it a Kriek.

I'll be adding wet Citra hops to the second half, instead of the dry Nelson. Those should be arriving next week sometime.

Mike T
09/13/12 01:41 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
"I'll be adding wet Citra hops to the second half, instead of the dry Nelson. Those should be arriving next week sometime."


My BM45 beer is finally coming around after a year, I think combining a "killer" wine strain with ale yeast was a mistake.

Nate. O
09/14/12 03:47 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
I ended up adding the B. lambicus and BM45 at the same time during primary. I think some may like it to be a bit more sour, so if you know you like especially sour beers, I'd do more of a 60/40 or 75/25 mix of sour/non-sour wort. 50/50 was great for my taste (3.6 pH) but I'd call the sourness closer to "tart" than "sour," though it's dangerously drinkable.
James W
01/28/14 10:57 AM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
Nate, would you mind elaborating on your fast lacto technique?

Nate O.
09/16/15 11:35 PM  
Re: Mixing fast and slow souring techniques?
Hey James,
Sorry this is almost two years late, but in case anyone else is interested. . .

I had a bucket of wort that was exclusively fermented with my cultured grain bugs. Take a growler, fill with water and sugar, throw in a handful of base grain. Keep it warm for a couple days. If you have a brew belt that's ideal.

Once that is fermented out (taste it), use that for a starter in a big bucket of 1.040ish wort. Keep that warm too while the bugs do their thing.

Once you've got the sour wort, you can either blend that with the rest of your wort on the hot side and you'll have a clean, sour beer on the cold side, or, if you don't care about sanitation you can blend to taste on the cold side, at bottling. When the sour bucket gets low, just do a 3rd sparge or whatever you're brewing and use that to top it up.

It's way easier/faster than throwing some bugs in a mostly finished beer and hoping it ends up as sour as you want it. I think most (all?) commercial Lambic breweries blend old and young beer. This is the same approach.

A note of caution, those bugs are gnarly survivors. I kept totally separate gear for my sours and my clean beers, but eventually everything got infected, I assume from just being in the same room. I didn't really care at that point since I wasn't brewing anything that wasn't at least a bit sour.
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