Saturday, December 13, 2014

LactoFest 2014 - The Redeye'd Berliner (1 and 2)

With Captain MoBigs at the helm, we have set out to dive into Lacto via the ever glorious Berliner Weisse.  As stated in the name this brew historically originated in Berlin (so we will look to a Berlin water profile).  A brew which is characterized by low ABV, sour (or at least very tart) and, of course, highly delicious; it was time to take the plunge.  A few things we needed to understand better before driving down this curved path was Lacto and various process variations.

 By the way, to make these beers, the brews were bottled and buried in dirt during spring and summer to keep the temperature up which effectively promoted the acid production/fermentation.  The creativity of the men and women who came before us is astounding, motivational and just plain old awesome!

Moving on, generally we scoured the www (per the usual haunts),, HBT and all the random articles including but not limited to a little gem by a fella who correlated CO2 scrubbing with carbonated water.  Brilliant!

First, some keywords:
Lactobacillus - our new Buggy
Anaerobic - an environment devoid of oxygen
Lactic Acid - the portion of what makes our beers "sour" and is a result of fermentation with Lacto.

Some key points:
  • produces lactic acid and CO2
  • found on skins of raw fruit and WLP vials labels "Lactobacillus"
  • alcohol tolerance at 8%
  • Traditional fermentation time (optimal growth) 4 days@ 60-140F.
  • Will be restrained above 8 IBUs, but max 5 should be the target.
  • will produce without oxygen but prefers reduced levels
  • Acid production is correlated to temperature with max occurring at 98 ("the human intestine temp"), therefore we can extrapolate you'll get diminishing returns up to 140.
  • Acid production is greatest during primary fermentation and subdued during refermentation.
  • Hop acids (>8) and alcohol (>8) reduce acid production
  • ceases production below 3.8ph

OK, we have laid down some great info, now we have to apply it.

Let's do this chronologically, yeast/bacteria. In order to pull this off we will need lots of both.  

The building of Brett C and Troix
A month ago MoBigs and I began growing up WLP Brett C and Brett Troix vials in a two-step starter. My notes can be found here (he ran down a very similar process with a similar result):

11/10/14 - Brett C vial that was kept on shelf to 500ml 1040 starter.  Stir plate, no nutrient. Kept at room temperature room for 8 days.  Saw solid activity and characteristic settling after.

11/18/14 - Stepped up to 1250 (boiled too long, was going for 1500) anyway, stepped up to 1250 ml and back on stir plate.  Smelled great, looked great!  All was done at room temp and repitch was of room temp wort.

12/3/14 - off stir plate, mixed and split to three 400ml boiled jars and a vial.  Stored at room temp per Chad Y.  The jars are showing a beautiful straw hue, and the yeast is thick and clean.  The cake is what you would expect from a harvested and washed Sach cake.  More Apples-to-Apples, the vial was filled with homogenous blend of the Brett in its solution and once settled filled in the entire concave portion of the vial as opposed to the WLP vial which had little to no depth at the vial's base. We made yeast make yeast.

Lactobacillus (see notes below)

Lacto Starer 1 was an amalgamation of quite a bit of reading.  After scouring the www Eric and I found what we thought to be a process that made the most sense for us.  Long story short, we are looking to create a mini-sour mash and use that mash to inoculate a full wort and get the lacto we have grown up souring on a larger scale.  A massive lacto-step-up if you will.  Much of what we found came from Mike at theMadFermentationist and here as well (per usual...thank you good sir!). Plus a nice experience from the author of Bear-Flavored, and here is what we ran with.

12/8/14 - 2L starter with 4oz DME (to target a 1020 wort).   No aeration (except for what naturally occured as we poured the starter to the flask) or nutrient. Airlock in place.  Carbonated boiled water and added a couple ounces on top of the wort/grain to add a buffer of CO2 over the starter protecting it from O2 and inhibiting acetobactor or creation of acetobactor.  Added .5 cup 2-row and 1/8th cup acid malt.  Now this was due to a note by Mike regarding foam stability which I mistook as being part of a starter recipe and was in fact part of a main recipe.  So, will that mess with our starter, well, it reduces the wort's pH effectively decreasing the "room" it has to work and sour the brew befiore it reaches its "terminal pH."  Not ideal, and will delete this add from the subsequent starters.

I "pitched" at 105 degrees and placed the flask in a small igloo cooler with 120 degree water and covered.  Will check twice daily and run off cold water from tap below and refill with hot water.

12/9/14 - temp at 90 in morning.  Added hot water and ran off cool, temp up to 120.  Repeated once more this day. 

12/10 - Idea to put flask to a crock pot on warm in play here.  Crock pot took temp to 140 (too hot, although this may work in other crock pots and would be an excellent process), took out of crock and put flask and water back into Eric's igloo cooler.  Grains on top and white foam present.  Little airlock activity but much activity within flask

12/11 - came to find all grains dropped and activity stopped.  Transferred to sanitized and purged jars and put in fridge

12/12 - Second starter - 1020 wort - 2L - 4oz DME boiled, no nutrient, fist full of 2-row only at 110.  Purged with co2. Placed in bath in igloo with aquarium heater at max setting of 93. Current temp 83. Target 98 (temp of the gut)

For next time, lets make a more anaerobic environment by making a 1500 or 1000ml starter and pitching the boiled, carbonated water FIRST, then pitching the wort on top essentially "scrubbing" the oxygen from the solution and reducing the opportunity for acetobactor to take hold. 

So if you've gotten this far and haven't barfed in your mouth or gone running for the hills you'd know we have a buttload of Brett and two 2L starters of lacto going.  Soooo...let's brew something!

A few quick points on recipe formation:
1. The more anaerobic the wort the better
2. no greater than 8 IBU's, but you do need hops, and not old hops, fresh, properly stored hops.  Why? Well allow me to elucidate!  -You want a few "IBUs", hops in there strictly for the preservation power of the hop.  2. You want fresh hops because if you use old, oxidized hops you run the great risk of a portion of those "oxidized molecules" actually being reworked into isovaleric acid.  This is your stinky feet, cheesy character of which is, well, no good.  You can learn more about this chemical reaction here, and also by listening to the fourth episode of The Sour Hour. This is also why you want to create the most anaerobic environment you can in your wort.
- Mixed cultures are typical in order to get a full attenuation.  Lacto to start, for sure, but it will give up the ghost before Brett in regards to pH.  Taste your brews, use a pH meter, but be prepared with a clean Sach and Brett to finish the job.

And on and on and on...Enough talk, let's make some friggin beer.

10G Batch
OG - 1040 (efficiency was overly excellent)
FG - 1005ish
IBU - 3
SRM - 3
pH - who the hell knows

2-row - 7 lbs (50%)
Wheat malt - 7 lbs (50%)

Hallertau - 1 oz (2.7% alpha) - 15 mins

We are going to do a side by side brew, but I will pitch Brett C and MoBigs is tossing Brett Troix after primary Lacto-Fermentation along with 150ml thick East Coast Ale slurry.

Single infusion mash to 149 and rest for 90 minutes with hops in at 15 mins to get IBUs for preservation purposes.. (If doing a decoction then 45 at 148, decoct grains, bring to a boil and put back in mash accepting whatever you get and resting an addition 30 minutes or as desired.)

Recirc wort and runoff to kettle (5 times...more rice hulls), bringing to a boil for 15 minutes then chilling to 120 (we pitched at 110), pitch full 2L starter of Lacto to each batch.

Keep in warm water bath and pitch Sach/Brett when appropriate level of tart character is reached.  This should not take long, 24 hours to 48 max (or so I'm told).  One brew will be in the bath and the other ambient unless we out them in the tub like a couple lovers with the heater...This may be the way to go in order to get a solid side-by-side on these.

Cellar and age as appropriate, some blending perhaps, bottle at terminal gravity with sugar tabs and continue aging.

I like the idea of peeling off some of the brew to blend to a 100% brett fermentation.  IM gonna stick this in my back pocket.

Brew Day

12/13/14 - Brewing off a redeye.  Hence the name.

Brewed with the Mobigs.

Water Target

Added 2tsp gypsum, 2tsp sodium bicarbonate to RO to target Munich.

Mash - 144 (20 mins) then 148 (70 min)
Boil - 15 minutes
Pitch 1 - We made the two 2L starters as described above and both smelled and looked great (we hope, but they were bready, tart, and not stinky).  Half to one batch and half to the other.  No discrimination here.

12/20/14 -Pitch 2 - Split of 400ml of East Coast Ale WLP 008 from thick slurry.  Harvested and washed 2nd gen from Friendsgiving Pale Ale

One portion went to a bucket and the other to glass.  The glass went straight into a warm water bath at 130 degrees.  The other was left out at ambient low 60s.

12/14/14 - D1 - The fermentation is beautiful and strong in the glass.  A gorgeous white foam krausen and rigorous blow off tube activity.  Rigorous.  Water temp in bath is 80 degrees.  Heater is turned to max, nothing more to be done.  Moved bucket to big brew kettle and filled with 130 degree water.  Heater to be placed by MoBigs in that bath.

12/20ish/14 - second pitch accomplished.  Little to no acidity, slightly citric and bready.

1/9/14 - acidity up very slightly, otherwise little change.

4/1/15 - Redeye with Brett C (glass) and hot fermentation - sour/tart/citrus/lemon skin/slight pith, not sweet.  Very faint barnyard, I sweat I smell the fat of Lebanon Babylonia!  Im so happy.  Its starting to sour, quite clean, body is medium-low, but its holding up for 5 Brix.  Quite beautiful. 5 brix.
- Redeye with brett b and cold ferment - also 5
4/25/15 - racked Eric's BW to 7.5lbs fresh diced, uncooked rhubarb.
5/15/15 - racked a gallon to bottling bucket and bottled bombers with 2 sugar tabs and 12oz with one tab.  No CO2 purge. (Pellicle in bottle will not be a surprise).  
5/28/15 - submitting for local beer comp. Fruit beer category, base beer American Wild Ale. It's amazing. Carb is beautiful, fruity buffet with sight tart and citrus and earthy notes and medium plus funk character. Taste is a little thin. But dry dry dry and refreshing. But as tart as elected from fermenter ratings, but that could come in as priming sugar is depleted...We also had just had a cascade apricot sour, so or taste buds were fried. This beer is awesome!
6/15-22 - bottled remaining.  If some found to be low on carb, corn sugar didn't seem homogenize well.  

No comments:

Post a Comment