Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spontaneous Fermentation Update

Awhile back I did a time line blog of the yeast starters I was making from the wild yeast and bacteria living on the skins of wild blackberries living in my neighbor's yard and from locally grown organic peaches. The brew day has come and gone, and I thought I would fill in the specifics and update on how the beer has progressed thus far.

The recipe:
6.25# Pilsner Malt (54%)
2.25# Vienna Malt (20%)
2.00# Flaked Wheat (17%)
1.00# Caravienne (9%)

90 minute boil
FW Hops 0.4oz Styrian Bobek 3.8AA pellets
15 min 0.6oz Styrian Bobek 3.8AA pellets

10 min 1.50z Cake Flour
5 min 1tsp Coriander, Crushed

Mashed 60 mins @ 152*F
Sparged w/ Boiling water

5.25 gals
OG 1.057
FG 1.002
IBU 10
ABV 7.2%

I mashed at 152*F, I was shooting for 154, but added too much cold water when I was too hot, and it cooled it down too much. I sparged with boiling water to try to extract as much sugar as possible and even some tannins as well. At the end of the 90 minute boil I added some cake flour for extra dextrins and starches for the Brett to chew on over the long fermentation. I cooled it as usual and ran it into the fermenter. I added the 2 starters to it whole, all the wort, fruit, bacteria, yeast, a couple ants, everything. I didn't aerate it since oxygen feeds bad bacteria, and inhibits Lacto growth. It looked kind of stratified until the next day as the different parts were layered, wort, trub, break material, fruit, starter, etc.

After a few days I noticed some odd activity. There was no krausen, but I had used S-Foam, and foam inhibitor, so it is quite possible that it was fermenting and not putting up a krausen. I did notice lots of little tiny bubbles shooting up and feeding a fluffy foam at the top though, and I assume this was from the Lacto working since it releases CO2. Another day later and I saw the wort churning away like any other beer fermentation, so things were going good.

I let it go for a few weeks with out tasting it, and finally on week 3 I gave it a taste. Nice, light, clean tartness, clean fermentation, no off flavors, mild funkiness, slightly fruity, not much oak character, gravity was 1.005. Quite happy with it. I tasted it again 1 week later and the oak is starting to show some; I will be watching this since I don't want it to be too oaky. If it gets where I want it I am going to rack the beer off, remove the oak, and add the beer back to the trub, yeast, and fruit for longer conditioning and funkdifying. So far I am very pleased. I even used the yeast to ferment a cider.

NOTE: This beer took 1st place in Sour Beers and won BEST OF SHOW in February 2014 at the KLCC BJCP comp.

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