2021-04-01

28B - Mixed Fermentation

BJCP Style: 28B - Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer

Here's the thing. There's no category specifically for "I harvested some wild yeast and wanted to make a beer with it" in the BJCP. So I'm making this a mixed fermentation with some wild yeast I harvested then hitting it with some bugs from the bottom of a bottle of a commercial American wild. Because I harvested some wild yeast and wanted to make a beer with it. 

I'm using my house saison for the base with a simple grain bill: some leftover CO Proximity base (500g), Maris Otter (the rest), 1kg of honey, and Sorachi Ace as the only hop. 

As for the primary yeast: this is a wild strain I harvested from a jug of Kirkland apple juice a few months ago. I noticed the half full container was building pressure in the fridge so I took it out, added an airlock, and let it do its thing. After a few days it slowed down, and after a couple of weeks the resulting cider had dropped clear. I took a sample (for science) and gravity reading. The gravity put it at around 7% which is what I would usually get from a batch of cider with store bought juice, my house cider yeast (Belle Saison), and nothing else. The taste was surprisingly clean. 

I saved the yeast from the container and a couple of weeks later put together a batch of cider and made a starter with the saved yeast and apple juice. It fermented up and looked to be healthy so into the cider it went. The result was a clean but slightly funky cider that dropped super clear after a few weeks in the keg. 

Knowing yeast behaves differently for cider than beer I wanted to give the "wild basement yeast" a go in a beer. And here we are. It's been almost 4 months since the cider batch so the starter was very slow to get going. It has now been 36hrs on the stir plate and is finally showing signs of activity. Tonight I hope to pitch into the wort I made last night. UPDATE: pitched after 48hrs on the stir plate at 30°C

I'm expecting funk. I'm hoping for funk. I just hope it's the pleasant wild fruity funk and not the baby diapers or vomit kind. This will be a "wait and see" project. I have a bottle of Russian River Beatification in the fridge which I will use for the sour bugs (after drinking the beer for science), and dedicated sour keg where this will sit for several months for its "mixed fermentation" phase.  

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR:

  • 2021-3-31: brewday
  • Fermentables: Maris Otter, CO Proximity base (leftovers), Honey
  • Hop: Sorachi Ace
  • Yeast: ^see above^ We'll call it the wild basement yeast
  • OG: 13.2°P
  • 2021-4-5: kegged with oak spiral and dregs from Beatification 
2021-3-30 (-1): Using some starter wort I had saved in the fridge 

It's been in there a while so I gave it a quick boil

Saved wild yeast from the cider

away we go on the stir plate

2021-3-31: all Sorachi Ace hops - first wort and flameout. This has been a favorite for the house saison. 

1kg honey

Floor Manager Steve

Used up 2 bins of grain and got 500g of CO Proximity and 3.5kg of Maris Otter. Time to restock.

Crush

Mash temp

Mashing in the electric kettle. I have a 2 vessel system but it's unnecessary for lighter beers when I can easily lift the bag. Single vessel is much more efficient and faster than having to mess with all the transfers. 

Boiling the things

Brew session beer. 

Late hops ready to go and set to chill. Since the yeast was still thinking about getting going I didn't need to chill to pitch temp. I probably spent all of 5 min getting the wort down to 40°C then sent it to the fermenter where it will hang out till time to pitch the yeast.

OG looking like 13.2°P. A bit higher than expected; fine crush and 1kg of honey resulted in 80% efficiency. 

And we're ready

2021-4-1 (+1): 36hrs in and the yeast is doing things. Hoping to pitch tonight. 

2021-4-2 (+2): Yeast pitched last night after about 48hrs on the stir plate and this morning it's bubbling away in the fermenter.

2021-4-5 (+5): Transferred to keg-secondary 

2021-4-5 (+5): gravity check - still has a bit to go. looking like 1.013/3.3°P. Tasting funky but should be a good starting point for things to come. 

Russian River Beatification will provide the extra wild yeast and bacteria for a long ferment 


Oak spiral and a some goodies from the bottom of the Beatification bottle added

Away we go (again). Currently just a pressure gauge but I'll switch this out for a spunding valve or airlock when it starts building up with some consistency.  

2021-4-18 (+18): Things are happening in there and it's producing some pressure. Spunding valve set to just under 15psi.