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A starter for Roeselare?

Do I need to make a starter to brew a Flanders Red Ale or just pitch the pack?

I used to just pitch the pack(I am usuming liquid yeast) I made a starter the first time and I will never go back to pitching without one. Most people will say the same thing. No more 72 hours later and still no activity questions.

I think you’re fine pitching the pack of roeselare or any of the other blends. That’s what they’re designed to do. If you’ve got a really old pack, or are doing a really high gravity beer, you could try a short (12-18 hour) starter and pitch w/o decanting. It may help the yeast get a head start, but probably won’t do much for the bugs. Doing a starter may slightly alter that “balance” of yeast and bugs, but if you wait long enough and/or supplement with dregs you’ll probably be OK either way. My opinion, anyway.

Form the Wyeast website:

Propagation of this culture is not recommended and will result in a change of the proportions of the individual components.

No starter. Though you may need to get more yeast for proper pitching amounts. Check


The pack will be almost two months old. It just doesn’t feel right not making a starter for a 1.057 beer, so I guess I will add a little fresh yeast when I pitch. I am also wondering about oxygen, and if I should oxygenate as normal.

I hear ya, which is why I go out of my way to make sure I get a fresh pack, even making my LHBS order me one if necessary. But in my experience with Roeselare, having enough yeast on the first generation is not the issue. It’s getting enough contribution from the other bugs. Adding more/separate yeast isn’t going to help, and could possibly even hurt (leaving less fermentables for the bugs). Rather than spend money on more yeast, I’d maybe suggest getting a second pack of Roeselare, or getting a nice bottle of La Folie or Jolly Pumpkin and pitching the dregs.

You’re deliberately infecting your beer and you’re worried about pitching rate?
What are you afraid of? Pediococcus infection?

Thank you all for the words of advice. I guess I will have to hunt down another pack of Roeselare, because i can’t get any sour beer around here. Fimbrew, not sure what I am afraid of because I’ve never used this stuff before. I guess we will see what happens.

The Jamil Show on Flanders Red talked about fermenting it with normal yeast first and then pitching the Roeselare blend once it had fermented down to a certain gravity level. I forget exactly what that was. 1.040 maybe. I think that he may have also advocated racking to secondary at the same time that you pitch the blend.

I know that this is what Jamil says, but if you search this forum and other sour beer websites you’ll see that many people think his advice is less than optimal. Based on my experience (about 25 sours in the past few years), I tend to agree. When I’ve tried the “pitch yeast first and bugs later” approach, it hasn’t worked out how I wanted, and I’ve had to adjust with dregs, etc. Regardless of when I pitch the Roeselare, my first generation batches have almost always had less funk and sour than I wanted. It isn’t until a re-pitch (another thing Jamil says not to do) that I’ve gotten the character I wanted. Results may vary.

That is good to know. I haven’t ever made a sour, so I am just basing my opinions on what other people have said. Since Jamil has never steered me wrong in the past, I feel that his advice is usually worth a shot. Since I am a big fan of the funk, I will probably take a different approach when I finally brew that Flander’s red I have been planning.

My comments certainly weren’t intended to take anything away from the guy. His accomplishments speak for themselves. I’m just saying that with regard to making sour beers, his statements and my experience don’t always mesh.

From the website:

Aging up to 18 months is required for a full flavor profile and acidity to develop.

So sourness will come with age. Cellar for a year in micro-aerobic conditions and you will get the funk.

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