Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Foresights for faster funky fermenations

I have read Wild Brews and consumed a ton of info on sour beers. The consensus is that these beers take time to develop their characteristics. Say I wanted to brew a small beer for the purposes of funking up could I have some decent results in a month or 2, or am I really looking at 6 mos to a year? What about a saison primary with brett secondary? Any advise? Thanks.

First of all, yes it does take a year to get things nice and funky/sour. But you do get a little funk and a hint of tartness after a couple months. Much longer than that and the beer gets “sick” and might taste heavy diaectyl for awhile, which will clean up after that year passes.

So get a batch on right away for long term, then pitch on the cake for a batch for fast turnaround. You can even add a little lactic acid for a little extra sourness, although that is kind of one-dimensional compared to the real McCoy.

I did taste a very nice Flanders red recently that won its category, and it was 9 months old. So I may be exaggerating a bit by predicting a year is needed. Once you forget about a carboy though, its easy enough to let it go.

Dealing with a single wild organism, like Brett, will give you faster results than a full on lambic fermentation.

I have never done a brett-only fermentation but supposedly they are not much longer than a slow Saccaromyces fermentation.

Another option is to ferment your beer regularly and then use brett or a bug blend in secondary to funk up your already fermented beer. IME this can be done in 2-3 months given the right conditions.

[quote=“Wahoo”]Dealing with a single wild organism, like Brett, will give you faster results than a full on lambic fermentation.

I have never done a brett-only fermentation but supposedly they are not much longer than a slow Saccaromyces fermentation.
.[/quote]

for the majority of fermentation maybe but it is still going to take a long time for the brett to do its thing

Berliner Weisse maybe a few months.

I had a flanders red I kegged in 6 or 7 months with east coast yeast that was nice and sour and good brett character.
For the most part your gong to have to wait a good 6 or 7 months possibly a year or more.

Thanks for the input. I envy you patient brewers! I am getting there. I can wait for the occasional lager but typically I am trying to catch up to an empty tap most of the time.

Am I correct that a 100% bug brew (like brett c) will give a decent amount of funk but just not be super-attenuative like if used in secondary?

Thinking of dusting off the keggle and doing 10G of a 20% wheat brew avg IBU. Split into 5G split between 3726 no bugs and either 100% brett c, a sacc primary and Jolly Pumpkin dregs or brett c secondary.

[quote=“zwiller”]Am I correct that a 100% bug brew (like brett c) will give a decent amount of funk but just not be super-attenuative like if used in secondary?[/quote]I have not tried it myself, but I have read that a primary with brett will produce a clean fermentation comparable to regular yeast and it’s only with time that the funk is developed (the bugs need time to break down the less-digestible complex carbs and produce the byproducts that we’re looking for in a sour beer).

The quickest way I have dropped a funk bomb is to add a blend of bottle dregs after fermentation when you bottle. Give the beer 2-3 months to condition and you have a nicely complex ale. The problem with this is that it is not predicable/repeatable. I have had good luck but the risk of bottle bombs or making something nasty is pretty high.
The effort however is low and you can do it with a subset of a batch (I have literally done it with 1 bottle out of a batch before!)

I haven’t tried it (yet) but from what I have read in several places is that Orval dregs work quickly to produce funk. People say you can taste a noticable impact in a month or so.

Do some googling on it.

So does the long fermentation in a glass carboy differ drastically from fermenting it a barrel? It seems all commercial breweries use barrels. I’m just wondering what is lost using only glass.

Blepaire, would try the Orval dregs but can’t get my hands on some and I drive an hour away for beer… Yeah, read it works fast too.

“Dropped a funk bomb” Killer! Sounds like an old Parliment Funkadelic tune…

Drop. dro, dro, drop. The funk bomb, funk bomb.

Sorry it was long day…

[quote=“breslinp”]So does the long fermentation in a glass carboy differ drastically from fermenting it a barrel? It seems all commercial breweries use barrels. I’m just wondering what is lost using only glass.[/quote]Barrels are porous, allowing the bugs to easily set up shop and carry over to the next batch of wort/beer and also allowing O2 to get in the barrel which encourages certain organisms to thrive (like acetobacter). A glass carboy with a standard bung and airlock lets in some O2, which is why you’ll see a pellicle form in a carboy but not in a keg which is airtight. You can use an oak stave inserted through the neck if you want to let more O2 into the carboy or add oak chips to the beer, both of which can then be used in the next beer.

There are american sours/wilds that are fermented only in stainless though. Ithaca Brute is one that comes to mind. When it comes to wild beers for every rule, there are exceptions. There are a LOT of different ways to introduce acidity and funkiness into a beer and I think you have to experiment.

[quote=“Wahoo”]There are a LOT of different ways to introduce acidity and funkiness into a beer and I think you have to experiment.[/quote]+1 I make most of mine in kegs and have no problem getting sour by pitching dregs of quality sour beers - while wood seems to be the preferred method of many brewers, I like the simplicity of the kegs, particularly how easy it is to harvest dregs from the kegs without having to remove the beer (just pop on a hose and pull a pint from the bottom).

Shadetree do you primary with a regular ale yeast and then pitch the dregs into the keg?

I made a small starter with dregs of about 8 different beers and made a lambic with only that… It’s only 8 months old but is tasting GREAT… much better than the Wyeast lambic blend I pitched into a batch at the same time.

In my experience, you can drink brett-only beers in about 2-3 months. Sometimes they go through a dip in quality after 4-5 months, but if you wait it out they taste good again. Brett c is fairly clean and fruity, but you can still tell it is brett (or at least tell it isn’t sac). Other brett strains are funkier but IME brett c seems to work the best for brett-only ferments.

Orval dregs are fairly quick, but I’ve had the quickest results with Jolly Pumpkin dregs.

Berliner wiess can be ready in couple months.

And like other people have said, oxygen exposure will speed up the process.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com