Using bottle dregs

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by SourFiend760, Feb 26, 2012.

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  1. SourFiend760

    SourFiend760 Initiate (0) Feb 26, 2012

    anyone have some advice on making a starter with bottle dregs? im going to do a sour tasting and try to culture the various dregs to use for homebrew, any advice or ideas is greatly appreciated
  2. cmac1705

    cmac1705 Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2010 Florida

    4 parts 1.040 wort, 1 part apple juice. Step up as needed but realize that the relative ratio of the bugs in the dregs may not be equivalent (or even close) to what the beer was brewed with.
  3. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (290) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    On top of this, some breweries use a neutral lager strain or the like to carbonate, so you may not get what you bargained for. I'm not sure if many (or any) of the sour brewers do this, but I know that Duvel and Unibroue both carbonate with strains that are different from what they use to ferment the beer, so it's something to keep in mind.
  4. DaveJanssen

    DaveJanssen Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2008 Germany
    Beer Trader

    Good advice on this so far. I would have the starter wort ready for the tasting so you can pour the dregs in right away. If you want to really do it well you might want to flame the lip of the bottle before pouring into the wort. If you are going to open the bottles, pour some and leave some for small second pours I would cover the tops with a bit of foil to minimize what else might land in there.

    I would also start with a pretty small volume (1L tops). The bugs are probably going to be old and you will have pretty small levels to begin with so viable cells won't be super high. How many bottles are you planning? Were you going to keep them separate or blend them all together?
  5. CASK1

    CASK1 Disciple (335) Jan 7, 2010 Florida

  6. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Aspirant (268) Jan 13, 2006 New Mexico

    What are you going to do with the dregs(what kind of beer). If you're planning a brett beer make sure you just use dregs from beers like GI Matilda and Orval. If you're going sour like Jolly Pumpkin La Roja you can use dregs from any sour/funky beer. Or make 2 worts, one for each type beer.
  7. olympuszymurgus

    olympuszymurgus Zealot (582) Nov 24, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I've done well harvesting dregs.

    I normally make 1.020 wort, as pedio and lacto do better in lower abv worts. Generally I make the wort and pour it into the bottle on top of the dregs, then cram an airlock in the bottle. 400 mL works well, as you have space to see what kind of pelicle forms and enough space to give it a shake and smell.

    Older bottles are hard to harvest, as a lot of stuff is dead. Young bottles are great, lots of critters. Grow a culture, smell and taste then decide what you want to do with it. There's a lot of guess work, so try to not stay cemented in an idea.
  8. SourFiend760

    SourFiend760 Initiate (0) Feb 26, 2012

    Thanks for all the great responses. My over all goal is to get either one larger starter with all the dregs or multiple small starter into a 50g+ oak barrel to have a sour i can age for a long time. Some of the beers i will be using are, RR Beatification (multiple batchs) RR tions beers off the shelf, various Cantillons, 3F Oude Gueuze, and hopefully some other good sours im trying to trade for now.. i like the idea of actually starting the starter in the individual bottles so i can see how it turns out before i blend them all together
  9. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,083) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    If I were in possesion of all these beers and looking to make sours with them as you are (and had the fermenters for them), I would keep them separate, and brew separate beers from each dreg. Once they are all finished, blend from there. You may have one batch turn out so wonderful that it would shine unblended that you wouldn't get if you blended all the bugs into one large starter. Another possibility using this route is by blending 5-6 single batches in different amounts you could end up w/ 3-7 different sours as opposed to one giant batch. Just a thought.
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