Yeast Starter From a Bottle of Sour Beer

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by OldBrewer, May 18, 2017.

  1. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Has anyone made a yeast starter from the dregs of a bottle of sour beer? Is that a different process than making one from the dregs of a bottle of ale? Thanks
     
  2. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (393) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I've done it a couple times. Ususally you'll be starting with less volume and possibly less healthy yeast that a vial or smack pack, so you want to use less, maybe start with 1/2 liter (1 pint) and lower gravity than normal for starters.
    So for instance, I normally make 1qt (1L) starters, not sure the gravity, but I start with a little over a quart of water and add a cup of DME. So, use a bit over a pint, and a quarter to a third a cup of DME for this starter.
     
    OldBrewer likes this.
  3. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,062) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber

    Many times. I would start small and then step up. I wouldn't go much more than 2 steps as the bacteria will grow faster than the yeast which could lead to more acidity than desired. Also, depending on the sour beer and the age, you might not get any Sacc. And, keep in mind that many of the sours are bottle conditioned with Champagne yeast or a neutral Ale strain. Growing this may impact flavor profiles.
     
  4. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Thanks for all the great tips and link!
     
  5. Hogue2112

    Hogue2112 Initiate (154) Apr 7, 2016 Ohio
    Beer Trader

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  6. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (182) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    As has been said here already, make sure to make a starter to see what kind of character that you get from them and to get them active before pitching into your main beer. The eventual character of your beer will depend on your recipe and the types and growth rates of the microbes that you've got in those dregs. Care to share your ideas on the eventual beer that you want to brew?
     
  7. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

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  8. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Can you tell the character just from the starter? I enjoy any sours such as Rodenbach and Cuvee des Jacobins, especially those with acetic/lactic acid. I also enjoy many of the sours made by Jester King.
     
  9. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (182) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    You'll get an idea, but nothing will tell you better than tasting while you are aging. That way you can package your beer when it tastes like you want it to. Don't forget to purge your headspace with CO2 after tasting, though.
     
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  10. Lukass

    Lukass Champion (899) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Crooked stave makes for some great starters. I got their surette going with around 200 ml of standard gravity Wort in the bottle. Pitched it into secondary for a dark saison and it's easily the most sour beer I've ever made. Other than crooked stave I don't think over ever gotten any yeast action from other sours, but I also haven't tried a lot other ones either
     
  11. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Wish we could get sours like that here!
     
  12. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (182) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Anything on that TMF list that was mentioned earlier is just as good.

    What kinds of sours are readily available to you?
     
  13. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Not too many. In most of the stores here, if you ask for sour beers they think you mean grapefruit coolers, Radlers, etc. They are really behind the times here and do not import too many special beers, other than the big names. Ninety-percent of the time, even if there is a great selection, you still see people walking out of the store with cases of with Bud Light, Coors, etc., so store managers are not too keen on ordering specialty beers. Just before Christmas, however, you can often purchase Rodenbach (Vintage), sometimes Petra, and sometimes Lindeman's Cuvee Rene, and very rarely Cuvee des Jacobins and Cuvee Soeur'ise. (I've never seen an imported US sour, or even many of the other great US beers such as Dogfish Head, Zombie Dust, Heady Topper, Dark Lord, etc.) But they run out very fast. That's about it for the rest of the year, unless you go to some of the local micro-breweries, although they rarely have sours, and if they do, they are not aged enough. Overly Conservative Ontario is FAR behind other more progressive Provinces such as Quebec and British Columbia in terms of good beer selection. Because of international tourism, Toronto is a little better than the rest of Ontario, and many of the pubs carry excellent supplies of imported beers, but it's almost an hour away, the traffic is terrible, and parking is almost non-existent. Thus I thoroughly enjoy visiting my son in Austin Texas, where it's a short drive to Jester King and other great breweries. It also has access to many excellent beers from across the country, including sours. So generally, if I want good sours, I have to make them myself. Since we don't have many sours here, it's difficult to find a good bottle for a starter.
     
    #14 OldBrewer, Jun 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
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  14. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Initiate (182) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Your selection looks abysmal. That makes things a LOT more difficult.

    Have you tried lab cultured strains? Great lab in Guelph, ON called Escarpment. Are you familiar with their products?

    http://www.escarpmentlabs.com/about
     
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  15. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Thanks - the only one I've tried is a Vermont strain (like Conan), which a friend obtained. He gave me a tiny 9 ml vial, which I just built up on a starter as of this morning (will use it in a Heady Topper Taste-Alike recipe - not exactly a clone since it uses some different ingredients). I haven't checked out their sour strains yet. My mother lives in Guelph, so next time I'm there I'll check it out.
     
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  16. Hogue2112

    Hogue2112 Initiate (154) Apr 7, 2016 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Man...

    What's customs like with normal USPS packages from US? I'll send you up some!
     
  17. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    That is most kind of you! I looked into having them sent by USPS, and it doesn't seem too reliable. Some people get away with it, while others get inspected at the Customs Office.

    See this discussion:

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/problem-with-shipping-beer-from-us-to-canada.6530/

    So, unfortunately, it might not be worth the risk. I'll have to enjoy them when I travel to the US.
     
  18. Lukass

    Lukass Champion (899) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Jester king I've heard has great sour dregs. Definitely get a few bottles for drinking/harvesting if you ever go to Austin in the near future
     
  19. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    I have the dregs of a Jester King bottle in the fridge (Fantome Del Rey) that my son brought from Austin. Hopefully it is still good. So do I just add some low gravity wort made with DME?
     
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  20. Lukass

    Lukass Champion (899) Dec 16, 2012 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Yea, I typically do around 200 ml of a standard (1.036) gravity Wort. Make sure not to rouse too much yeast in the bottom of the bottle, and add the Wort to it after pouring the beer into a glass. Cover with sanitized aluminum foil and put it somewhere fairly warm. Give it a week and you should start to see some activity. Keep decanting/building the culture up from there
     
    OldBrewer likes this.
  21. OldBrewer

    OldBrewer Aspirant (266) Jan 13, 2016 Ontario (Canada)

    Thanks, Lukass! I'll give it a try.
     
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