Yogurt and Sours

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jbakajust1, Mar 16, 2012.

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  1. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,095) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Would adding a touch of live yogurt to a beer that you are wilding/souring add to the depth and sourness? I remember reading in Wild Brews that there are different strains of Lacto that can sour beers and that L. delbrueckii is the hop sensitive strain while others are not as sensitive to hops. That, and I'm a cheap ass that won't pay $12 for a single strain of lacto that doesn't like hops. Wondering if adding a touch of a live yogurt to the beer would add some depth to the Lacto character (something like 5 strains in the one I have). What could go wrong? If you must blast me as an idiot for asking, at least tell me why I am an idiot for asking. Thanks for the help.
    Srkolodn likes this.
  2. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    Try it and see what happens. That's the wonder of homebrewing, you CAN do whatever you WANT.
    azorie likes this.
  3. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    I used to make yogurt. It wasn't the most "robust" bacteria to say the least... at least not the culture I had going. Changes in temp and low "pitching rates" (too small an amount of yogurt used to inoculate the next batch) quite often led to a pretty meager batch. So, I guess I think it is doubtful that you will have very satisfying results. I would expect the yogurt to just die unless you put a gross amount in your beer, and even then I had a hard time getting the yogurt to do anything at temps below 90F (we had a nice little warmer that kept the milk warm enough for propagation).

    But, give it a whirl! Maybe it'll work better than I think it will :slight_smile:
  4. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,095) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    After advice from another brewer, I made sure I bought non-fat yogurt.
    I am planning on taking some apple juice and DME and boiling to make a starter, then adding the yogurt to it and maintaining the temp over 90 for a week or so. After that I will add it to a gallon of the beer I am souring and see how it goes from there.
    cfrobrew likes this.
  5. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    Cool! Sounds fun, good luck.
  6. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,620) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    I actually did make add a bit of the watery surface residue from some homemade yogurt to some starter wort once. I let it sit for a few days at a warmish temperature (I maintained temp with my yogurt maker, which I think keeps samples at 100-120 F -- I never have measured it). I didn't like the way the fermented product tasted - a bit of off-funk flavor, surprisingly not too sour. Or maybe it's not surprising, given that I only waited a couple days days, and it's a strain that has been selected for fermenting and souring milk (takes about 8 hours to make yogurt). I didn't bother to pitch it into a beer as I didn't like the taste, but more experiments could be in order. However, I think the next time I play with some more wild sour bugs, I will use the lacto and other bugs on the grain surface in a sour wort approach.
  7. quirkzoo

    quirkzoo Initiate (0) Jul 7, 2011 Colorado

    Hey, at the very least you could call it a cultured milk stout :wink:
  8. patto1ro

    patto1ro Defender (627) Apr 26, 2004 Netherlands

    NardiByNature likes this.
  9. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,095) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Thanks for the read. If this works out, I'll be using this to do my sour mash/sour wort for my Session Sour and my Berliner Weisse soon.
  10. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,095) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Sorry, that reply was for @ patto1ro
  11. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,095) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    It worked! Successfully cultured Lacto from non-fat Greek Yogurt. Built a 1L starter - 750ml water, 250ml apple juice, 100g DME - chilled to 115*F, hooked up the heating blanket to the temp controller set @ 100*F, and let her go for 5 days. On day 3 I poured off a sample and it fizzed like Alkaselzter, smelled like clean yogurt, tasted like sour apples and light yogurt twang, acidic, but not puckering. Plan on giving it another taste tonight, then stepping it up to 4L with an addition of 1.25# Clover Honey in 3L water. After a week or so for that I will pitch it all into the conical with my infected American Blonde, and let her rip for a few months.

    I am definitely going to use this for making my sours in the future. Goodbye sour mash, hello sour worting with a built up yogurt culture, short boil with low alpha hops, chill, and pitch German Ale for a Berliner Wiesse, or pitch a blend of sacc and Brett for a wild ale.
  12. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,620) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    Digging this up from 2012: I'm curious about further adventures with your yogurt brewing. Did you stick with it, find a strain you liked, or learn anything worth passing on?
    wspscott likes this.
  13. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,095) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Still experimenting. I am going to build up some more for my barrel in the coming weeks, also have some off of grape leaves that I want to play with as well. I did a DME Berliner last year with nothing but yogurt. It was a DMS bomb. I left it to age and finally needed the fermentor so I went to dump it. Still tons of DMS but extremely Lactic. A few things I have gleaned over my adventures:
    • Use fat-free. The head on a sour beer already suffers enough, don't need lipids in there too
    • Use the liquid on top of a freshly opened container. I have done them all so far by scooping into the starter or beer, and there is no easy way to separate the yogurt itself from the cells you build up in the starter.
    • Make a starter. Build up your cell count to a large pitching rate to start if off quick, the DMS was bad.
    • Keep it warm, but not hot. I had one that I kept at 105*F+ that turned to straight rocket fuel.
    • Give it time. It may not be sour quick, but it will be sour.
    EyePeeAyBryan, fistfight and pweis909 like this.
  14. onansalad

    onansalad Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2007 Tennessee

    @jbakajust1: check out the labneh method - put your greek yogurt in a cheese cloth & strainer suspended over a container in the fridge and harvest the liquid after 5 days or so. Many use this to kickstart their fermented pickles. Also, since lactobacillus has been known to kill itself off with its own acid, the malic acid in the apple juice might be cutting your culture short. Have you tried simple syrup?

    I'm curious if you'd get better sourness by waiting to pitch the yeast two weeks or more after pitching the lacto.
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