Kettle Souring... Failing!

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phil.dadd
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Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by phil.dadd » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:49 am

Ok, so I'm usually pretty good at trying things out with brewing and getting a good result. Kettle souring, however, has eluded me. I've successfully performed a sour mash before - though with limited souring in actual fact. I'd love any advice people can give, this is what I've tried so far, and how they've all failed... (this is using a 20L Braumeister)

1. I tried a vial of Lacto Debrukii in a wort mix of basically 50/50 wheat and low colour maris, with some acid malt to get the right mash PH. This was mashed at 65, sparged, and the temperature set to 40 degrees. The wort took a while to cool, but when it got to 40, I pitched the lacto, and put cling film all over it - touching the wort so no head space. I took an initial pH reading (with strips, so +- 0.5 of a pH basically), and it started at around 4.5. After a few days, it was still at 4.5. After a week, it was maaaybe at 4.2 ish - then it went mouldy, so had to chuck.

I was unhappy with the strips, and unhappy with the way the cling film was, so for my second attempt, I bought some new kit and did the following...

2. I tried a vial of Lacto Brevis, and an old pack of Gigayeast fast souring lacto (5 months old). Same malt bill as before, but I boiled for 15 minutes to sanititise everything around as much as I could. I used my immersion chiller to quickly chill to around 40 degrees, pitched both lacto's, and set the Braumeister 45 degrees (according to American Sour Beers - lacto works best between 40 and 49 - so 45 I figured is good - this incidentally is nowhere near what it says on the packets, but then I think half of that is generic yeast labelling). Starting pH was 4.5 (according to my new electronic, calibrated pH meter). I wrapped the top in lots of cling film - tight across the top leaving head space - and purged said head space with a tonne of CO2, then sealed. After a day, the pH was 4.4 - not great. Speaking to a brewer friend of mine, he mentioned a brewery in the area using 0% fat live yogurt to good effect after also failing with pure strains - so that's what I did. I put half a tub (about 200g) of live 0% yoghurt in at day two, repurged, etc. Day 5 - the pH had dropped to 4.02 - 4.05. Still really poor considering the amount of bacteria I put in it. Then it went mouldy, again. I think I have 4 days before mould might begin taking hold, and around 7 before it's enough to see.

Any ideas on what I can do to get my wort to sour to like 3.2-3.5? I mean, a massive lacto starter is my next step - but I did put a load in the last time :-\ Temperatures OK?

Any and all thoughts appreciated! :-)

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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by jaroporter » Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:54 am

what temperature did the packet say? i'd go closer to that than a general comment in a book. different lacto can work better at different temps. i've used lacto from grain at 40c and it worked well, but some have used lacto plantarum fine at room temperature.
i know some drop the pH first with lactic acid to help with some foam retention and possibly favour lacto over other bacteria but i'm not sure, maybe something to look up?
also, i knoe i've read that commercial lacto vials often don't give a very strong sourness, so this maybe isn't odd results
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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by phil.dadd » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:11 am

The packets generally said between 20-26, varied slightly between the two. One was very much a generic yeast label, it even said "Yeast likes temperature between x and y, so pitch at z"...

I'll try just using the temperature on the label next time, and go from there :-\ If commercial vials aren't very good, anyone have any other ideas on what to use? I could bag up some grain and chuck that in (it's what I did for the sour mash)...

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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by jaroporter » Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:49 pm

the lacto plantarum (pills, look online.. ) does a good job. only just started using it myself but drank some excellent sours using it made by other members
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phil.dadd
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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by phil.dadd » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:48 pm

Never thought of probiotic pills, great idea! Thanks :-)

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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by alix101 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:29 am

I've just kegged my first kettle soured beer and it worked a treat...
You need to drop the pH before pitching the lacto.
After the initial short boil it was then transferred to a sanitary fermenter as opposed to leaving it in the copper.
I dropped the ph to 4 with citric acid, which some wouldn't use as it will impart a flavour but you need to create an environment where the lacto thrives but wild yeast can't no matter what acid you choose.

Then after the ph has dropped to 3.4 after a couple of days then the beer was then boiled etc and transferred to a new fermenter and the yeast was pitched.
That's as brief as I can put it...
Oh I did make a big starter for the lacto.
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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by orlando » Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:38 pm

What's the alkalinity of your starting water? Might be worth knocking it all out so it doesn't act as a buffer to the pH falling. Try using a mineral acid, sulphuric or hydrochloric.
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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by phil.dadd » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:25 pm

Thanks guys, more stuff to think about :-) My alkalinity is 71 (CaCO3), never had much issue attempting to modify pH for mash or anything before...

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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by orlando » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:36 pm

phil.dadd wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:25 pm
Thanks guys, more stuff to think about :-) My alkalinity is 71 (CaCO3), never had much issue attempting to modify pH for mash or anything before...
Not surprising. Stouts might not be as good though. :D
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting:
Conditioning:
Drinking: Song For Keith, 4 Hops To Heaven, No Stout About It (Porter), From Russia With Love (RIS), Twist & Stout, Reasons To Be Beerful (Part Three)

Up Next: With A Bitter Luck, Yellow Light
Planning: Winter drinking Beer

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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by phil.dadd » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:05 am

So, just had my first success! I used a whole bottle of Lacto Plantarium probiotic pills, which is supposed to be around 300 billion cells - only cost me £6 too. Held at 25 degrees, and it tore through reducing to 3.5pH in just 48 hours (from 5.5! - I cocked up the initial pH a bit). I'd definitely recommend it. Smelled amazing too.

Thanks for all your help :-)

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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by DethApostle » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:32 pm

I have a 100% record (so far) for sour beers... granted that's 1 for 1 but still... 100%

I'd mirror what others have said already, 40C seems way too high for the souring process, I kettle soured my gose with Omega's Lacto strain at 28C for 3 days.
PH was 4.6 ish to start and 3.something to finish.
The blog post for it is here https://demonvalleybrewing.co.uk/2017/1 ... ffee-goze/ if you are interested!

Glad your recent version worked out ok too!
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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by super_simian » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:31 pm

I've been using l.plantarum pills, about 1 pill per 2 litres (gels caps popped open and contents dumped in) at 38C for 12-18 hours, getting to 3.5-3.8 in that time. I found excluding O2 not useful in that timeframe, no noticeable butyric or acetic. Just had a lid on the pot.

asd

Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by asd » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:38 pm

I think a lot of people suspend a bag of raw malt into the kettle - the naturally occurring Lacto on the surface of the malt does the trick, apparently.

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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by orlando » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:36 pm

asd wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:38 pm
I think a lot of people suspend a bag of raw malt into the kettle - the naturally occurring Lacto on the surface of the malt does the trick, apparently.


Certianly did when I left a mash overnight. :cry: Proper "Belgian" it was.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting:
Conditioning:
Drinking: Song For Keith, 4 Hops To Heaven, No Stout About It (Porter), From Russia With Love (RIS), Twist & Stout, Reasons To Be Beerful (Part Three)

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Planning: Winter drinking Beer

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Re: Kettle Souring... Failing!

Post by super_simian » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:32 pm

asd wrote:
Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:38 pm
I think a lot of people suspend a bag of raw malt into the kettle - the naturally occurring Lacto on the surface of the malt does the trick, apparently.
From experience that's a great way to get buckets of butyric acid (vomit/parmesan/feet), not to mention other foul odours. And if you're truly kettle souring, i.e. boiling after the souring step, it's a great way to either make your whole house smell like the aforementioned offenders, or, if you brew outside, a great way to seriously mess with your neighbours.

When probiotic pills are cheap and effective, why faff around?

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