Monday, April 11, 2011

Capturing the Wild

I've recently really started taking a liking to the sour beers and am fascinated by wild fermentation. I brewed a ridiculous sour on Feb 27th and have watched week by week as the pellicle grows and looks more disgustingly beautiful, this is going to be a great beer. I've danced around the idea of doing another sour and in traditional style doing an actual wild fermentation, allowing my wort to sit in open air outdoors and allow fermentation to proceed naturally and wildly. With this method there are so many variables and uncertainties that could lead to a wasted batch I've decided to do the next best thing.

I made a small wort of around 1.022 SG, and divided it up among three sterilized quart sized mason jars simply covered with one layer of cheese cloth, and sat them outside. I kept the gravity way low because I didn't want to encourage other bugs to take up residence in my gatherers, so nothing above 1.030 would have been ideal. After a couple weeks of sitting out open to the outside air I can assume that some wild strain of Southeast Michigan beastly yeasties will have settled in the jars and began active fermentation on the sweet wort. I can also assume that I will probably capture some unwanted bacterial strains that may or may not be desirable. For this situation, to play it "safe" or "safer", I will decant the wort down to the layer of yeast that will eventually settle to the bottom, combine the three jars reduced contents to one, pitch new wort, and let a new stronger colony of my wild yeast take over. This should give me a fantastic starter for a nice crisp summer sour that is destined to be brewed in the coming weeks. I guess this would be my first post on that beer, check back in the future for updates.

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