Mixed Fermentation and Sour Beer Advice
Belgian Sour Blend - Mixed Fermentation
Mixed-fermentation sour beers are some of the most exciting ferments in our opinions, and we want to make it easy for you to get started.
Currently, we offer the Belgian Sour Blend as an excellent platform for your mixed fermentation beers. This blend is equally at home in Flanders Reds, Oud Bruins, and works well in Lambic-like beer when paired with turbid mashing and aged hops. Toronto's Indie Alehouse used Belgian Sour Blend to produce a World Beer Awards gold medal-winning Lambic style beer. Several other breweries have produced award-winning beers using this blend.
Saccharomyces must be pitched before or alongside the Belgian Sour Blend as it does not contain primary yeast and therefore isn't optimal for primary fermentation. For primary fermentation, we recommend a Saccharomyces strain that leaves some residual sugar for the Brett and bacteria to work with, such as English yeasts, non-diastatic Belgian strains, or Kveik.
How long does a mixed/secondary fermentation with Brett and/or Bacteria take?
The time it takes for your beer to be done depends on several factors, including fermentation temperature, available nutrients in your beer, the cultures themselves, and the IBU/hop content of the beer.
For Belgian Sour Blend, we typically recommend an aging timeline of 6-12 months, assuming the aging is happening at 15-20ºC.
For souring, it is difficult to make predictions since it depends a lot on temperature and hop content of the beer.but with a hop-tolerant Lactobacillus culture, depending on your hop content and the hop resistance of the bacteria, it can take between 1 and 12 months to achieve sourness. Warmer temperatures and lower hopping rate will result in faster acid production.
Hopping and Mixed Fermentation/Sour Blends (including Lacto Secondary Souring Blend)
Please note that any hop additions in your beer are inhibitory to souring bacteria, including late hops and dry hops as these will also contribute other hop compounds that will inhibit the Lacto souring.
We recommend starting with a low-IBU and low-hop wort for the first generation. For our mixed ferment cultures, target less than 10 IBU.
For a Berliner Weisse, target less than 5 IBU in the boil and no late hops for the first generation. When repitched, you can progressively step up by 5-10 IBU to achieve the hop tolerance you desire.
Our regular Lactobacillus kettle souring products (such as Lactobacillus Blend 2.0) contain very hop-sensitive bacteria. This means small amounts of hops will inhibit them. By contrast, Lactobacillus Secondary Souring Blend as well as the Lacto/Pedio in Belgian Sour Blend are hop-resistant. However, we recommend starting with low IBUs/hop content when using a fresh lab pitch to acclimatize the bacteria to hops.
Custom Mixed Cultures
You can mix and match our various cultures to craft your own custom mixed culture! We recommend picking at least one Brett strain, as well as Lacto Secondary Souring Blend for a base level of sourness.
Banking Mixed Cultures
We bank and propagate full mixed cultures for breweries specializing in mixed-fermentation beers. We have developed reliable and scaleable methods to accomplish this. To learn more, contact us.