Stepping up some “fast” sour dregs

Mmm, sour beer....

Jester King Biere de Miel dregs added to a 1L DME starter

Jester King just released new beer. ¬†They’ve been releasing one beer after another after another and another one. ¬†Which is completely awesome since it’s a local brewery. My favorite of the new releases is Biere de Miel which is the perfect balance of funk, tart and complex flavors. The nose is all honey sweetness and tart funk. The flavors are a tidal wave of sweet and sour; it ebs and flows as both fight for dominance. The sour wins in the end and the long, dry finish is amazing. OK, so I love this beer. Ad over.

One of the most interesting aspects about this beer to me was the timeline. On their blog post, Jester King mentioned the fermentation dates: brewed in December, 2013. It was packaged in April, and released in May. Given the level of aggressive sour flavor, I’m astounded at how quickly this beer came together. Most of my “quick” sours haven’t really panned out, as to be expected. But a four mouth souring timeline is very doable.

I emailed the head brewer, Garrett Crowell, who is just as gracious and generous with information as the co-founder Jeffery Stuffings, and asked about the IBU levels. Garrett indicated that the first batch had about 8 IBUs which resulted in the beer reaching terminal pH before fermentation was finished. Needless to say, I’m very interested in getting these dregs up and running.

After about three days on the stirplate, some initial activity showed up. I think that’s remarkably rapid growth from just what was at the bottom of the bottle.

Buzzby is a sour bee

Initial krausen forming after three days on the stirplate.

And it keeps on going. I plan on stepping this up with another 1L addition to have a large enough pitch for a friend’s 7 gallon batch of a sour English Mild. If all goes well, then this may be the new yeast I use for making a base sour saison to be used in blending.

Sour BOMB!

Full Krausen! Be fruitful and multiply!

6 thoughts on “Stepping up some “fast” sour dregs

  1. I also spoke to Garrett and they don’t use wine or champagne yeast for bottling, but they do dode it with Brett drie. How would you use it on your saison? Would you primary ferment with it or blend it withas brewers yeast?

  2. I also propped up dregs from a bottle of Provenance. Got an email from Garrett confirming that it didnt contain any wine or champagne yeast. He did say that it was dosed w/ Brett Drie for bottle conditioning but shouldnt change the ratio of their blend.

    How would you recommend using the dregs that ive built up? Primary or secondary? blended or just straight in there?

    • Yes, I should do that properly.
      I’ve fermented two saisons, roughly like Jester King’s Nobel King recipe-wise and then experimented with hot (85-90F) fermentation and cool (60F).
      Using the dregs that I stepped up ended up introducing some of my not-so-favorite off-flavors that show up in lacto/brett beers. ATHP, which when
      exposed to Oxygen and Sugar produce the wine tasters “mousy” aftertaste. I’ve tasted it enough to know it immediately. Both of the Hot and Cold side
      contains this off flavor, possibly amplified by stepping up the dregs, more likely related to the amount of O2 the beer was exposed to in a homebrew environment.
      Additionally there is somewhat of a harshness in aftertaste. Overall, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. That said, several of my friends have enjoyed these
      beers from the dregs tremendously; sometimes friends are a bit too gracious with feedback.

      After that episode, I continued to keep the culture around and pitch into a new starter about 3 weeks before I need to use it. Last summer I produced a
      dark saison, Phunky Galaxy, using these dregs, and in roughly 4 weeks at 60F, I had a seriously nice tasting beer, pH in the 3.4-3.6 level of sour. I
      kegged it immediately and I’ve been enjoying that since. So, with care, the dregs will work out very nicely.

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