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  • Kettle Sour gone wrong

    After doing small test batches I did my first batch of a kettle sour on our bigger system. Took what I now think was not great advice and used lacto delbrueckii, not realizing how slow moving it is. Has been in the kettle 4 days and only down to 4.1 PH. It was boiled briefly, kettle had been sanitized, and has been sealed, however, it has a bad smell. I'm worried it may have butyric acid. Or now reading about the horrors of botulism on something that has been in the kettle for that long. Though that sounds less likely because of the PH. I'd obviously love to not toss it unless I'm sure, but it doesn't seem salvagable. I'd love any insight. Thank you.
    Last edited by BrewBoots; 05-29-2019, 11:03 PM.

  • #2
    Hello there!
    Did you acidify the wort before pitching the lacto? Did you purge the kettle with CO2? What was the innoculation temperature and fermentation? Never used the delbrueckii, only plantary and brevis, maybe pitch something else or maybe dump it now before its too late.
    Good luck with it man!
    Jose Argudo
    Head Brewer
    3Monos Craft Beer
    Malaga, Spain
    www.3monoscaftbeer.com

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    • #3
      Just toss it

      Originally posted by BrewBoots View Post
      After doing small test batches I did my first batch of a kettle sour on our bigger system. Took what I now think was not great advice and used lacto delbrueckii, not realizing how slow moving it is. Has been in the kettle 4 days and only down to 4.1 PH. It was boiled briefly, kettle had been sanitized, and has been sealed, however, it has a bad smell. I'm worried it may have butyric acid. Or now reading about the horrors of botulism on something that has been in the kettle for that long. Though that sounds less likely because of the PH. I'd obviously love to not toss it unless I'm sure, but it doesn't seem salvagable. I'd love any insight. Thank you.
      I would just toss it. It's not worth it. Just start over with any number of other better blends available from other yeast companies. Omegas is good and aggressive. The Lallemand sour pitch is good as well if you want a dry option. Sucks to dump, but bad kettle sours suck worse!

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      • #4
        I agree that it should probably be dumped. But I am curious as to what went wrong and would like to hear the answers to Jose's questions.
        I use delbrueckii for all my kettle sours with great success. Usually hit target ph (3.3-3.5) in 24 to 36 hours without pre acidification. And I love the strong citrus/ grapefruit notes this strain gives.
        Maybe you under pitched? Pitched at too high of temps? Didn't kill off wild bugs with your pre boil?
        I would like to hear more about your process.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the help guys. Here are the answers to your questions and what I am guessing are the problem areas are likely the first two things. I did not pre-acidify the wort - definitely will next time, but the test batches I got good results without. Was switching to a different Lacto and I think this time it may have been under pitched. I did purge the tank with CO2 and pitched at 114 and kept it around 108. Boiled wort for about 10 mins to kill bugs.

          Re-pitched more lacto delbrueckii last night in a last ditch effort and PH is still dropping slowly. Down to 3.7 now.(Also testing TA and it is slowing rising). So I think the Lactobacillus is slowly doing its job. I'm just worried about what else could be in there after this amount of time.
          Last edited by BrewBoots; 05-30-2019, 01:29 PM.

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          • #6
            I just thought of one more thing. What temp were you storing your lacto at prior to pitching? Lacto should always be stored at room temperature and brought up closer to kettle temps just prior to pitching. Maybe you shocked it if you stored it cold.
            Anyway, hope it works out for you! Keep us posted on your progress!

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            • #7
              I have not heard of storing Lacto at room temp. We have always stored ours in the cooler between batches and let it warm up for 24 hours prior to pitch with no issues once so ever. We use L. Plantarum.
              As for the batch issue, acidify it now and get it out. That is a very long time at 100+. No telling what your going to get. Boil it cool it and taste it. Our brewery has a pickle like aroma when boiling sour wort. Good luck.
              Joel Halbleib
              Partner / Zymurgist
              Hive and Barrel Meadery
              6302 Old La Grange Rd
              Crestwood, KY
              www.hiveandbarrel.com

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              • #8
                The first time we did a kettle sour on our big system I had the same problem, although I did use grain (which I have done since with a STARTER, and greater success).
                It took until my second batch to realize that I hadn't really cooled the kettle down to 110. I hadn't whirlpooled vigorously enough to chill the entire kettle, and only the bottom of the kettle was going through the heat-exchanger. Our kettle probe and the heat-exchanger thermometer are both low and the top was hot, so I killed all my bugs right away.
                I left it in the kettle for a long time as well. It was salvageable, not reapeatable, and helped along with food-grade lactic acid. Not my favourite, but some folks loved it.
                This likely won't help you now, but may help someone!

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