Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dreg Series: Black Jolly Sour

Alright, I'll work on the name. This was my third trial with using bottle dregs to make a unique beer with the wort from my main batch, Black California Common. This time I decided to take almost a full gallon after the wort had started boiling for about 10 minutes because last time it appeared I only had lactic fermentation. Also with this batch I did first wort hopping with all my hops.
After taking a gallon of boiling wort (be careful) I put the gal into the sink with a water bath. Once the wort was cool, I poured myself a few glasses of Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Noire. (Side note: I don't really like to do beer reviews because I don't really know what I'm talking about. But this beer is great, instant top 10 of all time. The best part of this beer is the aroma, just a touch of funk and sour. This was a pretty young bottle, though. And the beer is actually pretty tame and easy drinking.)
Within 24 hours I already had signs of fermentation and then the thing just took off. I have no idea if it will be that funky but maybe over time. I remember listening to a Can You Brew It show on the Brewing Network about Jolly Pumpkin beers and I believe he uses WLP 530 as his base yeast. I'm pretty sure this is what took off and the rest of the bugs will need some time.
I'll keep the post updated on the progress.
Day 2:
Day 4:
Day 6:
Update 9.11.10

Gravity 1.008
Big roast, taste of "burnt peanuts", just a touch of sour and pretty clean. Adding .25 oz Franch Oak cubes

Update 2.5.11
Gravity 1.010 - ???
HUGE sour, it was in your face and I love it, I touch more acetic than I'd like and I think that may be due to the amount of head space. This will probably get blended but I will see where it is in another 3 months.
Update 6.20.11

Tasted a sample at bottling and the acetic bite is completely gone and the acidity is now pretty mild. The beer is also much more fruity with big English esters. What I believe is happening is that as the beer mellows there is an equilibrium reaction happening with esters, acids and ethanol.

Ex. Acetic acid + ethanol -> ethyl acetate

"Ethyl acetate is synthesized industrially mainly via the classic Fischer esterification reaction of ethanol and acetic acid. This mixture converts to the ester in about 65% yield at room temperature:

A formal tasting will follow.


  1. I just discovered your blog after reading the mad fermentationist blog comments re: wild yeast from commercial beers. this looks great, hope it comes out well. i am going to try a similar experiment with some wort from my next batch and will now try the bam noir dregs based on your recommendation. cheers!

  2. so when you bottle, do you rack another batch onto the dregs? Would this be an effective way to keep the brews going?

  3. You definitely can do that, depending on the amount of trub you are racking into the fermenter. I am still in the experimenting stage, so I am more focused on trying new strains rather than re-using dregs.

    So I have only done this with my Avery 15/Drie Brett batches because I like that yeast so much. I will usually only go three batches before cleaning out the yeast cake (because I'll need to harvest some yeast to give away)


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