Maintaining Mixed Cultures

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Joined
Sep 28, 2016
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Location
Birmingham, England
Interested to hear how folks here maintain their mixed cultures, do you use the sourdough method of periodically feeding the culture by decanting some and adding fresh wort? Do you use oak chips and transfer between batches? Or are you building up bottle dregs from previous batches? I've also heard of people just pouring a 750ml bottle into a 5 gallon batch and letting it go. Does this work?
 
Joined
May 21, 2015
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6,495
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Denver
Many ways to do this. Personally I have a lazy approach of keeping slurry in Mason jars in my fridge. I decant and feed every few months if I haven't brewed with them in a while. I build it up in a starter before pitching. The cultures I use are acclimated to this process.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2016
Messages
27
Location
Birmingham, England
Many ways to do this. Personally I have a lazy approach of keeping slurry in Mason jars in my fridge. I decant and feed every few months if I haven't brewed with them in a while. I build it up in a starter before pitching. The cultures I use are acclimated to this process.
When you say the cultures are acclimated do you mean they now perform consistently? I've been using a similar approach to yours and my culture is still evolving batch to batch, I'm hoping the dominant cultures will eventually come to the fore and begin to give me more consistent results.
 
Joined
May 21, 2015
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6,495
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Denver
When you say the cultures are acclimated do you mean they now perform consistently? I've been using a similar approach to yours and my culture is still evolving batch to batch, I'm hoping the dominant cultures will eventually come to the fore and begin to give me more consistent results.
Not only are they consistent in brewing but they are acclimated to my propagation and storage procedure. There's good science that brett and some LAB have lower vitality under cold conditions versus warm storage. My experience has been that my cultures remain consistent with cold storage in the fridge but they are slow to get to work and I probably do have low numbers when I feed them. I can accept all of that as true but I have learned my cultures and know I need a long lead time to propagate the culture before pitching. If I don't, at least with my sour culture, I get a nice batch of acetic acid. My cultures are weird mixes of commercial dregs that need a lot of rest time before I feel they are worth drinking. If I wanted faster cultures or more souring up front I would keep the cultures warm and feed more regularly.

If your blend of organisms is fairly young then you might want to feed or propagate more frequently to advance the competition for dominance.
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2013
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2,516
Location
Kentucky
Many ways to do this. Personally I have a lazy approach of keeping slurry in Mason jars in my fridge. I decant and feed every few months if I haven't brewed with them in a while. I build it up in a starter before pitching. The cultures I use are acclimated to this process.
Same but I'm super lazy and just buy these EarthOx Sterile Centrifuge Tubes, that way I don't have to sanitize a jar. I just crack one open and add the slurry in.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
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6
Location
Syracuse, NY
How do you guys handle repitching mixed cultures without bacteria populations/acid dominating? Increase hopping? Cut the repitch with more Brett? Something else?
 
Joined
May 21, 2015
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Denver
How do you guys handle repitching mixed cultures without bacteria populations/acid dominating? Increase hopping? Cut the repitch with more Brett? Something else?
I don't feed that frequently but I usually feed with starter wort with like 30 IBUs.

I don't get a lot of early souring with my culture so it's probably fairly light on the lacto. Get lots of flavor development out of it though.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2013
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2,476
Location
Virginia
My experience has been that my cultures remain consistent with cold storage in the fridge but they are slow to get to work and I probably do have low numbers when I feed them. I can accept all of that as true but I have learned my cultures and know I need a long lead time to propagate the culture before pitching.
this. I've been recently propping up vials of mixed cultures I saved off and put in my fridge (some were 3-4+ years ago) without feeding them since banking. it takes a few days (maybe 3-4 tops) before visible/active signs of life but they all prop back up just fine, like I just banked them a month or 2 prior. no excessive acetic acid or other off flavors/aromas
 

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