Very Wild Ferments - ???'s

Mead, wine, beer, and any other form of alcoholic beverages, as well as vinegar.

Moderator: Christopher Weeks

Very Wild Ferments - ???'s

Postby BeeBopin on Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:12 pm

Hello and thank you for being here!
I pressed ~30 gallons apple and pear cider 6 weeks ago. What was not consumed or taken away that day went straight into a clean 6gal glass carboy and 5gal plastic hi grade plastic bottle. These are both filled with a mix of two apple varieties, green and red, of heirloom colonial decent in the Pacific Northwest. Some were still hard and sour, most very ripe and sweet. They were then let to sit with very fine and tight fitting cloth and have been sitting with little light and 45-65degF temperature. Foamed for 4.5 weeks; now uniformly opaque; 1in of bright sediment; just a few .5cm clusters of light scum or possible mold, all very thin and small.
What is the proper workflow to follow now in order to determine a next move which is safe? We will be happy with some sort of beverage or cooking/sipping/cleaning vinegar. Are there any easy tests to find if it's safe to sip on?
I also let two growlers of pear juice sit for the same amount of time in the fridge, burping them every so often. They now foam like crazy when opened....
Thanks so much for your comments....
BeeBopin
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:33 pm

Re: Very Wild Ferments - ???'s

Postby WWFSM on Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:45 pm

This is the recipe I followed the very first time I made apple cider: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/how-to-make-hard-cider.aspx

Because I didn't pasteurize or heat treat my juice, I didn't bother adding any yeast, just put it in the jug and air lock it.

As for determining if it's safe: It is most likely safe, the alcohol will kill off just about anything wrong. (note I didn't say everything)

Trust Your Senses! Smell, colour, and that deep gut churning you get when you are about to swallow something your body doesn't like - pay attention to that one. If it passes this test, have a tiny taste. Then wait a while to see how you feel. Then have a larger taste.

It may not taste very good right away, for us, it tasted horrible the first time. But after a year of aging, it suddenly tasted really delicious. Now we do the fizzy kind (in the link above) with the honey added at the time of bottling.

We are also far more casual with the timing. Juice apples - put in carboy with airlock, make sure it get's bubbles to see it's fermenting. When we either need the carboy for something or start getting thirsty, we rack or bottle the juice. Sometimes it stays in the carboys for a year, sometimes, two weeks. We basically treat all our fruit juice the same. However, because we have livestock, we do not use any apples that have touched the ground - it would probably be fine if we did, however it would make it taste less yummy.

As for the juice in the fridge, it may be a bit cold in there for the yeast to grow properly. I find the optimal temp is between 10 degrees C and 25 C. But since it's wild yeast, we will be working with different varieties, and you may have one that loves cold temperature.
Doing my best to be the change I want to see in the world, one meal at a time.
http://wholewheatfsm.blogspot.ca

Currently Culturing
Kombucha, perry, cider, wine (red and white), mead(s), miso, sourdough, & seasonal veg my garden gives me
WWFSM
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:10 am
Location: Canada, Left Coast

Re: Very Wild Ferments - ???'s

Postby justineaton on Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:20 pm

If you are not using an airlock you will get vinegar because the bacteria from the air can get in. What you had floating on top is probably the beginnings of a vinegar mother. I started my very first batch of vinegar the same way but ended up dumping it into a food grade bucket because the more surface space there for bacteria to settle on and form a mother the better.
justineaton
 
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:41 am

Re: Very Wild Ferments - ???'s

Postby music on Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:28 pm

Good reply WWFSM, the only problems I have had with wild yeast ferments have been in the order of over-yeastiness, and I am yet to encounter nasties in any brew. I agree, we trust our senses, and our body. Smell, taste, look. Be cautious, by all means, but our bodies will give us warning signs of what to consume, and what not to consume. Modern life is about as far removed from trusting the wisdom of the body as we can get without actually becoming robots or transhumanistic artificial constructs of genetic manipulation. We need to get back to inner wisdom - our bodies know what is good for us. Non-human animals, in particular, rely very much on the sense of smell to tell them not only what is safe to eat, but also what their body needs in way of base nutrients, medicinal virtue and missing micro-nutrients. For example, we often see carnivores eating herbage, or even faeces because their body tells them this is what is needed in this moment. Trust in the wisdom of the body, this is self empowerment.

I find that mould, per se, is rare in wild alcohol ferments. I know the sort of thing you are describing, BeeBopin. I see clusters like this, and also filaments that sit at the top of the brew and extend downwards for about a cm or so into the brew. I see these as being satellite communities of yeasts, bacteria and yes, possibly moulds, but when we work with wild, unpasteurised substrates, this is to be expected. I see the diversity of films and cultures as a sign that my brew is likewise diverse in those beneficial entities with which we have formed a bond of symbiosis.

As an aside, whenever you brew a particular good product, consider saving the yeast for further use. The yeasts and bacteria that inhabit our wild ferments are a snapshot in time of our ambient environment, and when conditions are optimal, it is good to preserve the strains we have for future use. I have one glass jar that has been in continuous use for over 10 brews now. I syphon off the liquid, and because I am putting the same kind of brew into the jar, I leave the residue of yeast and liquid in the jar, feed it a little sugar, prepare my next batch, and put it straight into the active yeast solution. My last brew in this will be the final time I use this method, there is an over-yeastiness now. I may isolate just the yeast, and feed it for a while to see how it smells and bubbles, then use it again. Maybe not. I will trust my inner knowing.

The one inch of bright sediment will be largely composed of spent yeast cells, the scant patches of scum are the last residual signs of fermentation. For me, scant patches of scum or low grade foam are an indication that this stage of fermentation has ceased. This is the time to do whatever you plan next.
http://www.celestialroots.com/
http://celestialroots.tumblr.com/
music
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:32 am

Re: Very Wild Ferments - ???'s

Postby WWFSM on Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:15 am

Justineaton, good point. Most of the time you will get vinegar without an airlock. Although, I've never managed it. I think it's because I forget about it, and don't disturb the surface of the ferment, the fragile layer of CO2 that settles on top of the liquid seems to be enough to keep the vinegar bacteria out. I always secretly hope for vinegar, that's why I 'forget' the airlock, but alas, no luck yet.

I know what you mean about the yeasty ferments music. When this happens, I usually just rack them (transfer them from one carboy to another and leave them for a few more months). The aeration usually does the trick and gets the leftover yeast moving again, but if it doesn't do it by the second racking, I'll add a couple of Tbs of honey (per 20 ltrs) the next time I rack it to either feed (or kill off) the remaining yeast.

Modern life is about as far removed from trusting the wisdom of the body as we can get without actually becoming robots or transhumanistic artificial constructs of genetic manipulation.


Can I use this quote? I adore it!

Apple cider was my very first fermented anything I made myself. I was terrified! No really, I was. Most of my kitchen education came from the school system which basically taught me that everything needed to be stored in plastic, and if it was exposed to air for more than 20 minutes it was no longer safe. It was a really nasty experience. So the idea of leaving UNPASTEURIZED apple juice, often claimed to be one of the more deadly foods in North America, at Room Temperature for such a long time was nerve racking. Lucky for me, I had help from a relative that is old enough to remember life before refrigeration. He assured me that there really was only two possible options: Vinegar or alcohol... or possibly a mixture of both. It wasn't an exclusive 'or'. Neither Vinegar or Alcohol provide environments where naughty invisible beasties like to grow.

This made me feel a lot better, and got me interested in discovering why I believed the food safe dogma they taught me in school and to learn how people survived before 1980. I mean, if we are to believe the food safe dogma, then it was impossible for people to survive without the technology and chemicals they invented in the late 70s and early 80s. So humankind must have been a dismal thing before the early 80s... or perhaps, just maybe, the dogma wasn't entirely true?

I like what you do with the brew jar music, I have something similar with a wooden spoon. I took the idea from the old medieval brew sticks, which were often paddles with groves in them, like a long handled wooden spatula. They would use this to stir their beer while it's brewing, the yeast would gather in the groves, then they would hang the paddle to dry. The yeast goes dormant, then when it is used to stir the next batch, the yeast inoculates the new brew.
Doing my best to be the change I want to see in the world, one meal at a time.
http://wholewheatfsm.blogspot.ca

Currently Culturing
Kombucha, perry, cider, wine (red and white), mead(s), miso, sourdough, & seasonal veg my garden gives me
WWFSM
 
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:10 am
Location: Canada, Left Coast

Re: Very Wild Ferments - ???'s

Postby music on Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:57 am

Haha, sure WWFSM, feel free to use the quote.

I have done something along the lines of your suggestion. My alcoholic ginger beer was a bit yeasty a while back, so I added two tablespoons of raw sugar to a couple of the best part of three gallons, gave it a stir, then left it. When it had quietened down, I tasted, and the yeastiness was not an issue, the beer was bubbly, but not too bubbly, ready for bottling. Nice hot ginger kick, fair alcohol kick too - definitely not one for my five year old! His favourite tipple at the moment is kefir milk with honey and spices, so my ginger beer is safe. To be fair, I started a ginger bug today with the intent of making a ginger beer for him and his buddies.
http://www.celestialroots.com/
http://celestialroots.tumblr.com/
music
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 8:32 am


Return to Alcohol Ferments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests