spontaneous fermentation

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spontaneous fermentation

Postby spgriffin » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:58 pm

I was reading some beers aged in oak and they were described as having a spontaneous fermentation. What is that?
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spontaneous fermentation

Postby slothrob » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:01 am

Spontaneous fermentation results from the native yeast and bacteria in the environment. Classic examples are wine fermented by the yeast present on the grape skins, sour dough bread made from the yeast present in the air in San Francisco or beers that are brewed with wild yeast.

In the case of oak barrels, the wood typically harbors bugs from whatever was previously in the barrel. Brettanomyces in particular can hide in the wood and start a spontaneous secondary fermentation when the beer is racked into the barrel for aging. This would be a true secondary fermentation, not what we often refer to as a secondary, which is usually just a settling or bright tank.
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