Microscopy pictures of BFM La Torpille dregs

Besides the dregs from the Girardin Gueuze, I also had dregs from BFM’s “La Torpille” to have a look at. Since BFM is a rather small Swiss brewery, it is well known in the US for their legendary L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien. I am very lucky to have full access to all of their brews and I am a big fan of their La Torpille. It is in my opinion quite unique for Switzerland because the beer culture here is quite similar to Germany. BFM stands out because they produce sour beers, beers with spices and so on. To summarize: they brew not according to the Reinheitsgebot…and thats quite rare here in Switzerland, another country where the fizzy yellow stuff dominates.

What I did with the dregs is the following: I had two times 5 liters of a Belgian style beer to do some funky stuff with. After the primary fermentation with Wyeast’s #3522 Belgian Ardennes and #3787 High Gravity Trappist I blended the two and racked it in a secondary fermenter and put two dregs from BFM’s La Torpille in there. The beer, after nearly three month after adding the dregs, is quite clear and has a little funky aroma and some cherry notes. No sourness so far. After taking a sample to see how it tastes, I took the opportunity to look at the bugs with my microscope. Lets have a look at the pictures from the dregs:
Since there are not a lot of pictures of Brettanomyces on the web, it is therefore quite difficult to determine what those bugs are. But looking at Jasons Sciencebrewer page, the cells from my last picture look like those in Jasons picture CB-2 (bottom). He concludes his cells to be wild yeasts, Brettanomyces to be exactly. In the comments below his post it is assumed that it could be Brettanomyces lambicus. I therefore assume that my wild yeasts are B. lambicus due to the morphological similarities. This seems to make sense to me as the Brettanomyces cells look like torpedos and the name of the beer, La Torpille (French), means “The torpedo”….

Beside the wild yeasts there were some Saccharomyces detectable (not shown). But I could not find any kind of bacteria.

The only thing I am interested is what the wild yeasts can contribute to the aroma and flavor of a beer. I therefore will compare this yeasts from the dregs against other known wild yeasts from Wyeast in the future. Since the wild yeasts are already in a beer, I already mentioned that the beer has a very nice cherry note. Since B. lambicus tends to produce cherry notes (see Wyeast description), I therefore assume that the wild yeasts in the dregs of La Torpille are of the specie Brettanomyces lambicus.

I will streak the bugs from the BFM La Torpille dregs on Sabouraud agar in the future to have a look at the morphology of the cells on the agar. Sabouraud is an agar used to cultivate yeasts and not specific for Brettanomyces or any other yeasts and I use it for Saccharomyces cultivations and purification purposes. I purchased some B. lambicus and B. bruxellensis from Wyeast and will streak them as well.

Microscopy pictures of Girardin Gueuze dregs

Bored of learning for my upcoming exams I took my microscope and had some fun. I already posted about my propagation of the Girardin Gueuze dregs, I now wanted to have a look at the bugs in there and some other samples which were lying around. I am very sorry about the quality of the pictures since my camera is not the best one and my microscope… well, lets say it is enough to see some yeasts. Here we go:

Figure 1: Dregs from Girardin Gueuze 1882. 800x magnification. Take 1

Figure 2: Dregs from Girardin Gueuze 1882. 800x magnification. Take 2

Figure 3: Dregs from Girardin Gueuze 1882. 800x magnification. Take 3

I first have to mention that I am not a microbiologist and not very trained to determine bacteria and yeasts only by looking at them. By looking at the figures I could see some bigger roundish cells and cells with similar size bot more elongated. And there are some smaller cells too: some look they belong to the specie of Bacillus ssp., and there are some roundish ones too. And there was a lot of debris in the sample too.

Due to the different sizes of the cells my guess is that the round, big cells are yeasts (S. cerevisia) and the elongated ones could be Brettanomyces. The smaller cells should be bacteria of any kind. Maybe there is someone who could help me to assign the different cells to some species. Well this was a lot of fun. I will post about another beer with dregs I looked at in the future.

Bottle dregs harvest: Girardin 1882 Gueuze

The following history belongs to the sort where there was beer first and then an idea. After enjoying a bottle of Girardin 1882 Gueuze last December I told myself that I should try to harvest the dregs from the bottle and use them in a sour beer. Since I had the beer in a pub, I used the wrapping from a chocolate to seal the bottle and took the bottle home. I then made a 200 mL starter with dried malt extract (20 g dried malt extract to 200 mL of tap water and some yeast nutrients) in a 500 mL Schott bottle and “boiled” it in the microwave. I then transfered the dregs from the bottle to the cooled starter and shook it vigorously. I then left it at room temperature (around 20°C).

After seven days the wort was quite hazy. A long whiff escaped the bottle as I turned the screw cap. And the first impression of the smell was just incredible: It smelled quite like the Gueuze it came from (funky sourness, light tartness). I let it ferment another three days.

Girardin Gueuze starter 10 days after inoculation

Ten days into the fermentation I took a picture of the bottle. There was a sediment at the bottom and some kräusen on top. The smell was similar as mentioned before.

I then took the bottle and put it in my refrigerator (6°C) to prevent the bacteria to grow too fast and to give the Bretts in there a chance to fight (if they still do so at 6°C).

Well, now I have a starter of Girardin bugs and no idea what to do with it. Since I am planning to do an all Brett soon I guess I will split this batch and get the bugs inthere. But to summarize, I was able to isolate some bugs from the Girardin Gueuze. And by the way the Girardin 1882 Gueuze is pretty tasty beer.

I took some microscopy pictures of the bugs in the Girardin starter in January 2012.

01/28/2012: Plated the bugs on a agar plate.