Please sir,sell me some ECY20 Bug County,sir?

Looks like I have been at it again ladies and gents.

Back in October or November I had what I thought was a mate over in the States,near Boston. He was coming back to Thailand and had promised to bring me some Heady Topper and some East Coast Yeast Bug County(the mother bugger!). Well,he dropped off the radar and I was without the beer or the bugs.

I felt like I was being taunted by the thread ECY on love2brew now! over on HBT. I could not order ECY as I am not in the States,but greenly had to read as all the cool sour brewers confirmed their purchase.

So, I put out an appeal, going by the same name as this post and WHAM!. Within an hour or so, a guy responded saying that he had got two vials of ECT20 and would be making a starter with them. Sending some out to me would be no sweat at all.

Fast forward to last Thursday.


That is a vial of Bug County and a vial of house sour bugs(including WLP sour mix,Flemish ale blend,Wyeast Roeselare and dregs) sent to me by Brewing_on_the_internet in the State of Georgia. And they were both about to be pitched into a stout based on Tart of Darkness.

I had fallen in love with the idea of this beer a long time ago and just could not contain my excitement. I got the bugs on Thursday and brewed on Saturday night.

The brew was 11 litres:

1kg TF mild malt

1.3kg Weyermann Pilsner malt

150gr caramunich(60l)

180gr flaked oats

130gr carafa special 2

70gr black roasted barley

All of this was mashed at 68c for 75 minutes with 2.5 ltr/kg.

I FWH ( don’t know why) with 20gr of aged Glacier pellets that should be at about 2%AA.

This was the grain bed

ImageI tend to brew at night, as that is the only time I get. So it is not unheard of for me to end a brew session at midnight or after. When This happens I get the wort down to about 40c and then leave it over night to cool.

But this also means that I sometimes just get to a boil as even my late night neighbours are going to bed. Luckily for me, I was all mashed in by 7:45.


ImageAnd getting the second runnings by 9:20.

ImageAnd the boil timer was started.

ImageAfter an hour of boiling I moved the brew kettle to the downstairs bathroom to “shower” the sides to bring the temperature down before sitting it in an ice-bath.

I finished watching UFC with my English IPA,put a lid on the wort and went to bed.

The next morning, Wenlock, my 5 year old son was making sure that I was going to let him be the guardian of the StarSan and the KeeperImage of Yeast and Bugs.

ImageWenlock also decided to pitch some re-hydrated Windsor just to get things moving along. The two five litre FVs were then put into the brew fridge at about 18c.

There was enough wort left over for me to get just under two litres and have a bit of an experiment,something I had been waiting for since I made my Sauerkraut.


The starter of Sauerkraut lacto smelled in-your-face-sour, in the best possible way, so in it went.


There we are. The small batch to be lacto soured was put in a warm quiet place to contemplate it’s possible sourness undisturbed.

Today the two five litre FVs looked like this:

ImageWindsor is a very fast worker,so these babies will come out to play on day three,leaving my brew fridge free for my third re-brew of Citrye-Simrye-366rye.

PS: Hello to the 9 readers in Sweden today.Cheers!




My first ever beer-mail

It was last October when I heard Ethan Tripp speak to James and Steve on Basic Brewing Radio about his Sour Solera Project. I must have listened a good few times because I lost a morning.

I was very envious of ET and was about to do my thing of contacting those amazingly cool American home brewers to ask for something. It would take a long time. I would doubt that it would happen. But it would all be well worth the wait, the uncertainty, the cursing of the postman(sorry mate, I went to the temple to make it better,the monk assured me it would be just fine!).


I contacted James Spencer and asked that he put me in touch with Ethan. I asked a whole load of question, to which Ethan gave me very detailed answers and also agreed to send me some dregs with which to sour some of my own brew.

The only catch ( if you can call it that) was that I accept sole responsibility for the outcome, be it good or bad.

So, after scores of things getting in the way, I finally heard from ET about ten days ago saying that the package had been posted and that it included not only four vials of Brett/bugs, but also a bottle of the brown ale spoken about in the podcast.

ImageNow you tell me that this bottle is not the most beautiful beer related thing you have seen today and I will eat my hat!

When the package arrived at the office last Friday I was teaching a TEFL course and was on my way for a coffee break,cup in hand,as I walked past the teacher’s room window. I very briefly stopped dead in my tracks and dropped my coffee(ouch!) and ran screaming and shaking like a leaf in a storm,into the room.

Well what with all the shaking ( I had stopped screaming by now) and the mad skills of master wrapper Mr. Tripp, it took m,e ages to get into the goodies.

My heart sank ever so quickly as I noticed that one of the five vials had leaked. WAIT A FLIPPING MINUTE! Five, not four vials.

ImageWell stone the crows, was I ever a happy man.

So, here is what they were:

1: Cabin Blend 1 containing stuff,hey, we all like a bit of stuff!

2: Cabin Blend 2,containing Anchorage White out, Vapeur En Folie, Timmermans Gueuze, BFM Abbaye St. Bon Chien 2009 and 3 Fontienen Doesjil 2006.

3: Petrus Aged Pale ale Brett

4: East Coast Yeast Bug Farm 01 with some Jolly Pumpkin(god how Iong to get my grubby little hands on one of their beers). This is in three of the barrels and is the basis of the Solera.

5: De Molen Leif and Leed, Istastegi Basque Cider, Cantillon Fou Foune 2013, BFM Abbaye St. Bon Chien 2006 and Cantillon Kriek.

In Ethan’s words”Ah, Cabin 4 was a “why not” addition. It’s not really been proofed, save that it smelled fantastic. It also got quite ropy, so be aware, there lies pediococcus, and it does weird things, but it makes great beer”.

So, as would any respectable home brewer, I rushed to brew something on Saturday night. I decided that the grain bill must be two things. 1) Simple 2) made up of grains I had on hand.

With that in mind I put together a 15 litre batch:

1kg Vienna malt

1.4 kg Pilsner malt

130gr flaked oats

120gr Carahell

30gr Carafa Special II for colour

I mashed it with 2.5 litres/kg at 69c for an hour. At 60 minutes I added 10gr of year old Glacier pellets which after calculating the residual AA content, gave me about 5IBUs.


I then boiled for an hour and cooled by “showering” the outside of my brew kettle before sitting in an ice bath for a while. After 20 minutes, by this time it was 01:30 in the morning, I sprayed the lid with Starsan and went to bed, leaving the pitching and dividing for the next morning so that Wenlock could help me.

Sunday morning the wort was siphoned into the 5 litre FVs and I “pitched” or rather “spooned” two desert spoons of re-hydrated Windsor into all of them. Into the two at the back, I also pitched CB1 and CB2( not together).

The FV at the front will have about 200ml of amber LME wort added, which I will boil with some hops and then pitch the Petrus Brett ready for aging.


This was today at about quarter to five:


A big fat thank you very much goes out to E.T. for his help,generosity and all round wickedness!

I will update when I brew with the other two,which I am thinking of giving to Tylerization, and again when I open that Sour Brown Solera.