I have 6 gallons of a bretted whit that has been sitting in the basement for 8 months and a Pedio/Lacto/Brett Dubbel that has been working for about 7 months.

If I wanted to reuse these cultures could I just throw wort on top? I know that one method is to use oak chips to preserve the bugs and use the chips/cubes from beer to beer.

I was thinking of racking the finished beer into kegs that I use for other beers. The issue that I see is the chance of cross contamination. The beer that goes into the kegs is gone within a month so is this really an issue? Would one use a separate keg for bugged beers?

Has anyone used the same equip for bugged beers and had issues? Star San and B-Brite seem like a pretty harsh environment for a yeast to live through if the equip was properly sanitized.

  • Just started drinking my first sour this month, which was a year old Pedio/Lacto/Brett Dubbel just like yours. Seems like a style that's great for souring!
    – GHP
    Apr 10, 2012 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


Disclaimer: I don't bug my beer, so this is not coming from experience but reasoned conjecture and corroboration by sources.

As far as sanitation goes, Brett is as easy to kill as regular brewers yeast. Jess Caudill, microbiologist and brewer at Wyeast, wrote

"[Brett] is as easy to kill as any Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain of yeast. No crazy chemical cocktails are necessary... just your normal alkaline cleaning and acid sanitization. It's up to you if you want different equipment for your wild brews."

As to the bacteria, they have higher temperature tolerances, but can also be killed (mostly) by Starsan or completely by Iodophor (and bleach but not recommended.)

The main problem isn't so much the sanitizer, since iodine will kill everything it touches, but organisms being harbored in scratches and hard to sanitize areas. If a small amount of S. cerivisiae is left in a keg or fermentor, it does not real harm. Cross contamination of a small amount of a different strain of yeast will not make any noticeable difference to the beer. A contamination from the other microbes may also not initially make a huge difference either, but given enough time, such as in the bottle, they will have time to propagate and consume sugars not fermented by the regular yeast, causing overcarbonation and potential bottle bombs.

If you are particularly careful cleaning the keg after using it to store buggy beer (e.g. dismantle and soak entirely in iodophor) then you will be fine - there will be no bugs left in the keg. But you're probably best not doing this with anything that is plastic, since that's almost impossible to make sterile due to porosity and susceptibility to scratches.

  • I didn't realize Iodaphor was better suited to killing bugs than StarSan. Good to know, thanks.
    – GHP
    Apr 10, 2012 at 13:33
  • The difference is only slight but sometimes significant - IIRC, starsan has a efficacy in 30 seconds of log 12 - millions bacteria reduced to 1 while iodophors kill all bacteria within one minute (assuming properly stored, no contaminants and properly diluted.) See cdc.gov/hicpac/Disinfection_Sterilization/8_0Iodophors.html
    – mdma
    Apr 10, 2012 at 14:02

I wouldn't throw wort on top of your old brett/pedio/lacto cake, the ratio of bugs will be different from your original pitch. You'll have an abundance of the pedio/lacto and probably not too much brett or saccaromyces left alive. One option of reusing your bugs would be to ferment a batch of beer with a new pitch of saccaromyces and then add some of the brett/pedio/lacto to it after a week or so to begin the souring process.

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