Getting to Know Your Lacto

There’s never been a better time to start getting to know your lacto. Thanks to American Craft Brewers, sour beers, a once dying style, are now experiencing a huge explosion in popularity. Consider that in 2002 GABF, the first time a sour category was introduced, there were only 15 entries. By the 2018 GABF there were 820 entries!

The microorganism responsible for producing sour beers is lactic acid bacteria, or LAB for short. The great thing about LAB is that they produce lactic acid as a product ofA representative icon of the brewing bacteria lactobacillus brevis. fermentation. Lactic acid is a source of the “sour” in sour beers. Although there are over 100 species and subspecies of LAB, the genus Lactobacillus represents the largest within LAB.

LAB is not just for sour beers, either; it is used extensively in the food industry for preservation, starters for cheese and yogurt, fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut), probiotics (L. Casei and L. paracasei), and more. Using LAB in the food process can be thought of as a “controlled spoilage” to produce desired results under carefully monitored parameters.

Download the Getting to Know Your Lacto presentation here. In it you will find key information on LAB metabolism, pH and Total Acidity (TA), LAB uses in brewing (kettle souring and mixed fermentations) and much more. Visit our Legacy Resources page for even more dynamic brewing tutorials and resources.

By Josh Armagost and Dan Ramos