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Old 07-20-2010, 01:37 PM   #1
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Default Bam Biere Clone Advice (Souring, Oak)

I'm a big fan of Bam Biere. For those who don't live in the JP distribution range (which I'm assuming is small), it's a Farmhouse ale with sourness created by reused wine barrels that JP uses for all of their beers. I recently found this clone recipe:

=================

Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere Clone (6 Gallons)

Grain Bill:
4.38 lb Pilsner Malt
2.19 lb 2-row Malt
1.19 lb White Wheat
.56 lb Flaked Barley
.25 lb Crystal 80
.02 lb Black Patent Malt

Hop Schedule:
1.19 oz Crystal (3.8% aa) 60 min
.82 oz Crystal (3.8% aa) 30 min
.55 oz Crystal (3.8% aa) 0 min
.25-.50 oz Crystal (3.8% aa) Dry hop in secondary [you can personalize this to your liking]

Recommended yeast:
WLP550 Belgian Ale Yeast for primary fermentation
WLP650 Brettanomyces bruxellensis for secondary
WLP653 Brettanomyces lambicus for secondary

Other:
.15 oz American Oak Cubes in secondary (2 weeks)
.15 oz French Oak Cubes in secondary (2 weeks)
*To prepare, mix cubes in .5 oz of water and microwave until the water boils off

Preparation notations:
Recommended primary fermentation with WLP550 at 64 degrees initially and let ramp uncontrolled afterward
Use a thin mash: 1.4 qt/lb @ 149 degrees F
After 2 weeks in secondary, rack off hops and oak cubes into tertiary for 6 weeks

Alternatives:
Fermenting completely with dregs of a Bam Biere will create a much funkier, not accurate clone
Fermenting in secondary with dregs of a Bam Biere might create a good alternative to WLP650 and WLP653 in secondary
If using dregs, make sure to use a starter at 1.020 and step it up every time thereafter

============

Now, I haven't brewed sour before. I have access to bombers of Bam here, so I was planning on harvesting some dregs and making a starter for the secondary conditioning. (Incidentally: what does the "1.020 starter, step it up every time thereafter" mean...do I need to do multiple starters to increase my bug count from the dregs?)

Here's the thing though, this recipe calls for secondary with oak, dry hopping, and then a long tertiary. I am willing to brew it mainly because I have a glass carboy that I'm planning on replacing with a Better Bottle. In theory, I can just use the glass one for sour batches so I don't have to worry about the stray bug or two not getting sanitized into oblivion. Well and good, but I don't want to have to have TWO vessels reserved for this, it's bad enough having to have dedicated siphoning equipment and a fermenter, let alone two fermenters.

My thought is that I can just reduce the oak down to, say, .1 ounces and dispense with the dry hopping in favour of more flameout hops. This would allow me to get the aromatic oils without having to move the beer again after secondary is complete. Bam has a subtle oak in the real form. I want some of that character, but I'm concerned that the long conditioning period will bring out too much of that from even a light dollop of oak.

Does anyone have experience with stuff like this? I am really gung-ho to try doing sours, but I want to make sure that I'm not spending 2 months on a beer that ends up being over-oaked/&c.

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:23 PM   #2
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I've had the best luck in general using dregs in primary. Try to get the freshest bottles you can since they will have a more representative sample of the microbes. I try to avoid making starters for dregs since the different microbes have different requirements for temperature, oxygen, nutrients, gravity etc...

If you are really set against having a funky primary, you could certainly go the dregs in primary. I've actually been fine sharing fermenters between clean/sour beers as long as I am extra care giving them a long soak in hot cleaning solution followed by a long soak in Star-San. I do keep separate sets of everything else, tubing, bottling bucket, bottling wands etc…

I'd save the dry hops for 1-2 weeks before bottling, that way you'll still have a nice fresh hoppy aroma when the beer is ready to drink. I really like the character of dry hopped sours, an Amarillo/Simcoe/Cascade Flanders Red was one of my favorite batches (or six packs as I only dry hopped a small portion of the batch). You can just add them right to your secondary. You could do the same for the oak, but honestly even with a couple months of exposure time .3 oz of oak will be subtle at most, I generally go ~1 oz for sours and age them on the oak for 9+ months. That said I usually boil the oak cubes in a bit of water to knock out some of the character.

Hope that helps, good luck. I did something along the same lines a month or two back, a ~1.042 Belgian Pale fermented with 505 and Brett B (no oak or dry hops... yet.)

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:25 PM   #3
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>>what does the "1.020 starter, step it up every time thereafter" mean...
Create a 500ml starter of 1.020 wort and pour the dregs in their. Once it has finished fermenting cold crash, pour off liquid and add yeast to a 1000ml flask of 1.020 wort, repeat until you have the size of starter you need.

You could also rack the beer to your bottling buck (yes, you will need a new one for sours anyway), clean the original fermentor and rack it back to the glass carboy. Some extra risk of contamination/oxidation but if you are careful it could work.

I'd recommend checking out the "Lambic & Wild Brewing" section here for some great advice on sours.

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:48 PM   #4
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Edit: post removed due to redundancy

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Old 07-20-2010, 06:05 PM   #5
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Love Bam Biere... Can You Brew It? covered this one awhile ago...check that out.

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Old 08-29-2011, 07:09 PM   #6
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Brewed a 10 gallon batch of Bam clone few weeks ago.
Transferred the beer to secondary yesterday. After 2 weeks, gravity was at 1.013...probably not too far from completed. I must admit I was expecting to be just under 1.010 after 2 weeks in primary but this is what I got!
I did split the batch in 2 x 5 gallons. I trew the bretts in one of them and used the other one as a control, just added the hops and oak cubes. In other words, I'll be able to compare a bretts version and a "plain" version of this beer.
It tasted good but quite malty. I struggled a bit with my mash temperature and might have been a little high. I might have extracted some less fermentable sugars which could explain my 1.013 gravity....
We'll see how it turns. I love the Bam.
Has anyone else brewed this beer?
What did it taste after the primary? will teh taste change quite a bit in the next weeks?
Let me know

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Old 08-31-2011, 03:10 PM   #7
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With that much gravity you may have to give it a bit of extra aging before bottling. It doesn't take much additional fermentation in the bottle to get massive over-carbonation.

Hope it turns out well!

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Old 08-31-2011, 07:36 PM   #8
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I brewed it, but mine has been in Secondary on oak and JP dregs for almost 2 months now, I'm going to do a gravity reading to see where its at.. I don't want it to be too funky at the start.

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Old 08-31-2011, 10:36 PM   #9
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I brewed 10 gallons last June. It started clean with WLP550. Left it in the primary for a month, then transferred it to two carboys along with the dregs of 3 JP beers split between the two. It formed a pellicle after only a week!

Started at 1.038 gravity and racked at 1.010. It was quite tasty when I racked it out of primary--kinda like a Belgian ordinary bitter.

That's where I'm at now... It's been on the bugs for a month now. Maybe I'll sample some soon and report back.

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Old 10-11-2011, 10:14 PM   #10
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Hey!
Brewed this recipe few months ago. The beer has now been in bottle for 4 weeks. I tasted side by side with a Bam and it is definitely in the same style and aroma/taste scheme however mine has a stronger medicinal taste...you can taste it in the Bam but mine is much stronger...almost taste what a box of band-aid smells...in a good way ;-) What gives this taste in a beer? Is it simply the grain bill? Fermented at 70F which is in the range for the WL550...

Mine is also darker and more caramel than the Bam.
I know I screwed up on the mash temp. I was a bit higher and swinged between 157 and 145....not a very stable mash in other words.
Could this be the reason why?
It also explains why my FG is at 1.013 and slightly higher than expected...probably less fermentable sugars..
Would love to have feedback from people that brewed this recipe. How did it turned?
The Bam is also more bitter; my guess would be around 25-27 IBU.

Any help/feedback is appreciated; thanks!

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