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Old 10-19-2009, 08:17 PM   #1
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Default Cuvee de Tomme clone group project

Since I am now near the completion of my last big beer project, the http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/west...w-swap-121429/ its time to get another one going. Cuvee de Tomme (herefore known as CdT) I think would dovetail nicely with the work done in the previous project as the base beer is Lost Abbey Judgement Day, also a quadrupel / dark strong ale.

What is Cuvee De Tomme all about you ask? It is supreme awesomeness, one of the best beers I have ever had easily. It is Lost Abbeys premier beer and one of their rarest beers. It is made by taking Judgement Day and putting it in a bourbon barrel, and then their lovely sour brett/bug blend is added along with sour cherries. It is very rich, very sour, very complex and very very good. Since this is a sour sour, it's going to take probably 12 months minimum AFTER your base beer is fermented to get the proper sour characteristics and flavors to meld together.

Here's my plan so far:
1: Base beer recipe
As previously mentioned, CdT's base is Judgment Day which is a pretty big and very belgian quadrupel.

I plan on using my Westvleteren recipe I have come up with in that thread as the base for the beer as I feel it is quite good and would fit into this beer really well. If others have good quad/belgian dark strongs that they think would go well with bourbon and cherries then it would probably be a good fit here too.

If we end up doing a competition at the end or just a group swap it would be interesting to see some different base beer recipes.

2: Souring agents
CdT is sour, VERY sour. A lot of patience is going to be required to get it up to the level of sourness you want.

White Labs and Wyeast both make various forms of Brett, Lacto and other souring agents that you could use to get the beer nice and sour. You are at the very least going to need one form of brett, lactobacillus and pediococous. Possible some acetobacter, but I didn't get much acetic when I tried it. It could be interesting to use some wild yeast/bacteria in this beer.

I've been building up a quart mason jar (called The Funky Bunch) that has some starter wort in it with various bugs collected from every sour I can get my hands on. I've put some RR Consecration, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Norrenboro Old Odense, Cantillon Kriek, Oude Beersel Kriek and other sour drugs in and its starting to get some fairly funky action going on. This is what I plan on doing.

3: Bourbon
Lost Abbey uses bourbon barrels to make CdT, so logically something like http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f16/used...up-buy-141631/ would end up being perfect a perfect fit I've got one on the way which I plan on using.

You could alternatively do your souring in a corny keg/conical/better bottle and add bourbon soaked wood, bourbon char, straight bourbon or something else to achieve this character.

4: Cherries and Raisins.
This one could go a lot of ways, but I'm pretty sure they use sour cherries. They could add some frozen sour cherries into the mix after a good amount of souring action is under way, or add sour cherry juice (100% crushed cherries) right off the bat to get the flavor in there and keep from having to deal with decaying cherries in the fermenter.
Someone in my local brew club knows a good source for 100% cherry juice and I was thinking of using that instead of messing with whole cherries in the fermenter. Raisins would be easier to deal with in the fermenter.

Sounds like a fun project to me, who else is in?

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Old 10-19-2009, 08:33 PM   #2
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I'm researching it a bit and I'll be playing around with the recipe. I'll be in if I can get one of those corn whiskey barrels, it should be really nice. Even if I didn't get one I think I'd still be in, sounds very awesome. I'll post up my plan when I come up with something I like.

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Old 10-19-2009, 09:22 PM   #3
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I just brewed up The Pious batch 3 (my westy recipe) last week. I think I might brew it again to get started on this and leave a little for topup. I need to get figures for the kind of evaporative loss you get on a 5g barrel.

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Old 10-19-2009, 09:49 PM   #4
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Alright, Westy 12 didn't have me up in a bunch but this one definitely does.

A few comments...

Souring an 11% ABV beer seems... well, damn near impossible, because most souring bugs don't live much beyond 8%. Lactic acid producing bacteria die around 6-7% and Pediococcus can only handle 8-9%. There is a fair amount of sour character from acetobacter in this brew but it can't possibly be all of it, and I would hate to chuck the bugs into an 11% brew and have it not sour one iota. We're gonna have to figure out how to step ferment this thing so that we can get the 11% ABV of the finished brew and still get that Flanders Red type mouth watering sourness this beer has. I wonder if the key is within the cherries and raisins... perhaps if the base beer ferments up to 7-8% with the bugs, and then cherries and raisins are added to raise the potential alcohol up to 11% after about 6-9 months? Or, maybe the cherries and raisins are fermented with lacto/pedio/brett, and then the soured cherry mash is added to the oak casks when the "virgin" 11% ABV beer is added to them, so it doesn't need to sour any further. Actually the latter seems like the most foolproof method, we might be onto something there...

The barrels have only had whiskey in them for two months so I think it's going to take a few beers cycled through them to get them tame enough to clone this beer. I thought the Bourbon barrel note was there in CdT but pretty low key. I don't expect my first couple of batches going into the barrel to have such a low key Bourbon flavor. It'll probably be knock-your-socks off oak.

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Old 10-19-2009, 09:54 PM   #5
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I just brewed up The Pious batch 3 (my westy recipe) last week. I think I might brew it again to get started on this and leave a little for topup. I need to get figures for the kind of evaporative loss you get on a 5g barrel.
Given the large surface area, I bet it's quite a bit. I'm thinking 8 gallon batch size. Whatever is left over could be aged and blended into the next batch.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Saccharomyces View Post
Alright, Westy 12 didn't have me up in a bunch but this one definitely does.

A few comments...

Souring an 11% ABV beer seems... well, damn near impossible, because most souring bugs don't live much beyond 8%. Lactic acid producing bacteria die around 6-7% and Pediococcus can only handle 8-9%. There is a fair amount of sour character from acetobacter in this brew but it can't possibly be all of it, and I would hate to chuck the bugs into an 11% brew and have it not sour one iota. We're gonna have to figure out how to step ferment this thing so that we can get the 11% ABV of the finished brew and still get that Flanders Red type mouth watering sourness this beer has. I wonder if the key is within the cherries and raisins... perhaps if the base beer ferments up to 7-8% with the bugs, and then cherries and raisins are added to raise the potential alcohol up to 11% after about 6-9 months? Or, maybe the cherries and raisins are fermented with lacto/pedio/brett, and then the soured cherry mash is added to the oak casks when the "virgin" 11% ABV beer is added to them, so it doesn't need to sour any further. Actually the latter seems like the most foolproof method, we might be onto something there...

The barrels have only had whiskey in them for two months so I think it's going to take a few beers cycled through them to get them tame enough to clone this beer. I thought the Bourbon barrel note was there in CdT but pretty low key. I don't expect my first couple of batches going into the barrel to have such a low key Bourbon flavor. It'll probably be knock-your-socks off oak.
Forgot about the raisins!

First off for the sourness. Yes lacto, pedio, acetobacter don't tolerate alcohol really well, could you possibly slowly train them up to being able to tolerate these levels? I'll have to check wild brews to see what tricks they might be able to offer for this aspect.

However, he does use Brett! Definitely C, maybe some A? Brett tolerates alcohol really well. So that can go in the base beer to get it active.

Wonder what the pH of some nice sour cherry juice is? Maybe if you took that, added the raisins to it, and pitched your funky bunch in there if it would provide enough pH to lower the base beer down with sufficient quantity.

I've been to Lost Abbey, and they have quite a few of their barrels dedicated to Cuvee De Tomme, and on the barrel history sheet the only thing thats been in it is CdT. I think all the other flavors going on help tone down the bourbon character some, so I plan on using a fresh barrel.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:15 PM   #7
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First off for the sourness. Yes lacto, pedio, acetobacter don't tolerate alcohol really well, could you possibly slowly train them up to being able to tolerate these levels? I'll have to check wild brews to see what tricks they might be able to offer for this aspect.
A.I.R. just to keep the %ABV down to a level they won't die. Doesn't help us here. Well not directly.

Three strains of brett... C&L are easy to come by. Not sure about any others.

Quote:
I've been to Lost Abbey, and they have quite a few of their barrels dedicated to Cuvee De Tomme, and on the barrel history sheet the only thing thats been in it is CdT. I think all the other flavors going on help tone down the bourbon character some, so I plan on using a fresh barrel.
The surface area ratio of a 50 gal barrel vs a 5 is huge though, we will get tons more oak out of a 5 gallon barrel which is why the distillery used them... they wanted to get tons of oak into their product fast so they could get it on the shelves and pay for their gear (they are new kids on the block).

A brew pub here in town has an extra JD barrel they will sell me if I can figure out where to put it. If I can get enough guys to go in with me on this (and find a place in somebody's garage to store the thing) I will use that barrel and we can just split the batch up.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:27 PM   #8
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http://kingorchards.com/store.htm?ca...%20Concentrate
I think a good amount of the sugars come from this. 1.342 OG!

Edit: just ordered 3 quarts
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:11 PM   #9
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I think I'm down for this. It's a good time to start too, Two months ago there where a S#it load of cherries at the farmers markets around here, so I assume next year they will return. I also have an All Brett C, brew that I will be racking soon to do an All brett triple with the yeast cake, so It will be a good time to harvest some of that. as well I have a good Souring culture going in a corny that needs to be replenished soon.

Looks like my stars have aligned for this project.

I'll have to convince SWMBO to come with me to the bar and shill out $45 for a bottle, so I can have the flavor fresh in my mind.

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Old 10-20-2009, 02:23 AM   #10
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If you haven't read this yet, although I'm sure you have since it's in the comments of the CdT webpage, I think it might help as there is some info that might be useful:
Clicky.

--edit--
From what I understand is that the bugs have been cultured in house, they probably have mutated enough to survive the higher abv levels of the brew? I assume that's only speculation however but according to the description:

Quote:
this beer is fully fermented before being placed in Bourbon barrels where the beer ages for one year with the Sour Cherries and the wild Brettanomyces yeast that we inoculate the barrels with.
How far they hold that to truth... who knows. :P
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