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Old 03-20-2008, 05:08 AM   #1
TheCrane
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Default Poppin cherries

The long winters up here do strange things people. A month ago I was sitting on the porcelain throne and paging through my well worn copy of Chuck Paps Joy. I rediscovered that peculiar little appendix on sour mashes and decided to dabble on a whim. Heres the run down:

3 gallons
OG: 1.054

4.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 76.92 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 17.09 %
0.25 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 4.27 %
0.10 lb Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 1.71 %

Mashed at 154 F for 60 min with single infusion.
Added enough cold water to bring temp down to 120 F
Stirred in 1/2 lb of un-mashed, milled base malt
Covered with foil, put the lid on MLT and stashed it by the heating register for ~20 hr
I then added boiling water to bring mash back up to ~160 and sparged as usual.
Boiled 60 min with ~1/2 oz of old willamette.
Pitched Danstar (only yeast on hand at the time)
After primary I racked onto 5 lb of pasteurized crushed cherries (3 lb tart, 2 lb dark sweet)

This stuff is SOUR!!! I considered it undrinkable when it was being racked to secondary (before adding cherries). I could feel the enamel melting off my chompers. I decided to continue as planned. Its been sitting on the cherries for 3 weeks now. I pulled a sample a few days ago and was pleasantly surprised. The cherries really tamed down the sour and it actually tasted really good. Dry, crisp and delightfully tart. The malt character is hard to find behind all the cherry and acidity, but once its cold, carbed and conditioned I think it'll be great stuff. I already wish I'd done 5 gallons. I'm planning on trying this again with some Belgian yeast and possibly brett to add a little complexity.

The moral of the story: While this practice and recipe is not true to any particular style (especially lambic, sorry Charlie) it does provide a very interesting tool for producing something unusual and (tentatively) enjoyable in a relatively short time.

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Old 03-21-2008, 09:19 PM   #2
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I bottled this last night. I only ended up getting ~2 gallons into bottles, and that was with a lot of PITA fidgeting with the auto siphon. I was really bummed that I lost so much volume to cherry sludge because it tasted fantastic. The sourness has diminished even further, which I found surprising. I thought it would get more sour as the sugars from the cherries were metabolized . The malt profile has become more evident, but still subdued. I was uncertain about the addition of the small amount of oats, but I wanted the mouthfeel and head retention and I have an allergy to wheat. So far, I think it was a good idea, with regards to mouthfeel. Final gravity was 1.009. I have some Belgian yeast on the way (WLP530) and can't wait to try this again.

Has anyone else played around with sour mashes? I'm just really stunned with the results in such a short time. The lacto and pedio work quickly at warm temps and in the absence of yeasty competitors. Seriously, 12 hrs of sitting a 120 F and sourness was detectable, 15 hrs and it was pretty sour, 20 hours and it was pretty close to lemon juice!!! And this was just using whatever endospores were hanging out on the 1/2 lb of un-mashed grain.

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