My family(swmbo's side) makes apple butter every year together as part of a family reunion style event. This year I was involded a bit more and saw them using "boiled down cider" as an ingredient; 30+ gallons of apple cider boiled down to less than 4 gallons into a black syrup that looks like dark candi syrup( some similar flavors too). I knew I wanted to make some and brew with it . I made some soon after and kept it in the fridge not knowing what to use it in. Then somebody on the babblebelt suggested that they may use apples/cider to make Stille Nacht(since then it seems they may not, thus the "sorta" comment).
Made 3 gallons:
8# Belgian Pale Malt
1# Cane Sugar
12oz Apple Syrup( ~1.5 gallons pressed juice boiled to 12oz - dark amber color)
.75oz Galena @60min( ~36IBU's)
Mash @ 148F for 60 minutes
Sour Starter: .5# Uncrushed Grains Added to ~1/2 gallon of first sparging liquid(~1.040) cooled to 120F and placed in seperate vessel with airlock to sour.
Primary Yeast: Belgian Wit Yeast
& after 24 hours add the sour starter with grains strained out to get Lacto sourness( recipe called for Lacto added with wit yeast - don't have pure Lacto yet).
1 oz Frech Oak Cubes soaked in Carmenere red wine added after primary fermentation (to simulate bordeaux barrel aging)
I've heard of, and tried, souring the mash and souring the wort. But in both instances the resulting sour liquid was boiled. In this case I needed lacto to ferment along with the regular yeast. Rather than tossing the grains in with yeast into the high gravity wort, I gave the Lacto a easier wort to work on from the sparge liquid. Also, after 24 hours I could make sure the starter smelled 'good' and sour before risking the whole batch by just dumping the grains into the wort and hoping for the best. Still risky but we'll see, this thing is going crazy right now with a heat pad under it. The main part of the beer went 24 hours @ 68F, while the sour starter was @ 85+, then they were mixed and are fermenting in the low 80's now.