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Old 11-28-2013, 01:31 PM   #1
Jnco_hippie
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Default 1 year old sour Chimay: added cherries no action. is it "dead"?

Originally brewed using WLP500, then transferred and innoculated with wlp655 at transfer. 3 or 4 months ago we put in 28 oz of montmorency sour cherries. Within a few hours, we had a vigirous re-fermentation that lasted days followed by months of slow steady fermentation. 3 days ago we noticed all the cherries had suddenly dropped to the bottom. We added another 14 oz of tart cherries.

When we added the new can, all the cherries sunk straight to the bottom. The first 2 cans we put in floated immediately. Now, 3 days later not a single sign of life in the fermenter and the cherries remain at the bottom.

I tasted the beer when opened it to add cherries. It had sour tinge, but is still short of the level of sourness we are hoping for. Definately has a strong dirty funk to it.

This beer sat 7 months before getting first cherries, but had plenty of live hungry yeast and bacteria at the time. How can they all be dead 3 months later?

I can always force carb ans serve it, but my plan was to bottle condition and age it for years possibly.

Should I just give it a fresh bit of bottle dregs or maybe even some cultured brett? Or should I let it ride a few months then keg it with the unfermented 14 oz of cherries thus gaining a flavor boost and an ever-so-light sweetness? Or am I missing something about sour brewing? This is still our first full on sour beer.

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Old 11-28-2013, 07:55 PM   #2
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The brett will definitely still be alive It just works slower than sacc will. When you bottle it in a few months you will want to add fresh yeast. I always add rehydrated champagne yeast to the bottling bucket with the priming sugar. Because you fermented with a sacc strain then added the bugs it won't ever get really sour, Jolly Pumpkin dregs will help it sour though.

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Old 11-29-2013, 04:48 PM   #3
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Probably best next time to just use WLP655 and skip a primary ale yeast. WLP5655 has a Belgian sacc strain in it so just pitch it in the primary. With that being said, you'll still get some tartness but the lacto and pedio won't grow their colonies until 12 months or so. I'm not sure if your cherry flavors will still be there in a few more months but if you really want a tart/sour profile in your beer it's best to let it sit for at least 12-18 months.

I've never added dregs that late (I usually pitch them in the primary) but it might help to pitch some. If you do it'll still take a while to get tartness. Since you've already waited 10 months why not wait a few more months and make sure you get the most out of your time investment. Let us know how it goes!

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Old 12-03-2013, 09:23 PM   #4
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your first cherries were montmorency, the next were "tart cherries" so i'm assuming they are of a different variety. one possibility why they behaved differently is because they are different cherries. maybe those tart cherries are just heavier. they may be fermenting, just at the bottom of the fermenter.

brett is definitely still alive in there, it'll get to the cherries. additional dregs can't hurt. the number of cells you get from dregs will be very low. don't expect a world of change from just a bottle or two of dregs.

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Drinking: a farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend, wet-hopped harvest ale x 2, second runnings dark ale with vanilla
Fermenting: (nothing active)
Aging: imperial chocolate stout, sour cherry mead, oud bruin & a few other sours, acerglyn, a BDSA
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Old 12-05-2013, 08:44 PM   #5
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They dropped because your gravity is lower now. Think about floating in salt water. For a more applicable example, consider your hydrometer; it floats "easily" when your wort is full of sugar, but sinks post ferment. Don't worry about it. It's science.

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Old 12-05-2013, 10:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedclev View Post
They dropped because your gravity is lower now. Think about floating in salt water. For a more applicable example, consider your hydrometer; it floats "easily" when your wort is full of sugar, but sinks post ferment. Don't worry about it. It's science.
d'oh... science.

great point!
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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table. Looking for cheap honey?

Drinking: a farmhouse with ECY08 & brett blend, wet-hopped harvest ale x 2, second runnings dark ale with vanilla
Fermenting: (nothing active)
Aging: imperial chocolate stout, sour cherry mead, oud bruin & a few other sours, acerglyn, a BDSA
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Old 12-06-2013, 03:40 AM   #7
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And now they have floated for back to the surface again.

Looks awsome, tastes great! I cannot wait to get this in a bottle in about 3-6 months.

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