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Old 03-12-2014, 04:59 PM   #1
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Default 15-18% ABV Sour

I'm toying around with the idea of brewing a really high abv sour and looking for advice on how to make sure it gets funky/sour at alcohol levels that typically kill off brett and bugs. I came up with the idea when drinking a dfh fort, which is an 18%abv raspberry beer. I thought it would be pretty awesome with some sourness and funk.

My plan right now to get sourness is to either sour mash or pitch lacto into virgin wort and let it ride until sourness is achieved. I don't know what to do about getting funk since it'll be above levels where brett is usually comfortable and those funky flavors usually take a lot of time. Are there any brett strains that are more alcohol tolerant than others?

I have roeselare, ecy flemish ale, and bug farm cakes at my disposal if that would be a good route to go too.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-12-2014, 06:22 PM   #2
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How about blending a sour with a high-gravity clean beer?

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Old 03-12-2014, 07:47 PM   #3
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Rather than sour mashing or pitching lacto before the yeast, I would use a blend or dregs that contain both lacto and pedio. I think you will get a more complex and refined acidity from pedio than from lacto alone or from a sour mash. Depending on what sort of beer you want, either of the ECY blends may be good choices. I've only used Bug Farm for fake lambic so I'm not sure what the ABV limit is. I think the Flemish blend will hit it's pH limit before it's abv limit. I've used it in several beers and the bigger ones have finished fairly high and very acidic.

I've repitched the ECY02 slurry along with fresh sacc and still not gotten as much attenuation as I'd expected, maybe if you wait until the sacc is done to pitch the ECY02 you'll get a little more. I've hit 1.018 from 1.092 + blueberries and 1.028 from 1.100 + figs pitching fresh yeast and ECY02 at the same time, but got a more pleasing level of acidity from pitching the ECY02 after primary. The ECY only dropped the the third beer from 1.006 to 1.004, but still produced a good bit bit of acid.

I guess your best bet is to brew the biggest beer you can and ferment with whatever strain you want. When that's fermenting out, pitch a high grav yeast and start doing sugar additions to get up to desired abv, and then add the slurry of bugs and critters. Or if you have a strain in mind that will ferment the sugar additions in acidified beer, add the slurry and then start bossting abv when you get taste you want. The quad I made with figs tastes like sour fire. I added about 7 pounds of fresh figs to 4.5 gallons of beer. I don't know what the sugar addition actually was, but it tastes like it's in the abv range you're going for. It also tastes like the acetobacter on the figs and the brett are thinking about having a party and trying to make nail polish remover, but I'll let it ride a while before I taste it again.

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Old 03-12-2014, 11:59 PM   #4
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I have three five gallon batches of imperial flander's brown that come out to 11,12 and 13% I started the 11% one with lacto only for four days at 90* then lowered the temp and added roeselare. The 12 and 13% I just used second gen roeselare that had Cantillon, JP and Hanssens dregs added during it's first use. They are all fairly sour at 1-1.5 years old and taste great. I say this all the time but JP dregs will sour anything.

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Old 03-13-2014, 06:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcHokie View Post
How about blending a sour with a high-gravity clean beer?
i thought about this because i have a buddy with an overly acidic sour.

using the yeast cakes of the gnarly ecy and jp dregs and just letting it ride for a while (i'm assuming probably in the neighborhood of 2 years) might be my best bet.

do you guys think it would work to sour something like an 8-10% beer for like a year and then start feeding it sugar and high abv tolerant yeast. staggered sugar, oxygen, and yeast additions are the methods i've used when brewing high abv beers in the past but I always keep the yeast active until the alcohol level is where i want it. I've never taken a beer that had a stable fg and started feeding it again to ramp up alcohol. Not sure if that would cause problems.
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Old 03-14-2014, 12:58 PM   #6
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I've played around with freeze-concentrating a malty sour, that was fun.

The highest I've gone for a traditionally brewed sour was about 12%. Turned out to be a weird/interesting beer after a few years of aging, but never got very sour, just an English-"stale"-Bretty character. Certainly could be countered with different/additional strains. Apparently some Lacto used in Sake production are good up to nearly 20% ABV.

Personally I don't think producing a sour beer and then feeding it to get another 8-10% ABV is a great idea. Adding oxygen late in production will just turn the beer into a vinegar-bomb. Most Ale yeasts won't be happy at such a low pH too.

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Old 03-14-2014, 01:44 PM   #7
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The highest I've gone for a traditionally brewed sour was about 12%. Turned out to be a weird/interesting beer after a few years of aging, but never got very sour, just an English-"stale"-Bretty character. Certainly could be countered with different/additional strains. Apparently some Lacto used in Sake production are good up to nearly 20% ABV.

Personally I don't think producing a sour beer and then feeding it to get another 8-10% ABV is a great idea. Adding oxygen late in production will just turn the beer into a vinegar-bomb. Most Ale yeasts won't be happy at such a low pH too.
I read your blog post on big funky, is that the beer you're referencing? I was wondering how it ended up. Do you know of a way to get a hold of a lacto strain like that? Would ECY or Bootleg have something or would i have to try to culture it somehow?

I'm glad you pointed out the issues of vinegar and how the low ph could affect ale yeasts if i went with souring then bumping up abv because those didn't cross my mind.
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:47 PM   #8
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I'd imagine pitching lacto first before any primary strains and let that go to the right sour level. Then pitch your other strains?


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Old 03-14-2014, 08:13 PM   #9
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I read your blog post on big funky, is that the beer you're referencing? I was wondering how it ended up. Do you know of a way to get a hold of a lacto strain like that? Would ECY or Bootleg have something or would i have to try to culture it somehow?

I'm glad you pointed out the issues of vinegar and how the low ph could affect ale yeasts if i went with souring then bumping up abv because those didn't cross my mind.

Yep. Down to my last bottle, the last few have been pretty spectacular. Probably should do a final tasting/wrap-up.

You'd have to talk to Al or Jeff to see what their bug are tolerant to. The Cascade Lacto strain seems pretty tolerant as well.
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Old 03-15-2014, 11:39 AM   #10
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What about light colored, high starting gravity wort with a commercial mix like a lacto and a dupont saison strain, then finishing the beer with wine yeast? The saison yeast would end up being killed by the wine yeast if you use a strain like K1-V116. But it would survive well to 18%ABV if there are easy fermentables left. Just an idea.

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