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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Adjuncts, starches, and sour beer.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:42 AM   #1
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Default Adjuncts, starches, and sour beer.

Dave Marliave was on the Sunday Session recently talking about adjuncts in sour beer. One interesting thing he mentioned was the ways in which they try to get starch into their wort. A traditional turbid mash will do this, but he also mentioned getting starches by adding adjuncts, in particular by steeping flaked oats after the mash so that their starches do not convert.

I was rereading Wild Brews recently, and I noticed that Jeff Sparrow mentions something along the same lines with respect to the use of corn in Flanders Reds and Browns. This is from pp.122-3 (my bold):

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Maize (a.k.a. corn) can comfortably make up around 10% of the grist of a wild beer and can go as high as 20%, although that amount can cause the lauter to seize up. Generally used for both economical and flavour considerations, maize will add starch, considered beneficial to lactic acid bacteria over the course of fermentation. According to Peter Bouckaert, beer brewed with a starch adjunct such as corn is lighter and more digestible.

Two types of maize exist: corn grits and refined corn grits. The former is cheaper, dry milled, and requires cooking times of up to forthy-five minutes, while the latter is wet milled, nearly pure starch (very desirable to bacteria), and requires only about fifteen minutes. As a substitute, flaked maize comes already gelatinized and can be ordered from your brewing supplier, although it will not add as much starch as raw grain with an adjunct mash.
The idea behind all of this is that the starches take a long time to break down, which gives the souring bacteria more food over the course of the fermentation. Dave Marliave also mentioned that, since these starches will initially breakdown into sugars, and this itself might take a long time, the overall effect can be one of slight sweetness and body in a beer that is already a year or more old---a flavour profile he seemed to like. (This seems to go a little against what Peter Bouckaert says int he quote from Wild Brews.)

Presumably these sugars will eventually be fermented as well, and you'd have to keep that in mind if you were bottling a year old beer. But the overall effect seems to be a more complex and developing flavour profile over the course of the beer's lifetime. Dave Marliave says that this is something you won't get from maltodextrin (or, I presume, from mashing high) because even though the saccharomyces won't be able to break down these sugars they will be broken down and fermented over the course of a year by the brett and bacteria, long before you would think about bottling. (You would still get added sourness though).

Anyway I'm curious if anyone has tried anything along these lines, beyond a typical turbid mash, and what effect its had. I'm brewing a beer this evening, to be fermented with what's left of a vial of bug county, and I think I'll steep some flaked oats in the wort just after mash out to see how it effects the final product.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:11 AM   #2
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Subscribed. Eager to read about the results.

I wonder if adding wheat starch to a basic mash would have a similar effect?

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Old 12-18-2013, 02:52 AM   #3
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On my last sour brew I scooped out 1 gallon with grains from the mashtun 5 minutes after mashing in and brought it to a boil. I kept this separate till it was time to mash out. I added the 1 gallon back to the mashtun and drained it before batch sparging. It's not a true turbid mash but it should supply some unconverted starches. I also added maltodextrin in the boil. I don't know what the results will be like but it seems like a good idea in theory.

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Old 12-18-2013, 05:21 AM   #4
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That is a very good idea indeed.
Think I may use this on my next sour brew.

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Old 12-18-2013, 05:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
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On my last sour brew I scooped out 1 gallon with grains from the mashtun 5 minutes after mashing in and brought it to a boil. I kept this separate till it was time to mash out. I added the 1 gallon back to the mashtun and drained it before batch sparging. It's not a true turbid mash but it should supply some unconverted starches. I also added maltodextrin in the boil. I don't know what the results will be like but it seems like a good idea in theory.

I did something like this when I brewed a lambic-style wort a month ago. I couldn't do a proper turbid mash, so I took a couple of litres of milky liquid from the mash at the start, and boiled it along with a small adjunct mash of unmalted wheat, then added it back to the main wort at mashout.

Also, few months ago before I read any of this stuff about adjuncts, I was thinking about turbid mashes etc. and decided to try something with a pale sour I was brewing. I usually do 3 gallon BIAB batches, crushed with a corona mill, and that leaves me with a fairly cloudy wort. Whirlfloc usually takes care of that, but I decided to leave it out to see if this changed the fermentation at all. This is different from the process I used to day, because I was not adding any starches after the mash. It's only a few months old at this point, so it's hard to tell if this is making any difference.

Today I steeped about 200g of flaked oats after mash-out---so at about 180-190F---while the wort was on it's way to boiling. I also skipped the whirlfloc again. The result, as expected, was a very cloudy wort.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:09 AM   #6
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I've also heard on one of the radio shows that wheat flour can be used in place of adjucts to the tune of about a tablespoon in 5 gallons added directly to the boil. This would give the starches that brett and bacteria can feed on to assist in the souring process.

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Old 12-21-2013, 04:09 AM   #7
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I've also heard on one of the radio shows that wheat flour can be used in place of adjucts to the tune of about a tablespoon in 5 gallons added directly to the boil.
interesting. i've only ever heard of adding flour to hefes and witbiers, to ensure cloudiness.
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Old 12-21-2013, 04:55 AM   #8
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They were referring to beers like pseudolambics and saisons that don't get flaked wheat in the mash. Their yeasts don't flocc out and the bacteria chew those starches.

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Old 01-06-2014, 03:11 PM   #9
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I'm brewing 10 Gal of a blonde sour tomorrow. Any idea on what percent maize and/or steeping oats might be beneficial? I'll be fermenting with ECY20 and bottle dregs...

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Old 01-06-2014, 09:59 PM   #10
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If one were to steep the oats separately, at what temperature would be a good temp? Perhaps 168F for 20 minutes or so?

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