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Old 09-01-2010, 02:52 AM   #1
sherm1016
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Default Blending of Sours

I'm looking to start brewing some sour beers, and I was thinking of doing a Flanders Red based on Jamil's recipe (but skipping the CA Ale yeast).

It seems that blending it a key component, but it is not quite clear to me how long to age and the ratios you should blend. My thought was to blend one beer aged two years (brewed now) and another aged one year (brewed a year from now) at a ratio of 1 to 1.

Does this seem reasonable? Does anyone have thoughts on what would be a better approach?

Given the long term nature of these beers, I would like to have a plan in mind before I start.

Thanks!

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Old 09-01-2010, 04:08 AM   #2
ryane
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blending isnt really straight forward like that, its needs to be done to taste

you have to taste each batch and decide what qualities of each you want in the final product, its not something that comes easy and takes quite a bit of time to get right and to be able to do quickly, but like everything in brewing practice makes you better

also, for a flanders red, youll want a very sour beer with some acetic edge that you can blend with a malty brown beer to get the sweet/sour twang that something like rodenbach has

more sours always is a good thing, if you brew a beer at the same time but split it it can have different characteristics, and there are even things that you can do to enhance this variation such as feeding, and/or maltodextrin additions to various portions

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Old 09-01-2010, 12:55 PM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback. I think at this point, I am going to move forward with brewing a red ale, and go from there. I was already thinking about splitting the sour red and varying the aging process between the two.

I like your red recipe I saw in another thread

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6.5 Vienna
1.0 Aromatic
1.0 Carahell
1.0 Caravienna
1.0 Wheat
0.5 Special B
I guess we'll see where it goes from here.

Thanks again
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:04 PM   #4
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When blending, how does one bottle? Blend to taste, then mix in correct proportions in a secondary, then wait for gravity to stabilize again?

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Old 09-02-2010, 09:04 PM   #5
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If the gravity of both beers is relatively low, I wouldn't think it would move too much after blending. I was even thinking you could just do your final blend in the bottling bucket.

Then again, I have *zero* experience brewing or blend sours.

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Old 09-02-2010, 09:25 PM   #6
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depends on what your goal is

I like to blend in young beer or very malty beer to balance the vinous acidity of some of my older batches, to prevent bottle bombs when I do this I ......

1 - Determine proportions of sour to malty beer
2 - rack needed amount of sour beer to another fermentor
3 - fine and cold crash sour beer for a couple days (usually turns into a week + cuz Im lazy)
4 - rack one more time and add campden
5 - next day blend with clean malty beer, add correct priming sugar and bottle

going this route Ive got beers that ive bottled 1yr+ ago that are stable - the campden should take out any bugs that are present in the sour and the cold crashing and fining help in this process

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Old 09-02-2010, 09:36 PM   #7
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Is the goal of the finings, cold crashing, and campden to eliminate all of the bugs? I assume this goal is twofold: no bottle bombs and the beer won't continue to sour in the bottle.

Also, will the yeast from the malty beer be enough to carb the bottles, or would you add fresh yeast?

Thanks

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Old 09-02-2010, 10:11 PM   #8
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What if I'm blending something like a geuze, where I wouldn't want dead critters? My understanding is that lambic blenders use the young lambic to carbonate the blend.
I've got a few funky batches going, and I'd like to bottle live beers if possible, but I'm wary about an unforeseen drop of three gravity points turning my closet into an munitions cache.

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Old 09-02-2010, 11:34 PM   #9
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to sherm - yes that is the goal, and you could add fresh yeast it wouldnt hurt, i tend not to but I wait a long time before drinking anyway

Maskednegator - true thats how traditional gueuze is made, but I never know how low any given batch will finish so Ive been a bit leary of relying on the unknown amount of fermentables in the younger beer to give me the desired level of carbonation i want

generally when i want a gueuze I will blend various batches let it sit another month or two (sometimes renewed fermentation is evident) and then I will bottle with priming sugar albeit to a bit lower level than i would otherwise

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Old 09-18-2010, 12:34 AM   #10
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Blending to achieve certain flavor/aroma/mouthfeel is challenging enough! However, it seems to me that blending various aged beers to get the correct level of final carbonation without adding priming sugar is what makes gueuze blending really difficult.

I recently opened a bottle of Cantillon three year old unblended lambic. It was an amazing beer, but almost complete flat. (Maybe a bit petillent right when it was poured.) It didn't occur to any of us drinking that night that this would be the case until we poured it, but it makes sense in retrospect since lambic/gueuze normally gets its carbonation from younger beer in the blend. (I'll also add that this beer was perfect without carbonation.)

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