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Bobby_M 09-14-2009 03:50 PM

Bottling Blended Sours
The WHALES club has had pretty good success with oak barrel sour projects. The Flanders Red was excellent and from all indications, the Kriek is coming along wonderfully. One of my personal observations is that it's way to easy to kill a keg of this stuff and then it's gone forever. In order to keep some around for long term aging, some of it is going to be bottled.

Ok, assuming you get the bugs to attenuate down to something like 1.000 which is fine for beers like Flanders Red and Lambics of any variety, one would assume a normal priming sugar addition and a pinch of fresh yeast would be OK. I wouldn't have to account for any extended attenuation or anything right? Ok, maybe I'd back off to 3oz of sugar for the whole batch.

Where I'm getting confused is the next project is going to be an Oud Bruin which by style should be more malty/sweet focused and less sour. In a barrel aging schedule, it would really be hard to stop the bugs at the right level. Jamil suggests moving it to a keg during the souring phase and when it's right, chill it down to stop the bugs. OK, that works for kegging. If one puts it into a bottle, even a Belgian or Champagne bottle, it would probably explode if the bottle sits warm (right?). Let's suppose that the Bruin is allowed to attenuate to whatever in the barrel for a year. It would be out-of-style sour by then and the only practical solution would be a blend with some fresh beer. Great, but I still can't figure out how you'd bottle this safely.

Sulfite? Pasteurize? help!

Oldsock 09-14-2009 06:20 PM

You would either have to kill the microbes (chemical would be easiest) or bottle the beers separately and then just make a blend in the glass at serving time. I have stabilized funky beers by, chilling it down, hitting it with gelatin to knock most of the bugs out of solution, racking it to a clean fermenter with 1 campden tablet per gallon of beer. After a few days you can add fresh yeast and sugar and bottle.

The other issue to consider with barrel aged beers is that they will not have the residual CO2 from fermentation that priming calculators assume. Give it a taste and see if it tastes flat like uncarbonated beer or still like wine. If it is completely flat you will need to up your priming rate to compensate.

Hope that gives you some help. A group here in DC will be bottling/kegging a Flanders Red in a month or so that we have high hopes for. Should be a long day made longer by the fact that we are racking a Belgian Single into the barrel once it is empty.

Bobby_M 09-14-2009 07:01 PM

I appreciate the input.

jessup 04-20-2010 12:28 AM

did you ever blend & bottle the oud bruin, bobby? did you take mr. oldsock's advice?? i'm being forced into blending since my sours are getting VERY sour and i really enjoy bottling these beasts for long term aging. gelatin, campden and cold crash sound like the 1-2-3 punch that might help this happen.

Bobby_M 04-20-2010 12:44 AM

The Bruin is still in the barrel and sitting at about 1.012 right now. If you kill everything the bottle won't carbonate.

jessup 04-20-2010 11:31 AM


Originally Posted by Bobby_M (Post 2014611)
If you kill everything the bottle won't carbonate.

this is true, but you would add more yeast and priming sugar at that time. and add extra priming sugar as oldsock pointed out since you'll be lacking residual CO2 in the beer after long term aging. i'm definitely curious how it works for you so please keep us informed.

Bobby_M 04-20-2010 12:46 PM

I agree you can get regular yeast back in but you are still limited with backsweetening because you can't tell the yeast when to stop fermenting.

ryane 04-20-2010 04:14 PM

If you fine, campden and then add k-sorbate, you can backsweeten although you will need to bottle off a keg though

Bobby_M 04-21-2010 06:34 PM

Yeah, to be perfectly clear, you can kill fermenting organisms and backsweeten but you can't do that AND carbonate in the bottle. If you carbonate in the keg and counterpressure bottle it, you better hope you really did kill everything.

ryane 04-21-2010 07:25 PM

thats why its a good idea to fine, chill and add the k-sorbate, as it will stop any bugs from starting up fermentation again

Ive bottled several beers that I blended like this without problems. Ive even bottled a blended beer where all I did was campden the sour portion and allowed the yeast in the clean portion to carb the bottles

You have to be careful about doing this, but I dont think it is as hard or as risky as its made to seem

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