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Old 08-25-2013, 02:08 AM   #1
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Default Brewed my first sour the other day

I brewed Northern Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table all-grain kit the other day. I'm super excited to be stepping into the world of sour beers.

Here's the recipe for those that aren't familiar with the kit:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/documentation/allgrain/AG-OudBruin.pdf

6.75 lbs. Belgian Pilsner malt
0.5 lbs. Flacked Maize
0.75 lbs. Belgian Caramunich
0.75 lbs. Briess Caramel 120
0.125 lbs. Weyerman Carafa III

1 oz. German Tradition - 60 min.

Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Ale Blend

The instructions called for a multi-step mash (122°F for 20 min., 145°F for 40 min., 162°F for 30 min., 170°F for 10 min.). It didn't specify whether it should be infusion, direct fired, or decoction. So, I took that as an invitation to do my first ever decoction mash. Woot!



Yep, that's a BIAB-on-the-stove-triple-decoction mash. I am limited in equipment, but not at all limited in ambition or imagination.

I use the BrewPal app and it did a great job of calculating the decoction volumes for me. I overshot the first rest and hit 130°F, but that's most likely because I input the wrong grain temp. I think the app was calculating the temp for the initial infusion based on the grain being at 70°F and it was probably closer to 75°F.

No worries. I rolled with the punches and guesstimated a lower volume for the first decoction and almost nailed the second rest temp. Except,... I thought I had overshot it. I hit 144°F when it was supposed to be 145°F, but for some reason I had a brain fart and thought it was supposed to be at 140°F. So, I added some cold water to drop the temp. Whoops. 10 minutes later, I realized my mistake and turned on the stove to gently bring the temp back up.

I had the second decoction pulled and heating up to 212°F when a friend stopped by. While talking with my friend, and managing my not-very-happy-7-1/2-month-old daughter, I got distracted and suffered a mild boil-over. Jumping back and forth between the hot stove and the daughter was a bit hectic for a few minutes, but I got everything settled and from that point on things smoothed out quite a bit.

The final decoction, to bring the mash up to the mash-out temp, went perfectly.



And after a short rest at 170°F, I pulled the bag and started my massively-labor-intensive sparge technique (that I know is probably not necessary or even very effective). I do it anyway, because it makes me feel like I'm really putting some sweat equity into the beer that will be returned in flavor later on down the road.

Anyway, after that was done, I got my boil going, added my single hop addition, and coasted through the rest of the process.



The wort did react pretty violently when I added the hops. It was almost an instant boil-over. But I had a hand on the burner controls before I dumped the hops in, so I was able to cut the flame quickly and avoided a 2nd boil-over for the day.

Chilled down to about 68°F, transferred to a 5 gallon carboy, and pitched the yeast.

My OG reading for the 4 gallons was 1.065. After asking the interg00gles for help I calculated that I'd have to top it up to 5.75 gallons in order to get it down to the 1.042 predicted OG. In other words, when I add water, I don't have to worry about diluting my Oud Bruin too much.

Although I'm pretty sure I don't need to worry much about dedicating a glass carboy to only sour beers, I also didn't want to bother with transferring this beer multiple times. So, since my boil only started at about 4 gallons, and ended just over 3 by the end of the boil, I only topped up the fermenter to about 4 gallons in order to leave plenty of headspace for fermentation (I am not a fan of using blow-off tubes). I figured that once the initial violent fermentation finishes, I can top up to the intended final volume of 5 gallons and as it matures/ages/continues to ferment over the next year or so, the extra water will have plenty of time to fully blend with the 4 gallons that started in the fermenter.

Anyway, it took about 24 hours before there was significant activity in the airlock, but it has been fermenting away ever since and there is still a ton of swirling going on inside of the carboy 72 hours after pitching yeast.

Look at that krausen:

Still pic of all the gunk swirling around:

Another good one of the krausen:


I know the reflection makes it hard to see, but here is some video of the swirling action inside the carboy as the Oud Bruin ferments at 72°F:
http://youtu.be/RERwf80SnHg
I will definitely post update pics as soon as I see anything resembling a pellicle or otherwise-gross-looking picture-worthy stuff, but it might be a while. So, I may not have anything significant to add any time soon, but I wanted to share my journey into sour-beer-land. Wish me luck.



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On deck - a few single hopped pale ales - Cascade, Calypso, and Legacy
Primary/Secondary - Norther Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table / nada
Bottled - Guajillo Ancho Amber Ale; NB's Phat Tyre; Back To School Porter, an Imperial Robust Porter with vanilla beans added
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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No pics or much of an update, but the krausen has fallen and I just added the rest of the water to top it off to about 5 gallons. It is sitting at 70°F, although it had gotten up to 72°F during the most vigorous part of the initial fermentation.

Now the real waiting begins. I assume that at this point, there probably won't be any significant visual activity or changes for quite a while. I'll keep peeking at it, though. Mostly to keep an eye on the temperature and how much it varies as we move into the fall when the AC might not be as consistent. Then the shift to running the furnace will probably be another round of adjusting. At that point, the temp will drop significantly - into the 60s, bottoming out around 58-60°F during the coldest part of the winter. I'm not sure if/how that might effect the brett, lacto, and pedio. Anybody no if that temp drop will slow things down?

I know it is a long process, regardless of any temp shift influece. Just curious, though.



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On deck - a few single hopped pale ales - Cascade, Calypso, and Legacy
Primary/Secondary - Norther Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table / nada
Bottled - Guajillo Ancho Amber Ale; NB's Phat Tyre; Back To School Porter, an Imperial Robust Porter with vanilla beans added
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:17 AM   #3
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i've read that vinnie ages most of his stuff at 62. so your 58-60 will likely slow things down a bit but the bugs will keep on chugging.

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Drinking: a chocolate oatmeal stout, a belgian imperial stout, a Vertical Epic 09.09.09 clone
Fermenting: a split-batch belgian blond/saison
Aging: an oud bruin, a BDSA/Dubbel thingy, a soured Saison, my "Wild Oats" brett/sour, and some other stuff i can't think of at the moment...
Up next: who knows. maybe providing links to recipes for the above beers.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:22 PM   #4
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Well, I've been checking in on this batch more often than is necessary, but a little over a month since the brew day there is finally picture worthy evidence of activity from the various bacteria.









It was hard to get a good picture of it, because of glare and whatnot. And this is probably nothing compared to what some of you have seen with your sours, but I'm pretty excited about it.

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On deck - a few single hopped pale ales - Cascade, Calypso, and Legacy
Primary/Secondary - Norther Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table / nada
Bottled - Guajillo Ancho Amber Ale; NB's Phat Tyre; Back To School Porter, an Imperial Robust Porter with vanilla beans added
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:17 AM   #5
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I brewed a brown ale with the same yeast right around the same time as you. It looks extremely similar. Only 17 more months to go.

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Old 10-18-2013, 02:43 AM   #6
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I had the camcorder out earlier, and thought it was a great time to check in on my Oud Bruin. Brew day was 08-21-2013, so today is almost 2 months in and there is definitely some action going on in that carboy.

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On deck - a few single hopped pale ales - Cascade, Calypso, and Legacy
Primary/Secondary - Norther Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table / nada
Bottled - Guajillo Ancho Amber Ale; NB's Phat Tyre; Back To School Porter, an Imperial Robust Porter with vanilla beans added
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:06 AM   #7
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Took a peak and found some new developments on the surface of this batch. Here are some pics:







It is hard to get a decent picture without getting a ton of glare from the flourescent light right above the carboy. And I don't feel like moving it to a spot with better lighting for pics. Anyway, it seems like it is progressing along quite well. It is currently sitting at about 66°F and will probably cool off a bit more as the outside weather shifts to winter temps.

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On deck - a few single hopped pale ales - Cascade, Calypso, and Legacy
Primary/Secondary - Norther Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table / nada
Bottled - Guajillo Ancho Amber Ale; NB's Phat Tyre; Back To School Porter, an Imperial Robust Porter with vanilla beans added
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signpost View Post
I figured that once the initial violent fermentation finishes, I can top up to the intended final volume of 5 gallons and as it matures/ages/continues to ferment over the next year or so, the extra water will have plenty of time to fully blend with the 4 gallons that started in the fermenter.
2 quick suggestions:

1) boil the water, then let it cool, before adding it to the brew. boiling knocks out the oxygen, which you don't want to add after primary; and it sterilizes it.

2) add the water as soon as possible - ideally as soon as primary starts ramping down. don't wait or slowly add it. get it in there ASAP.
__________________
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What hops should I grow? Hop grower's comparison table

Drinking: a chocolate oatmeal stout, a belgian imperial stout, a Vertical Epic 09.09.09 clone
Fermenting: a split-batch belgian blond/saison
Aging: an oud bruin, a BDSA/Dubbel thingy, a soured Saison, my "Wild Oats" brett/sour, and some other stuff i can't think of at the moment...
Up next: who knows. maybe providing links to recipes for the above beers.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:16 AM   #9
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I added the water pretty quickly. I wasn't too worried about oxygen, because it would just feed the bugs in the Roeselare blend. Regardless, it has been sitting for about 2 and a half months at this point and it looks like I was expecting it to look.

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On deck - a few single hopped pale ales - Cascade, Calypso, and Legacy
Primary/Secondary - Norther Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table / nada
Bottled - Guajillo Ancho Amber Ale; NB's Phat Tyre; Back To School Porter, an Imperial Robust Porter with vanilla beans added
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:45 PM   #10
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Alright, about 5 months since brew day and boy do we have some development on the bacteria front!

I took a look at it a few weeks ago and it didn't look much different from the last pics I posted. But here are a few pics in its current state.











I was purposely letting the liquid in the airlock evaporate slowly with the intention of allowing just a bit of Oxygen in to let the bacteria grow more freely. Mission accomplished. I've added more liquid to the airlock to cut off that supply, so maybe it'll slow down and just stay like it is for a while.

Not sure how that works or how it affects the final product. I know barrels allow oxygen through, and so do buckets. So, a bit of oxygen exposure can't be too unusual for this style.

I'm excited to be this far along. Almost a third of the way to the intended mature age. I've resisted tasting up to this point, so I'm going to hold off. I'd much prefer to have a full batch of mature and delicious end product, rather than steal it from my future self by tasting it along the way.



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On deck - a few single hopped pale ales - Cascade, Calypso, and Legacy
Primary/Secondary - Norther Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table / nada
Bottled - Guajillo Ancho Amber Ale; NB's Phat Tyre; Back To School Porter, an Imperial Robust Porter with vanilla beans added
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