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Old 04-24-2013, 03:52 PM   #1
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Default Extremely Fast Sour?

Okay, I had a happy accident with one of my last batches. I was making a Game of Thrones inspired gruit, based on a 13-14th century recipe I found online. Prior to boil, this was by far my most unsanitized batch, including using fresh snowfall for water and filtering through tree branches. My goal was to be authentic both in process and recipe. You can read my detailed brew notes here.

Now instead of cooling with a wort chiller, I placed my kettle in the snow, and left it open overnight. I was hoping to pick up a few wild yeasties. The next morning, I got a little worried, so I reboiled it for 10 minutes, then cooled it in the snow (with the cover on), put it in the fermenter and pitched my yeast. At any rate, yesterday was the day this finally came up to drink, and it was way sour. It is delicious, don't get me wrong, but it has the sourness of a full-blown sour. Which is pretty funny because I was telling my co-brewer just hours before trying it that we need to make our first sour.

I always thought that the lacto takes a while (as in months) to make a sour, so do you think the less than 24 hours it was left to the elements would have been enough time to sour it, or do you think I must have picked up an infection in the fermenter?

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Old 04-24-2013, 04:30 PM   #2
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How long did you ferment? I've never read about anyone picking up sourness that quickly without growing lacto in a hot environment. Maybe the snow somehow already had a ton of lacto on it. This sounds bizarre and awesome.

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Old 04-24-2013, 04:35 PM   #3
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Subbed for GoT reference.

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Old 04-24-2013, 04:36 PM   #4
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Okay, cool, so I'm not crazy. I fermented for 1 month before bottling, give or take a couple days. Then three weeks in bottles. Like I said, it's been a happy accident. Not at all what I had planned, but it tastes great. The thing is the snow would have been double-boiled, but only for ~10 minutes each time. The other strange thing is I made an ordinary ale with the second runnings, and that isn't sour at all. Or at least I don't remember it being sour. Definitely not the full on sour that the strong ale is. I'll have to drink another one of those tonight to see if there are any hints of sour to it.

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Old 04-24-2013, 04:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Snisup View Post
Subbed for GoT reference.
If you want to follow my current recipe/procedure, just look at my brew notes in my previous post. I also made a backstory for the beer, that I have in the notes. I'm definitely going to try this again next winter, as this really didn't turn out the way I thought it would (either the ordinary or the strong). Things I would change for next time would be to let the batch cool for longer before adding grains, steep some pine boughs, only boil the oak cubes once and/or use more, roast more grains at a higher temp, and maybe second guess my leaving the kettle open overnight. I make a lot of (what I think to be) good beer, and I like to do these fun experiments sometimes with a buffer of good beers before and after.
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Old 04-24-2013, 04:46 PM   #6
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I actually had a similar thing happen with a gruit that I made, but I never even left it outside uncovered (although you boiled again after that). I had actually made two gruits before that came out clean and not sour at all.

This last one, however, I found a ton of yarrow in a field and I "dry-herbed" with the yarrow and some sage from my garden. I also used over a pound of very raw, unfiltered honey and didn't heat it at all. Contrary to what everybody seems to think (but like your experience) after 3 weeks in the carboy and another three in bottles, it was -very- sour. Almost a year later it's really getting nice

So I'm wondering as well what kind of bugs can sour stuff this fast.

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Old 04-24-2013, 04:52 PM   #7
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Based on just our two experiences, I would guess maybe hops slow down lacto? I dunno. I have no real experience with purposefully getting lacto. Another strange thing, when I made my chicha, I also left it out uncovered, (same location, different season/weather though) but only for a few hours while cooling. That didn't get sour at all from it. Or at least I don't think it did. I remember it being very sweet.

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reverendj1 View Post
Based on just our two experiences, I would guess maybe hops slow down lacto? I dunno. I have no real experience with purposefully getting lacto. Another strange thing, when I made my chicha, I also left it out uncovered, (same location, different season/weather though) but only for a few hours while cooling. That didn't get sour at all from it. Or at least I don't think it did. I remember it being very sweet.
There are no hops in a sour wort Berliner. That's not to say the hops will slow lacto - just that the timing of lacto getting wort sour seems fairly well worked over.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:26 PM   #9
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There are no hops in a sour wort Berliner. That's not to say the hops will slow lacto - just that the timing of lacto getting wort sour seems fairly well worked over.
Well there goes that hypothesis. Like I said, I haven't really studied much on sours, except drinking them. I must just have some sort of super lacto strain in my area.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:36 PM   #10
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There are no hops in a sour wort Berliner. That's not to say the hops will slow lacto - just that the timing of lacto getting wort sour seems fairly well worked over.
Hops do slow lacto from what I understand that's one of the reasons for the low IBUs in Berliners
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