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Old 02-29-2012, 06:22 AM   #1
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Default First sour...length of aging in secondary?

I'm on my first sour! It's a blackberry lambic.

I started with an extract wheat beer, then added 7lbs of frozen blackberries (that I picked!) as well as a culture starter (started 2 days prior) of the liquid Belgian Sour Mix (brett) and a liquid vial of lacto. After like a week or so of that the fermentation calmed down and I transferred it to a secondary where it remains in the corner of my kitchen, fluctuating between 60F and 70F.

How long should I keep it in this glass carboy secondary before bottling? Guys at the beer store were recommending 6mo bare minimum, and a full year if I could hold off.

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Old 03-01-2012, 04:09 AM   #2
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I definitely agree. You are purposefully infecting your beer, and it takes along time for the flavors to mellow out into something drinkable, especially if you didnt ferment with a normal yeast strain first. Thats alot of funk.

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Old 03-01-2012, 04:15 AM   #3
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General rule of thumb for a lambic is 1-3 years. I may have misunderstood your process, but did you add the blackberries with your sacch/microbes in primary prior to transferring to secondary?

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Old 03-01-2012, 02:52 PM   #4
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I'm not sure I understand the desire to do "secondary" with sours. Let it sit on the cake and dont disturb the pellicle. 1 year minimum, forget about it until then.

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Old 03-01-2012, 06:39 PM   #5
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I'm not sure I understand the desire to do "secondary" with sours. Let it sit on the cake and dont disturb the pellicle. 1 year minimum, forget about it until then.
Leaving it on the cake tends to produce more brett funk. Taking it off the cake should produce a beer that is less funky. Lambic is normally aged on the cake but other sours usually are not.

To the OP -- you should give that beer at least a year.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:08 PM   #6
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I'm not sure I understand the desire to do "secondary" with sours. Let it sit on the cake and dont disturb the pellicle. 1 year minimum, forget about it until then.
Unless it is as it seems and he fermented first with Sacc. and is now fermenting with brett and lacto. I would pull off of the sacc. as well to put on fruit and funky yeasts.

Don't understand the desire to leave on a sacc. cake for a year.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:14 PM   #7
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Unless it is as it seems and he fermented first with Sacc. and is now fermenting with brett and lacto. I would pull off of the sacc. as well to put on fruit and funky yeasts.

Don't understand the desire to leave on a sacc. cake for a year.
The way I understand it the brett eats the sacc, but for me the bigger issue is destroying the pellicle.
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Old 03-01-2012, 07:24 PM   #8
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The one year advice seems to be the rule of thumb, but I'd day bottle when it tastes good. I wouldn't take a sample till about the six month mark, but if the gravity's stable and the flavor is what you want then you're good to go.

I have a theory I've been working on that is to help get a fast sour I mash low and pitch very active bugs up front. So far in the two I've done they were decent at around 5 months and real good at 8. Both had jolly pumpkin dregs which are real aggressive, not sure if the wy/wl bugs or Belgian dregs would do the same.

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Old 03-01-2012, 07:39 PM   #9
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The one year advice seems to be the rule of thumb, but I'd day bottle when it tastes good. I wouldn't take a sample till about the six month mark, but if the gravity's stable and the flavor is what you want then you're good to go.

I have a theory I've been working on that is to help get a fast sour I mash low and pitch very active bugs up front. So far in the two I've done they were decent at around 5 months and real good at 8. Both had jolly pumpkin dregs which are real aggressive, not sure if the wy/wl bugs or Belgian dregs would do the same.
1 year is generally the minimum. It's similar to smoking meat for 16 hours rather than microwaving it, you "can" do it quicker, buy why?

There are a variety of ways to easily make a quick sour (sour mash, lactic acid, etc), but none of these methods is going to produce the complexity that makes sours/lambics so interesting. Patience, letting the microbes work slowly over time, is what makes these beers unique and delicious.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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I don't think what I've been trying is the brewing version of the microwaved steak. I just have a hunch that the reason some of these wilds take so long to develop is the high proportion of dextrins and low population of bugs. By mashing lower and pitching lots of bugs early I'm finding the complex flavors arrive earlier. I'm not trying to replace traditional lambic brewing, but develop an alternative that's better than sour mashing.

I think I'll move this to it's own thread to stop the hijack.

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