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Old 01-20-2011, 02:48 PM   #1
Jbrew33
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Default First Sour... Questions

Hey all. I'm going to give a sour a shot here. In need of some suggestions please.

My base beer will be a 1.060 Blonde Ale. I'm planning on using Wyeast's Lambic Blend or WL's Sour Blend. Probably some sour cherries and some wine soaked french oak cubes. I'm planning on this beer taking 1 year.

Ultimately, I'd like a fairly sour beer (think Russian River more so than Cantillon).

Do you suggest doing primary fermentation with a strain of Sacc then racking and adding the lambic/sour pack or just going all in with the lambic/sour blend from the get go?

Also, I was considering adding some Russian River or Jolly Pumpkin dregs to the beer. Not much, maybe a few bottles worth. Is it even worth adding that little? When would be the best time to add them?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 01-20-2011, 03:30 PM   #2
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I haven't brewed a wild beer yet, but I believe that the yeast in Russian River bottles is a completely separate strain. I think they filter out all the brett, etc, and then add a wine yeast at bottling for carbonation...I'm sure someone would correct me if I'm wrong.

As before, I haven't brewed a sour beer before, so take my advice with a grain of salt...it's all from what I've read rather than experience. That being said I think that if you want a more sour beer you are going to want to ferment entirely with Brett, Pedio, and Lacto. If you ferment it out with Sacc and then pitch in the bugs, there might not be enough sugar left for them to ferment. Unless you mashed quite high to leave the beer with a lot of residual dextrins, the beer won't develop the flavors you're looking for.

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Old 01-20-2011, 04:09 PM   #3
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You can go either way with the sacc yeast. I personally use a primary yeast befrore adding the bugs but that is me. Others do not, it is a matter of personal preference.

I target a gravity around 1.020-1.030 after the primary yeast strain does it's business (high mash temp 154-160 with a lower attenuating yeast). Keep the IBU's around 10-15 so that the bugs can work their magic. Adding some maltodextrine during the boil will give the bugs more to eat as well.

Rack to secondary with some of the trub and yeast for the bugs to feed off of. Pitch the culture with the dregs and your oak cubes. Dregs add complexity and seem to be more robust than commercial cultures.

Add the Cherries at around 9-12 months and leave them there for an additional 6 months or so. For best results I would plan on about 18 months before drinking this. Taste it every few months and when you like it, keg it.

I try to brew a sour beer about every 3-4 months so there are multiple styles available at different intervals. This way you dont have to wait long to have another ready to go. Have fun and happy brewing!

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Old 01-21-2011, 12:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the great feedback guys. It's very much appreciated. Wish me luck!

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Old 01-21-2011, 02:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyraxx View Post
I haven't brewed a wild beer yet, but I believe that the yeast in Russian River bottles is a completely separate strain. I think they filter out all the brett, etc, and then add a wine yeast at bottling for carbonation...I'm sure someone would correct me if I'm wrong.

As before, I haven't brewed a sour beer before, so take my advice with a grain of salt...it's all from what I've read rather than experience. That being said I think that if you want a more sour beer you are going to want to ferment entirely with Brett, Pedio, and Lacto. If you ferment it out with Sacc and then pitch in the bugs, there might not be enough sugar left for them to ferment. Unless you mashed quite high to leave the beer with a lot of residual dextrins, the beer won't develop the flavors you're looking for.
Russian River does add a bottling strain, but they do not filter as far as I am aware. The microbes would make a fine addition to the fermentation to augment the blend. I find the commercial microbes to be a bit timid on their own in terms of acid production.

I would always add a healthy culture of Sacch unless you were doing something like a 100% Brett beer (which would require an even bigger starter). Luckily you can use just about any strain, I tend to just use some of a yeast cake from another batch. With all that said though, I’ve always had the best results adding the other microbes to the primary fermentation along with the Sacch. Doing a clean primary fermentation I’ve never gotten more than a mildly tart beer, not nearly as sour as Russian River or Cantillon (even mashing high and using plenty of crystal malt).

Agreed on adding the fruit later after the microbes get established, that way they get the sugars not the primary strain.
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyraxx View Post
I haven't brewed a wild beer yet, but I believe that the yeast in Russian River bottles is a completely separate strain. I think they filter out all the brett, etc, and then add a wine yeast at bottling for carbonation...I'm sure someone would correct me if I'm wrong.
Oldsock's awesome page on harvesting bottle dregs lists Russian River as a good one:
Quote:
Unpasteurized Beers with Brett and Bacteria:
...

Russian River (Supplication, Temptation, Beatification, Consecration, Sanctification)
http://www.themadfermentationist.com...tle-dregs.html

EDIT: And of course he posts as I'm looking that up.
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