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Old 02-17-2011, 02:07 AM   #1
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Default First Time for Sour Beer

Hi all,

I got on this forum to get a little help with my sour beer. I'm trying to make an Eric's Ale (New Belgium) like beer. I started out with a basic pale grain and crystal malt, with light extract, and a belgium ale yeast. I was told to do this first for primary and then upon secondary add the peaches and add a white labs belgium sour yeast mix. So my questions are two fold.

1. I want this beer to be quite sour. How long do you recommend that I leave the sour mix in for secondary? The guy at the brew shop said after 2-3days cool the secondary down to <30 to kill the lactobacillis bugs. I have no clue if this is the way to go for getting the sour taste out because I originally read to get the sour taste from a natural yeast that normally lives on grains. Thoughts?

2. How much do sour beers alter the taste of your equipment? Will it ruin a glass caryboy and siphoning apparatus?

Thanks!



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Old 02-17-2011, 05:05 AM   #2
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First off...sour beers will ruin anything plastic. Save the equipment and store it in another location seperate from all of your other stuff. Only use it for sours. Glass and stainless can be cleaned and re-used for other beers.

As for your sour...if you want a LOT of sour flavor, then I'd pitch the lambic blend right from the start. I normally ferment my sours with US-05 until they hit around 1.020, then I'll pitch my lacto and pedio. Two months later, I'll pitch the brett. I usually let my sours sit for 18-24 months and they turn out quite good. I would say medium-high sourness.

Cooling your beer won't kill the bacteria, it will only put them to sleep. As soon as you warm it back up, they'll go back to work. Either way...lacto is what you need to create sourness, so don't follow the LHBS advice. If you plan on getting into sours, I'd suggest reading "brew like a monk"...which has a lot of great advice on sour beers.



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Old 02-17-2011, 11:45 AM   #3
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Thanks sountherncomfort. I am going for this med-high level of sourness as well. Do you leave the beer in the secondary (with lacto, brett, and pedio) for those 18-24 mo or do you bottle and let them sit in bottles for that amount of time. If so how long do you secondary before bottling? I'm sure going to have a hard time waiting that long to dig into it.

Also the belgium sour mix has brett, lacto, and pedio in it. Do you think theres any need to add additional cultures to this?

Lastly, any other good hints on sours that could be useful?

Cheers,

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Old 02-17-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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I leave my sours in secondary for 1-2 years before bottling unless it's a lambic. Then I leave it in primary the entire time. You don't want to bottle too soon or the beer just won't taste right. It needs time. Even after I bottle, I usually let mine sit for 6-12 months before I even open one. The longer you wait, the better they get.

If you're adding a blend, then there's no need for any other cultures. I just prefer to buy them seperately so I can add them at different times.

Get another 1-2 sours going about 6 months after you do this one. If your first sour doesn't turn out (most likely) then you can always blend it with other batches until you get your ideal flavor.

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Old 02-17-2011, 03:25 PM   #5
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More bad advice from a homebrew shop...

I've had great results pitching all the microbes at the start, but different methods work for different people. Waiting until after primary just never results in much sourness for me. I'm a big fan of bottle dregs for sour beers, sadly all those New Belgium beers are flash pasteurized now (if you can get an old La Folie corked and caged they have great agressive microbes).

I've made a couple great peach sours, using fresh, high quality, ripe fruit is really important. Peaches are on the subtle side, 1 lb per gallon is about the minimum (I had good luck with 2 lbs). Wait until the beer is already pretty well established (6 months+) before adding the fruit so you are feeding the Brett and bacteria not the primary yeast.

Good luck.

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Old 02-17-2011, 04:29 PM   #6
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I was thinking of transfering to secondary and adding the sour mix after about a week of primary and then letting it sit in secondary. Would this work? If I do this should I still add the peaches ~6mo after I put it in secondary?

Also, I've been reading about maltodextrin. Sounds like it is decent for a sour beer as an unfermentable sugar. Any thoughts on adding MD when I transfer to secondary?

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Old 02-17-2011, 05:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
If you plan on getting into sours, I'd suggest reading "brew like a monk"...which has a lot of great advice on sour beers.
"Brew Like a Monk" is the same series, but the book you are looking for is "Wild Brews" I assume this was just a minor oversight.
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvlpdillon View Post
"Brew Like a Monk" is the same series, but the book you are looking for is "Wild Brews" I assume this was just a minor oversight.
Good catch.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suthrncomfrt1884 View Post
First off...sour beers will ruin anything plastic. Save the equipment and store it in another location seperate from all of your other stuff. Only use it for sours. Glass and stainless can be cleaned and re-used for other beers.
I know that Oldsock and others have happily reused Better Bottles between sour and clean batches (cleaning and sanitizing carefully in between). Soft plastic is more likely to scratch or harbor bugs, and tends to be cheap enough that it's worth keeping 2 sets around.

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2009/11/brewing-sour-beer-at-home.html
The sanitation section of that rundown starts off with:
Quote:
Sanitation: These days I keep a second set of post-boil plastic (tubing, auto-siphon, bottling wand, bottling bucket, and thief) for my sour beers. There is no need to have a separate mash tun, boil kettle, wort chiller, or anything else that touches the wort when it is still hot. I do use the same pool of Better Bottles for fermentation and glass bottles for storage for all of my beers.
The whole section's worth reading (really, the whole page is).
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumnerH View Post
I know that Oldsock and others have happily reused Better Bottles between sour and clean batches (cleaning and sanitizing carefully in between). Soft plastic is more likely to scratch or harbor bugs, and tends to be cheap enough that it's worth keeping 2 sets around.

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2009/11/brewing-sour-beer-at-home.html
The sanitation section of that rundown starts off with:


The whole section's worth reading (really, the whole page is).
I'm sure you could get away with using better bottles, but I wouldn't want to risk it. I use glass for secondary, and yes...that can be cleaned and re-used. Same for the pre-bug stuff. I also keep an extra set of tubing, siphon, spoon, etc...for sours.


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