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Old 09-24-2009, 02:44 AM   #1
jkarp
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Default Hair-brained sour plan

So, I've got 3 gallons of a Belgian Strong Dark, all bottled, that I'm not terribly happy with. I'm seriously considering purging a Better Bottle with CO2, pouring the bottles back in and pitching a pack of bugs.

Any of you lambic experts see a problem with this? Any suggestions?

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Old 09-24-2009, 03:48 PM   #2
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Is fermentation complete? If so then there wont be much if anything for the bugs to eat. Its best to pitch the bugs within a week or so at least if you ever want their character to come through.
If the beer is just bad tasting I dont know that they would help anyway. Your best bet may be to sit on it for a bit and hope it gets better

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Old 09-24-2009, 04:13 PM   #3
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Another thought, what is the ABV of this beer? From what I understand lots of sour bugs do not work well in ABVs of 8% or more, so there is something else to think about.

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Old 09-24-2009, 05:11 PM   #4
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Aren't bugs normally added post-primary fermentation anyway? The beer tastes OK (it scored mid-pack in the Colorado State Fair), but the Westmalle yeast came up about 4-5 points shy of the FG I really wanted. I just know I won't drink 3 gallons of this when I've made far, far better Belgian Strongs.

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Old 09-24-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
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Bugs will not improve bad beer.

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Old 10-27-2009, 01:19 AM   #6
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i'm no pro but here goes: while it won't make bar beer good, it sounds like there's quite a bit of residual sugar left since you're FG wasn't what you expected it to be. this means the brett will have something to munch on and you can definitely expect a much different taste in 6mos-year. in the book wild brews there's a chart that shows when the real souring happens (acetorbacteria v. lactobacillus & pedioccuss (sp?))so expect to have to wait a year minimum for any real "souring". i say pitch some funk, and perhaps toss some in some extra sugars for fuel for the buggies.

if you won't miss the beer give it a shot, what's the worst that can happen? just try not to aerate the beer too much when you pour all the bottles back into whatever vessel you're using, oxidation can cause to much acetobacteria & cause vinegar.

if the beer is too high alcohol you're SOL. as previously stated the bugs do not like high alcohol conditions...

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Old 10-27-2009, 03:00 PM   #7
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What was your mash temp? That might give you an indication of how much "stuff" may be left over in the beer, or if it likely fermented all the way out already. I tend to stay on the higher side of the mash temp spectrum with my sours to try to give the bugs a fighting chance at some sugars that the brewers yeast won't consume (at least quickly)...

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Old 10-27-2009, 03:01 PM   #8
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Another idea: have you thought of trying to blend the batch you have with something else? Blending ain't just for lambics!

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Old 10-27-2009, 03:25 PM   #9
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I took an extra gallon of each of my belgian dark strongs and stuck them in a gallon jug and pitched some bugs in them, they've got a pellicle growing on them. So you shouldn't have any problem, provided you don't have any problems pouring the bottles in.

If your FG was pretty low you could boil up some DME and maltodextrin and add it

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Old 10-27-2009, 03:40 PM   #10
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I did just what jessup said. I was brewing up another lambic anyway so I re-racked the bottles back into a free 3 gal Better Bottle, let it rest for two days to outgas, and then pitched half of my BIG Wyeast Lambic Blend starter in it when I pitched my new brew. The "hair-brained" bottle even went through a normal saccharomyces ferment with krausen and everything, surprisingly. At four weeks it had a fine pellicle and it's younger brother wasn't far behind. It'll be interesting to compare these two beers next fall...

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