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Old 08-25-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default How to make very sour base beer for blending?

I have several sours aging in carboys, but I would like to experiment with blending. For this I would like to make a very sour base beer to increase acidity when needed.
All of my sours have been mashed at high temp with lots of dextrins but I have not come up with the bracing puckering sourness that I would like.
How would I brew a very sour base?
Can I just dissolve a bunch of maltodextrin with a little base malt extract, pitch pure pedio for several months, then add brett to clean it up?

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Old 08-26-2012, 04:36 PM   #2
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There's that option.

I would guess you would be happier with the sharper acidity of acetic acid rather than more lactic acid. The way to test that out is to try some of your sour beer with some plain white vinegar added to the glass. If that gets you to more of your desired profile then you can either add vinegar at bottling to reach your desired sourness or brew a small batch of beer and expose it to oxygen until it basically becomes malt vinegar and then add small amounts of that at bottling.

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Old 08-26-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
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Hmm, I think that makes sense.
I have been very cautious of exposing my sours to any oxygen to avoid acetobacter. I suppose my caution could be at my own detriment as these things are all a matter of balance.
Maybe I will take more samples from my next batches to allow some oxygen in.

With regard to Gueuze. Acetic flavor are typically considered a flaw, but some are stunningly sour without the Flanders vinegar quality. Is that sour from lactic or acetic acid?

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Old 08-26-2012, 06:49 PM   #4
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Mostly lactic acid. I suspect their entire brewing process from mash to fermenting lends itself towards the more acidic beer but a really important part of their process is the yeast and bacteria. They aren't pitching a White Labs or Wyeast blend. The wild bacteria they use probably has greater acid production and/or greater tolerance for alcohol production than what we get from the labs. The labs produce blends intended to be viable and produce a particular flavor profile. That means giving up some of the more aggressive strains to make sure when you pitch one of their blends you get repeatable results without having to spend decades developing a consistent and enjoyable flavor profile. So the use of dregs out of some of those very sour gueuzes would probably help, especially if you could rely upon them for souring without having to add a lab-created blend.

Another thing I didn't think about before is using staged pitching rather than adding blends. That's what Russian River does. They ferment the beer out, then add bacteria, then add brett then blend from there. So rather than buying a $7 blend you might want to buy the separate lacto, pedio and brett cultures and pitch them in stages in this manner, although that seems a lot more expensive than using dregs.

I mentioned the acetic acid because Americans tend to like their sours more acetic and a lot of American sour brewers look at increasing acetic acid production to get that very sharp acidic bite. I seem to think I heard Vinnie say that in an interview but it might have been somewhere else. However, that may not be the particular flavor profile you are looking for. I know I am not the biggest fan of acetic beers.

I also believe ryane has talked about keeping some very sour beer he uses for blending. He might have talked about it on his blog or in posts here. I think his blog is ryanbrews.blogspot.com.

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Old 08-27-2012, 01:27 AM   #5
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Pilsner malt + 160F mash. Keep it under 10IBU. Pitch a lacto stater with a 2 day head start, then pitch brewers yeast. You can of course use pedio and brett too.

Enjoy the blending!

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Old 08-27-2012, 03:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tasq View Post
Pilsner malt + 160F mash. Keep it under 10IBU. Pitch a lacto stater with a 2 day head start, then pitch brewers yeast. You can of course use pedio and brett too.

Recently I have used 60% Pils, 40% Flanked Wheat, mash ~160F and <10IBU. I have pitched either exclusively dregs or WLP655 (lacto, pedio, brett, sacc).
We'll see what these recent batches turn up.
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tasq View Post
Pilsner malt + 160F mash. Keep it under 10IBU. Pitch a lacto stater with a 2 day head start, then pitch brewers yeast. You can of course use pedio and brett too.

Enjoy the blending!
Would there be an issue with doing a pure bacteria "fermentation" and just using it in small doses for blending? Or would that be a bad idea? Just thinking outloud right now
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:43 AM   #8
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I cultured some lacto off some two row and its super sour. (nearly La Follie sourness)
I definitely recommend giving that a go.

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Old 01-17-2014, 04:31 AM   #9
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So, did any of you guys make this acid beer for blending yet? I'm wanting to do the same. If you did, please post your recipe and process.

Thanks!

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Old 01-17-2014, 07:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyIsTheRoger View Post
Would there be an issue with doing a pure bacteria "fermentation" and just using it in small doses for blending? Or would that be a bad idea? Just thinking outloud right now
Yes, if you use Pedio. Pedio will produce a noticeable amount of diacetyl and you need other bugs to clean up that diacetyl. Its common practice to pitch pedio with brett since brett will clean up the diacetyl. Lacto you'd be fine I think...berliner weisse is a beer soured through lacto without brett usually.

If you want to increase lactic acid production I'd either pitch just lacto in a beer under 10 or so IBUs and let it sour for a few days as previously mentioned. You can also try fermenting a bit hotter. Wild Brews mentions in a couple places that this will increase lactic acid.
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