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Old 09-11-2012, 01:38 AM   #11
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Thanks for posting sheepdawgg, it gave me the courage to pull out my old crockpot and try a sour mash last night and experiment. I have a 0.5 gal growler bubbling away today. I found that putting a 4 sheets of aluminum foil around the top to cover the water in the crockpot kept the temperatures up on the warm setting. I hit 122 fully covered after 45 minutes so I pulled a sheet to drop it back down. About 3/4 covered gives me 118F.

I've got a Berliner that fermented on WLP630 back in May and have been disappointed that it has zero sour flavor right now (yes I know it needs time). When I had a Brettanomyces Lambicus Special Edition by Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof and puckered on the first sip, I was sold on super sour beers. Would love to be able to produce one at home. I was thinking of mixing the mash +7 days with the current Berliner to sour it up. Anyone tried adding a sour mash after the fact?

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Old 09-13-2012, 02:41 AM   #12
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You are welcome! The foil method is a good idea. I'll do that next time. Might help with evaporation too. What I ended up doing is boiling half of the sour and adding it to my all Brett lambicus pumpkin brown then adding the rest of the starter raw a few days later. I hope an all brett sour pumpkin brown ends up being a good idea wish me luck!

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Old 11-11-2012, 08:09 PM   #13
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I just tried this the other day and it seems to be working pretty well. The WARM setting is keeping it around 110-115 F and it definitely looks like there's something going on. There's some sort of pellicle or something floating on top and while it smells kinda funky it's not a bad smell at all.

I'm wondering what to do next though. My plan was to do a Berliner Weisse but it seems like everything I read is using a different method.

Can I do a shorter boil, pitch the lacto starter and let that go a couple days and then pitch some ale yeast? Or should I pitch the starter in the mash and let that get to the level of sourness I want and then do a full boil? I know people have done both and had success but I'm still not sure what I want to do. I do have 2 jars going in the crock pot so I guess I could try both methods.

Also, do I need to keep these in the crock pot until they're ready to pitch or can I store them safely in some way? I may not get around to brewing until next weekend. I checked one of the jars just now and the ph is around 4.0

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Old 11-12-2012, 12:33 AM   #14
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It will be safe to keep until next weekend but it will continue to get sour until it reaches the lowest ph the lactobacillus can survive in.

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:23 PM   #15
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I prefer not to boil the lacto so the beer can evolve in time which is a dynamic that I really enjoy. It's also good when the sourness is not exactly where you wanted it at first because it will get there with time.

Be careful not to let go the sour mash too long with the crock pot. Some people let it go for 6-7 days but often their temperature is not as ideal as what we get with the crock pot. In my case, after 6-7 days, the sourness is a bit too harsh for my taste (especially in such a light beer). Next time I won't let it go as long especially since I can let it age in bottle to get some extra sourness if I ended up short.

About keeping the sour mash, I guess that if you cool it down in the fridge it will slow the growth tremendously. Might be a good thing to filter out the raw grain (if that's the method you used) after a day or two in the fridge. I don't have any justification for that but I don't feel it's a good idea to let the sour mash sit on the grain for too long. Maybe fridge temp is a bit too cold... basement temp might be better... thinking out loud here...

Keep us posted

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Old 11-12-2012, 01:49 PM   #16
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When you say "sour mash" you're talking about what I have now right? The two jars of wort in the crockpot with a handful of grain in each? Does this method make doing an actual sour mash unnecessary? So I would just mash as normal and get it down around 100 F and then pitch one of the jars? I've read so many different methods I think they're starting to blend together.

Is it safe to taste at this point? I have no idea how sour they are and I don't have enough experience to just go by the ph.

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Old 11-13-2012, 03:40 PM   #17
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Yes the sour mash is what you have right now. The jar with the wort and grain. The procedure to follow then can vary.

Personally, I have followed this recipe : http://www.ratebeer.com/Recipe.asp?RecipeID=110

As it says, you just need to brew a regular beer with a neutral yeast and after this neutral fermentation is done, you add your sour mash and let it go for a few weeks.

This recipe calls for a no-boil of the regular mash which should add some funky complexity but if you feel unsafe with this, you could boil it a little while. your lacto starter should add enough acidity afterward to make something sour enough.

That being said, this process still need a lot of tuning because I'm not yet fully satisfied with the result so take what I say with a pinch of salt and read what others are saying and make your own mind.

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Old 11-14-2012, 01:32 PM   #18
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That's interesting. Some of the recipes I've seen are similar but they say to pitch the lacto starter first and let it go for 24-48 hours and then pitch yeast. Still not sure what I'm gonna do...

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Old 11-19-2012, 04:36 PM   #19
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So I ended up straining these 2 starters and keeping them in the fridge until yesterday. Brewed a low gravity wort with 2-row/white wheat, cooled to around 90-100 F and pitched both jars last night around 9:45pm. There wasn't really any activity when I left this morning (12 hours later). Hoping that will change soon.

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Old 11-20-2012, 01:07 PM   #20
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Did you pitch a regular yeast as well or did you intended on fermenting this with lacto only ?

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