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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Macgyvering a Sour Crab Apple Ale. Need Advice
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Old 09-04-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
dougdecinces
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Default Macgyvering a Sour Crab Apple Ale. Need Advice

I usually harvest about 100 pounds of crab apples (wild apples about the size of a ping pong ball) from trees in my area. I'm wanting to try a sour beer that uses these crab apples. I think the tartness and strong apple flavor they have would complement a sour beer well.

I also want to try and do this on the cheap. I have a sack of Pilsner malt I have yet to dig into, 22 oz of flaked oats and a few pounds of various hops. I'm going to use dregs from a bottle of JP Luciernaga for souring purposes. I wanted to run my recipe by everyone and make sure that what I am making will be good. I have never made a sour beer with my own recipe. Just the Landers Fred recipe on here and a bunch of 1 gallon experiments.

The biggest thing is that I would like this to be ready by Spring 2013. Has anyone had experience with JP dregs? Would it be possible for a beer like this to have a 6-8 month turnaround? Also will dregs from one bottle be enough, or should I buy 1-2 more? Lastly is the crystal 20 necessary? I don't see a lot of crystal malt in other people's pale sours, but I want to give my microbial buddies something to chomp on.

Here is the recipe. It is for 4 gallons, I figure this and the crab apples in secondary will get me near the top of a 5 gallon carboy.

Pilsner - 6 lb (62%)
Flaked oats - 1 lb 6 oz (14%)
Wheat malt - 1.5 lb (18%)
Crystal 20 - 0.5 lb (5%)

Crab apples - 10 lb

Sterling hops (7% AAU) - 0.6 oz @ 90M

Est. OG - 1.056
Est. IBU - 18.3

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Old 09-04-2012, 06:54 AM   #2
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Cut the crystal. No need.

Recipe is fine except you might want to dial the hops back to 8-10 IBUs to make sure it doesn't inhibit anything in the dregs. I haven't personally used JP dregs yet but everything I read suggests they are aggressive and work quickly. Somebody posted that JP ferments their beers dry before they hit the barrels so they only take 3-4 months to sour. That's something to think about with your own process. I would mash low and ferment with a higher attenuating strain if time is important. You don't need the bacteria to produce a lot of sourness since the crab apples will add tartness on their own.

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Old 09-10-2012, 03:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ReverseApacheMaster View Post
Cut the crystal. No need.

Recipe is fine except you might want to dial the hops back to 8-10 IBUs to make sure it doesn't inhibit anything in the dregs. I haven't personally used JP dregs yet but everything I read suggests they are aggressive and work quickly. Somebody posted that JP ferments their beers dry before they hit the barrels so they only take 3-4 months to sour. That's something to think about with your own process. I would mash low and ferment with a higher attenuating strain if time is important. You don't need the bacteria to produce a lot of sourness since the crab apples will add tartness on their own.
Thank you for the advice. I'm going to brew this today. I got rid of the crystal 20 and upped the wheat to 1.75 lb. I dropped the IBU to 12. I also decided to soak some French Oak in some homemade crab apple wine and I will add that in there as well.

I'm going to pitch the dregs with a pack of rehydrated Nottingham yeast. I'm hoping for 4 months in primary then 3 months racked onto the crabapples, but I'm not going to rush things to get an inferior product. If it takes longer, I'm fine with that.
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