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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > My flanders red isn't sour.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:50 PM   #1
austinb
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Default My flanders red isn't sour.

Hi. I brewed a flanders red ale last July. I followed jamil's directions of fermenting with a clean ale yeast first which I now have come to find out some people don't agree with. Anyway after fermenting with the ale yeast I pitched a vial of white labs Belgian sour (but the vial exploded on me and I lost about half of it). After not seeing much activity (no pellicle) I pitched the dregs of a couple bottles of monks cafe. Within a few weeks of that a pellicle formed. Unfortunately I had to move shortly after that and during the move the pellicle dropped. I just tried it last night and now after almost 9 months there is no sourness at all but its got some brett funk. I took a sample and the gravity is 1.004 so I'm guessing the Brett has fermented it out before the bugs could do anything. Is there anything I can do at this point?

Should I try adding maltodextrin and re-pitching a smack pack of Roselare from the local brew shop? I also have a stir plate, would it benefit me at all to make a starter out of the roselare before pitching? Hopefully this isn't 9 months of waiting down the drain.

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Old 03-26-2013, 04:46 PM   #2
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Add some maltodextrin and wait another 6 months. Nine months is a little early.

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Old 03-26-2013, 06:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Pogopunx82 View Post
Add some maltodextrin and wait another 6 months. Nine months is a little early.
Agreed, although as austinb suggested, the clean primary fermentation has never worked for me (unless I’m barrel aging). Hopefully giving the Pediococcus more to eat will help things along. I don’t see a reason to pitch more microbes, although Jolly Pumpkin dregs are great for kicking a sour into gear quickly. Fruit is your other option. My similarly lackluster first attempt at a Flemish Red was greatly improved by the addition of a couple pounds of blackberries.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:53 PM   #4
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Ok maybe I just need to pitch some maltodexdrin and hope the Brett doesn't eat it all before the pedio can.

One more idea to throw out there. What about very carefully transferring to another sanitized and co2 purged carboy (to avoid oxygenating) since the yeast including the Brett have hopefully settled to the bottom. Then purging with co2 again just to minimize the amount of oxygen introduced in this process. Then I will re-pitch more bugs and maltodexdrin. My idea behind this is that since it already has some Brett character I will get it off the yeast cake at the bottom taking mostly beer and souring bugs with it giving them a chance to work on the beer before the Brett can eat up all the additional maltodexdrin.

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Old 03-26-2013, 08:56 PM   #5
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If only you could leave Brett behind that easily! I'm sure some of the Brett has dropped out, but cells are almost certainly still at work working on the remaining compounds in the beer. They'll eat glycosides from hops, glycerin from yeast, sugars released by autolysis, sugars from toasted oak etc. Even "clear" beer can have 100,000 cells per mL.

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Old 03-26-2013, 09:38 PM   #6
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Ditto on blackberries, especially wild ones, as a great cheat on sour beers. Any beer + 2lbs/gallon blackberries = sour! I make a lot of jams and preserves and bought about 20 gallons last year for the freezer and have several blackberry beers going now.

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Old 03-26-2013, 10:38 PM   #7
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Well I guess I'll just add the maltodexdrin and hope for the best! I was thinking of adding sour cherries at some point but maybe blackberries would be a nice addition. There is definitely no shortage of blackberries here in Oregon, the Himalayan blackberry is an extremely invasive weed!

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