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Old 04-18-2011, 03:15 AM   #1
jtejedor
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Default Please help with first sour beer

Hell all I am trying my first sour beer and need some help. It was my first so my strategy was to follow Jamil's Flanders method where I would let normal beer yeast ferment a portion then let the sour bugs get the rest. My recipe was very simple just pilsner malt and a pound of cara pils. Starting gravity was around 1.072. I mashed pretty low like 149 for somethings like 100 minutes, figuring the bugs could chew through it more easily. The beer yeast I used was Wyeast PC Flanders Golden Ale. I pitched one half quart jar of slurry from a strong dark I just did that finished at 13%. I did not make a starter at all I wanted the yeast to pretty much fail to leave some sugar for the bugs to munch on. It took the yeast like 2 days to take off and after 3 days the beer was at 1.040. So I cold crashed the beer for like 3 days at around 45 degrees hoping to get as much of the yeast to flocculate as I could and racked that to a bucket. To the bucket I then pitched dregs from a jolly pumpkin bam beer and also from a bam noir, and a roselare yeast pack. I peeked at the beer a couple of times to make sure the beer yeast did not kick off and it really did not appear so. The bugs have only been in there for 3 days but out of curiosity I took a gravity reading and it showed around 1.007. I feel stupid because I forgot to take a gravity reading when I transferred the beer to the bucket. Could any of the bugs possibly have started fermenting the beer already after 3 days? Or did too many beer yeast cells make it over the finish the beer out? The beer appears to have a slimy top coat forming on it not really like a krausen so I am hoping it was maybe one of the bugs that is strarting to ferment the beer but from my understanding they take a really long time to do anything so I was not expecting the beer to be so low already. At that gravity is there anything for the bugs to work on at all? I put the pound of carapils in just in case something like this happened as I understand that bugs can eat the dextrines. I was going to maybe add a pound of dissolved corn sugar should I wait until a pelicle has formed to do this or is that not recommended at all? I know this was a long post sorry and thanks for any advice. I am attatching a pic of the beer as it looks right now as I mentioned it seems to have a slimy kind of top coat thing forming and already smells a little funky.

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Old 04-18-2011, 09:56 AM   #2
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You had great attenuation for ~ 3 days of active fermentation! If my calculations are correct, you're sitting at 8.5% alcohol right now, before adding any more sugars. This much alcohol will likely inhibit any lacto activity. I'm not sure, but pedio might be viable in this much alcohol.

I'm afraid your initial pitch has chewed up almost everything. In my experience, and from what I've read, the bugs will do a better job of souring if they are present in the initial pitch. They also work on unfermentable sugars that the saccharomyces doesn't ferment. Thus you could have mashed higher to leave more complex chains for the bugs and Brett in the dregs and Roselare strain to work on.

I think you're on the right track with the JP dregs. They are pretty viable, from what I gather. Now they need something to eat. I would advise adding maltodextrine. And time. I didn't detect much sourness until 6+ months in my first sour. If you add corn sugar, the sacch. will keep feasting, and it sounds like they're a monster right now.

I think you want to avoid oxygen at this point, or acetobacter might get a foothold. This may give too much vinegary sourness. You didn't mention your hopping, but if your IBU's exceed 10-15, they can inhibit souring bugs as well.

You will probably hear you should leave this alone for a year. I would advise letting it sit at least 5 months and checking again for funk and sourness, or longer if you see a pellicle.

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Old 04-18-2011, 04:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Yes I was afraid the regular yeast did finish it out. I should have maybe used an english yeast or something, this flanders ale is a real monster of a yeast. My IBUs were around 12 according to beersmith but probably even lower since they were old plugs and I used a hop bag. I know I probably should have mashed higher just had a brain fart and was trying to get something akin to a sour saison. I thought the carapils was equivalent to maltodextrine is that not correct?

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Old 04-18-2011, 05:16 PM   #4
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Yeah you can use maltodextrine to replace carapils. Your IBU's are probably low enough to not impact the lacto. I would put it in a glass carboy and let the bugs do what they are going to do, you still have some points which means some food for them to slowly work on.

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Old 05-11-2011, 06:22 PM   #5
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Ok as advised I racked it from a bucket into a glass carboy. I also added a pound of maltodextrine that I had boiled and cooled in like 2 cups of water. Will this be enough food for the bugs? The thing that really sucks is my stupid auto siphon sucked in a lot of air towards the end of racking so hopefully this doesn't turn into pure vinegar, my vessel also has a lot of headspace since my volume ended up being a lot lower then expected. So anyhow its been a month and I don't see much going on, I thought by now I would have a pellicle. I see a few pockets of small white bubble patches forming on the surface but I am not sure if this is a pellicle forming or just co2 coming out of solution. Can a beer sour without ever forming a pellicle?

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Old 05-11-2011, 07:00 PM   #6
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Yes, it can sour without a pellicle, and yes 1 pound of maltodexrine will be more than enough food. One month isn't nearly enough time. It'll probably take 3-6 months before any changes are detectable.
If you're worried about the sourness level, rather than tinker with this batch any more than you already have, it might be a better use of your time to get a second batch going that could potentially be used for blending. I would consider changing your methods up a bit to ensure that the second batch does indeed get more tart than the first... maybe pitch lacto a day or two before the regular yeast or even use a sour mash.

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Old 05-11-2011, 07:03 PM   #7
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Sorry about the hijack but when you are waiting the 3-6 months, is that on the yeast cake or racked to secondary?

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Old 05-11-2011, 07:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clann View Post
Sorry about the hijack but when you are waiting the 3-6 months, is that on the yeast cake or racked to secondary?
Ideally on the yeast cake.
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:27 PM   #9
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good, Im still on the cake. By the way its NB's Oud bruin de table w/ roeselare ale blend

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