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-   -   sour beer startup sanity check (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f127/sour-beer-startup-sanity-check-296211/)

nebben 01-19-2012 03:42 PM

sour beer startup sanity check
I've got Brett C, WLP655 (Belgian Sour Mix 1), and numerous Belgian yeast varieties. I have a starter of Wyeast 3724 (Belgian Saison) in the works that is almost done.

Some things I want to try, even on the first attempt if possible, are a Grand Cru, Flanders Red, Oud Bruin, and something to make use of sour cherries. The cherry part could be any beers listed above or something else, but most importantly something kind of epic and/or sour.

I have been thinking about building one base beer using the Wyeast 3724 starter in my 6.5G carboy, and fermenting it between 80F and 85F. When the beer was approaching 2/3 to 3/4 completion in primary, to rack the beer over to a couple of 3G carboys. In these carboys, one would be inoculated with the Belgian Sour Mix 1, and the other brett C. These 3G carboys would be plugged with oak bungs/pegs, and left to sit in a room temperature environment for months and months undisturbed.

The intention with these is to repeat these beers again in the future, 8 months to a year and a half down the road. Instead of pitching yeast into the virgin wort, I would instead rack the fresh wort directly into each 3G carboy (after racking the aged sour beers into other carboys or kegs) onto the old bacteria trub cakes with newly introduced fresh Saccharomyces , in hopes that this will create a 2nd more sour/tart beer. After these settle down and pellicle's fall, in theory I would have 2x 3gallon carboys of first generation sour beers and 2x 3gallon carboys of second generation more sour beers, and could blend them as needed.

Am I wrong in thinking that I can ultimately end up with a few different kinds of beer using one base beer, one yeast strain and two different packages of bacteria, done twice over a year or two? If not, I wont be worried, as a lot of this is just seeing and tasting what the differences will be between these two bacteria mixes with a lot of time thrown in to age.

Thoughts? Maybe we would make a 11G batch to begin with and split it 4 ways to further use the cherries and different yeast strains? How would you split 4 experiments so we could have four things happening over the next two years?

H-ost 01-19-2012 04:47 PM

I love this!

I really want to try some sours and these small batches with a single base beer, reusing the bacteria, and making different varieties sounds awesome!

You say 3g carboys, I've never seen these are they glass or some random jugs?

Good luck on this.

nebben 01-19-2012 06:39 PM

Glass carboys- they look just like the 5G or 6G types, just smaller. http://www.northeastwinemaking.com/V...ys/SideBar.jpg

Any tips from an experienced sour brewer out there?

ryane 01-19-2012 08:42 PM

Your idea in theory could work, though if it were me I would go a slightly different route

I would brew 5gal batches, staggering them say 2-3 mos and reuse the cakes, then in say 1-1.5yr you could blend from each of the different batches to produce several different beers (different ratios) AND you could save some of the unblended beers in the 3gal carboys

This is essentially what I do, the 3gal carboys are also great for blending a batch and then adding fruit, this way I can have lots of variation using a smaller number of beers overall

Right now I have several 3gal caboys filled with 3-4yr old lambic thats used only in small quantites to add depth to other beers

milldoggy 01-19-2012 08:58 PM

I racked on old yeast cakes. I found that the second batch sours quickier and is better than the first. The third rack did not sour quickly, but I used it to infect the wort. The forth did not sour at all, but it is aging. Not much of a pedicle I have read somewhere that you can only reuse bugs so much. If you want to come over and test all 4 batchs, you are welcome too :) I have been thinking about getting some 3 gallon carboys for fruiting my sours. I do 10 gallon batchs, and age in 5 gallon carboys. I would like to split a 5 gallon batch into 2.5 unfruited and 2.5 fruited. They sell 3 gallon pet and 3 gallon glass. Since you are going for a wild brew, I would go with glass.

sheepdawgg 09-30-2012 04:40 PM

be careful with the glass fermenter and oak peg. never attempted it but i hear you can shatter the glass due to the wood expanding

milldoggy 10-02-2012 04:59 PM


Originally Posted by sheepdawgg
be careful with the glass fermenter and oak peg. never attempted it but i hear you can shatter the glass due to the wood expanding

It was a small dowel in a rubber stopper, no issues, beer came out amazing. It is on tap for anyone in the kop pa area.

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