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Old 04-14-2012, 12:36 AM   #1
Mogget
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Default Sour Mash Plan Critique. Please.

First Time Poster here. Be Gentle.

Here's my plan, I have a version of Northern Brewer's Petite Saison that I really like. Nice, flavorful summer beer on the back porch kinda brew. I'd like to try a partial sour mash with it. Here's my plan.

I'm going to take 15% of the grain and put it on the stove (water to grain ratio of about 1.25). Get it up to 147 and let it sit there for 40 minutes. Then cool it down to around 120. From there, I will transfer it to a plastic gallon jug and throw in some raw grain. Then squeeze out all the head space and seal the jug. Then stick the jug into my 5 gallon beverage cooler surround the jug with hot tap water (approx. 120 degrees). Then just keep switching that water out 2 to 3 times a day for 3 or 4 days.

On brew day, I plan to mash the remaining grain as normal. Then before mashout add the sour mash (assuming its not completely foul). Then mashout and sparge as normal.

Boil, give my new immersion chiller a whirl, ferment with a really healthy re-pitch of 3711. and then wait.

whatchu think?

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Old 04-14-2012, 01:41 AM   #2
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When I did sour mashes I just mashed the whole grain bill for 24 hours. It was usually a balanced sour, but it did vary. Even if it smells and looks nasty when you open the cooler, the wort always tasted great for me. I don't have any experience with partial sour mashes but I'm sure someone will chime in. Figured I'd throw my 2 cents in anyway. Your way may or may not be easier to achieve consistent sourness batch to batch. Like I said, the way I did varied quite a bit, but have not tried a partial.

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Old 04-14-2012, 04:34 AM   #3
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Thanks! Looking forward to this process.

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Old 04-14-2012, 07:15 PM   #4
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Your process is fine. You might want to keep a closer eye on the temperatures the first day to know if you need to adjust your process the next day or two. You probably won't lose temperature quite as fast in the cooler but if it gets too cool the wrong bacteria will start to flourish. You can let the temperature drop to 85F but at that point you need to bring the temperature back up.

If you can, try to get the process done early in the day so you can monitor the temps through the day and evening and then bring up the temperature right before you go to bed so it doesn't sit too long at cool temperatures overnight.

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Old 04-15-2012, 04:50 AM   #5
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I did some tests with just water in the cooler and It was at 85 degrees after 12 hours. I don't anticipate having to leave it that long for the actual brew so I think it should go well. Appreciate your input!

Just had a wonderful evening drinking the non-soured version of this beer and it is GOOD! Looking forward to making more of this, and souring it as well.

Man, I do love this hobby.

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Old 04-23-2012, 02:40 AM   #6
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Got the mash cooked and in the cooler. Temps were at 105 degrees after 10 hours. Swapped out the water just now. I think this is gonna work just fine.

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Old 04-23-2012, 03:19 PM   #7
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Hey there, I'm just getting into sours. Can you explain the purpose of a sour mash? Is it to produce the lactic acid as opposed to adding it?

Also, if you're not using wild yeast (such ad brett or wyeast's lambic blend), is it safe to assume that you don't need separate lines, etc or are they still technically "infected".

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Old 04-23-2012, 03:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heckels View Post
Hey there, I'm just getting into sours. Can you explain the purpose of a sour mash? Is it to produce the lactic acid as opposed to adding it?
Yes. This is desirable because the lactobacilli produce other flavors as well as just the acidity.

Quote:
Also, if you're not using wild yeast (such ad brett or wyeast's lambic blend), is it safe to assume that you don't need separate lines, etc or are they still technically "infected".
No line stays infected after you sanitize it properly, but not everyone is perfect about such (I'm not) and equipment that has held souring bacteria can be prone to infection even under conditions that would normally not be a problem. Of course, since sour mashing (unlike sour secondaries and such) involves boiling everything that the bacteria were in except the mash tun, that'll kill them. (I do my sour mashes BIAB, in a dedicated bucket just for sours. That way, if that bucket doesn't get cleaned perfectly, everything else is still lacto-free.)
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:13 PM   #9
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i use the same temps you have although i go 1.5 q / lb and 3-4 days is a lot imo.

the only thing i do different is i drain my sour mash, sparge it, set aside and add it in with about 15 minutes left in the boil.

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Old 04-23-2012, 08:04 PM   #10
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This is pretty much the exact same thing I did (with the cooler / hot water to keep temps constant.) I posted about it a few days ago: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f127/my-...-smell-320972/

I thought it worked great. The smell was exactly what I was looking for in a sour mash, and the beer turned out great. One of my better batches so far, actually. Here's the tasting write-up I did on my blog: http://www.bear-flavored.com/2012/04...er-weisse.html.

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