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Old 01-15-2011, 07:43 AM   #1
womencantsail
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Default Sour Mash Saison?

I have been wanting to do a dark, bretted saison for awhile now and plan on finally getting around to it within the next week.

I was thinking a little lacto/sourness might work nicely and make for sort of a "quick sour beer" to go along with some of the other sour beers I have currently ready to drink and aging. My idea was to use a sour mash and then add that to the regular mash, but obviously the boil will kill any lactobacillus that is in the beer.

While I have done sour mashes before for some berliner weiss beers I've brewed, I've always done the no boil method and let lacto go for a couple days before pitching yeast. My main question is, will just doing a sour mash really give me that much tartness in the beer or is it sort of a waste of time?

In case it makes any difference, I plan on using Saison I (WL) and Brett B for my yeasts.

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Old 01-15-2011, 08:10 AM   #2
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I've done a little reading on sours recently and the process you describe is consistent with the practices of several sources I've read. How long do you plan on letting the sour mash rest before blending in the brew kettle?

The length of time and specific strains you use will have a big impact on flavor. Are you going to pitch a Lacto B. culture into the sour mash or just Brett? They have very different flavor profiles since they create different acids and work at different rates. If I'm not mistaken Brett generates Acetic Acid (and a little alc, but that will boil off) and Lacto churns out Lactic Acid.

Either way if you let it cook for a couple days with an active culture you should get something funky. Just keep it pretty warm (90?) and wait till it gets a bit dark and mucky on the top.

Check this site for some good practical reading on sours,

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/

Let us know how it turns out. I've been looking to use this process for an upcoming slightly sour Wit.

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:29 PM   #3
ryane
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given enough time it will get sour, you should try a method that chrisk brought up that I really liked, he sour mashes in purged cornies to get rid of o2 and that hot garbage smell along with it

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Old 01-16-2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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I've had pretty good luck getting sourness from sour mashing. The warmer you can keep it the faster the sourness will develop. I do my sour mashes in a 4 gallon stock pot. I mash as normal (or cheat with some DME). Next I cool the wort down to around 120F and throw a handful of raw crushed grains on top. Then I put some plastic wrap wort directly on top of the wort and push out all bubbles. This limits oxygen contact to prevent bad bugs from taking hold. I then will put the covered stock pot in my oven with just the oven light on. I've found that with the oven closed and the light on, the oven will maintain a fairly constant temp in the 90s. I'll leave it for 1-3 days before pulling it out. There's often junk on the top of the wort but I've never had any bad or off smells. I pour the sour mash through a paint strainer and add it to my main wort to boil.

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:19 PM   #5
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Upright in Portland uses a sour mash for their Four. Their method is to simply soak 10% of the grist in warm water overnight (about 18 hours) and just add that to the main mash when they dough in. You could let it sit for much longer to achieve a more aggressive sourness, but their method adds a light tartness that really gives the beer more dimention.

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Old 01-17-2011, 04:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the tips, guys. The sour mashing in a keg sounds like a really good idea, actually, but unfortunately, I didn't have any open ones to use.

I've let the sour mash go for about 2 days now and since I have the day off, I'm going to be brewing today.

Funny that you mention Upright Four as I just opened a bottle of that last weekend and though it was really great.

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