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El_Exorcisto 04-03-2012 03:46 PM

Sour Saison
 
So my next beer is going to be something a little weird. I want to do a sour saison, but am wondering what souring method I want to use. I want it to be a "quick" sour, so the usual methods of funk are out. So my options are doing a sour mash, or adding some unmashed grain to the fermenter before pitching the yeast.

I've never done a sour mash, but the consistent theme I am reading is that it is inconsistent at best. There is also the proverbial "hot vomit" aroma that my wife may object to during the boil. What sour mashing does give me is a sour that I can halt though. I can hop however I want with this method since the lactic fermentation never sees them.

I've done the second method on a berliner weisse and was happy with the flavor, although gushers were a big problem. It could have just been impatience and my first dealings with bugs though. I threw a little unmashed grain into the fermenter and let that run for three days before pitching my yeast. It resulted in a perfect level of sour. This method also really limits hopping, and any real hop character is derived from dry hopping only.

I am going to use 3711, so I wonder how much I really need to worry about residual sugars being eaten up by any remaining bugs. Which method would you guys use? Pure bacterial cultures are out... They just feel dirty.

Nateo 04-03-2012 04:41 PM

Mash as usual, sour the wort, boil the wort when it's sour enough, then add a bunch of yeast. That's how I usually do sours now.

ReverseApacheMaster 04-03-2012 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nateo (Post 3958541)
Mash as usual, sour the wort, boil the wort when it's sour enough, then add a bunch of yeast. That's how I usually do sours now.

That is also how I do sour mashes/wort/whatever you want to call it. If you can control the temperature on it you should be able to get semi-repeatable results by using the same temperature each time.

Nateo 04-03-2012 07:10 PM

This technique is what I think of when I hear "sour mash"
http://www.byo.com/stories/techniques/article/indices/9-all-grain-brewing/1723-sour-mashing-techniques

You sour some of the mash, then add to the main mash, and hope it doesn't jack up your mash pH. By mashing as usual, then only souring the wort, you can get the proper mash pH and also control the batch sourness better.

Homebrewtastic 04-03-2012 08:49 PM

I've done sour mashing with mixed results... Some great some terrible. Best option for a quick but consistent turn around is to do a strait lacto fermentation for a day or so then pitch yeast and keg at the end of fermentation.

jtakacs 04-03-2012 09:13 PM

for quick sours, i perfer sour mashing a portion of the grist, sparging, and adding that late in the boil - it gives you full control of sour level with no increase in brew to bottle time...

timely thread - a bright, light and sour saison is my next brew... i want it for summer so i'm doing a sour mash on it with 1 lb of soured grist... it'll be 100% brett-c fermented...

smokinghole 04-03-2012 09:59 PM

I just brewed two "quick" sours. One was intended as a saison with 25% soured malt and 15ibus. The other was a split batch wit that had a White Labs lacto ferment at 100F in the unhopped portion for 3 days at which point I cooled it down and pitched my WLP410 yeast. I then blended that with the hopped and non lacto'd portion. The gravities at blending was 1.007 (hopped) and 1.024 (soured and unhopped). The blending started a new fermentation and today I took a gravity reading of 1.002ish (my precise hydrometer broke). So now I basically have a low hopped orange/chamomile spiced saison. The good thing is the orange and chamomile are pretty retrained. I don't taste the sour much yet because there's a lot of diacetyl left from the lactobacillus. The only thing is the lacto ferment smelled pretty horrible. It could have been from the no boil method I used on that part of the wort. The assy smell and flavors have mostly gone away at this point.

Nateo 04-03-2012 10:27 PM

I've only ever used wild Lacto from base malt, and never had a nasty-smelling ferment. It's weird that the wild stuff is "cleaner" than the Lab stuff.

smokinghole 04-03-2012 11:38 PM

Well I didn't boil the wort and I didn't hop it at all. So that could be the reason the lacto only ferment smelled so bad. There's a good chance some assy smelling bacteria made it out of the kettle.

Homebrewtastic 04-03-2012 11:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nateo
I've only ever used wild Lacto from base malt, and never had a nasty-smelling ferment. It's weird that the wild stuff is "cleaner" than the Lab stuff.

I've had opposite results. I find the stuff off the malt to be more of a mixed bag, since there's stuff besides lacto growing on it. The other stuff on there is what can cause the putrid smells. Whereas my strait lacto pitch gives me a cleaner end result.


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