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Old 08-06-2012, 03:36 PM   #1
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Default Sour Solara High Gravity Project

I recently tried a vintage Vin de Cereale from Rodenbach and was blown away. It really got me thinking about brewing a beer similar, and a few days ago some friends and I happened into a used chardonnay barrel from a local winery (I believe it's 55 gallons).

What I am thinking is doing a solara type beer in the image of Vin de Cereale - sour and funky. It's going to take all of us a few batches to fill this sucker up, but after that it will be easy to maintain. I'm thinking of inoculating the barrel with several packs of Wyeast 3763, and probably some dregs from Jolly Pumpkin beers and some other favorite sours whenever I drink them. The barrel will be located in a garage at my buddy's farm.

The beer I'm shooting for will be probably around 10%, OG: 1.086ish and hopefully it will finish out around 1.010-1.008...15-20 IBU. I'm thinking roughly 10-15% unfermentables to give the wild yeasts something to chew on.

I have a couple concerns about souring and high gravity...

1. Should I primary and ferment this beer with a sacc strain first? I do this when I make my Flanders reds but they are never more than 7% abv, so I don't have to worry about the bugs crapping out due to high alcohol conditions like they may in this beer. I'm just afraid that by the time this beer finishes fermenting in the primary the abv will already be too high to really enable these bugs to do their work.

2. I want this beer to be SOUR, not just tart. Would you suggest I sour mash it to give the lacto character a head start?

3. Will this beer attenuate down below 1.010? I really want this to be more wine like in the sense that it will be bone dry - especially for something with such a high abv. I'm just afraid the hyper attenuation I normally see in my Flanders beers will not apply to a beer this big.

Any other thoughts/comments are very welcome!



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Old 08-06-2012, 09:22 PM   #2
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My thought would to start off the primary with lacto and sacc. Use a low attenuating strain like 1338. After primary fermentation ends, add pedio plus dregs. After a couple months, add brett. Ultimately you may need to blend your beer with malt vinegar or white vinegar (or let a batch of beer go acetic) to get the level of sourness you desire.

With the wyeast and white labs blends you can get beers that are sour but I'm not sure how great they do on high ABV beers. They are also tuned towards a specific profile and usually that profile mixes in a lot of brett character. Maybe more than you would prefer.



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Old 08-06-2012, 11:02 PM   #3
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1. I think if you want it sour you would want to start it with bacteria from the get go. I did a 1.070 oud bruin and its sour not just tart. I used ECY20 though so compared to an Wyeast or Whitelabs culture I don't know what they're capable of since I've only ever used ECY for sours thus far.

2. Sour mashing wouldn't be a bad idea especially if you don't add lacto/pedio from the get go. In fact if you want to avoid the sour mash all together why don't you buy a separate culture of pedio from wyeast to add directly to the wort a few days before even pitching a culture containing yeast. That will give the bacteria the ability to metabolize the "easy" to eat sugars (glucose and fructose) then the added mixed yeast culture will provide the necessary enzymes to ferment and possibly provide more sourness with the remaining sugars. Remember Brett and Pedio work in concert with each other, and not just for reduction of diacetyl produced by the pedio. The pedio more specifically will use the carbohydrate splitting enzymes produced by the brett to make more acid.

3. My oud bruin mentioned has a gravity under 1.010 already and I haven't taken a gravity reading in many months.

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Old 08-07-2012, 04:45 PM   #4
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Well that is a bit of a comfort that your 1.070 got quite sour and dry. My OG will not by too much higher...And we will probably only be taking 5-10 gallons out once a year so sitting in the barrel for 12+ months will probably sour/funk it up eventually (hopefully). On Wyeast's site it says their Roeselare blend has an 11% abv tolerance.

B/c it is a barrel I think the oxygen diffusion will be enough to create a layered acetic flavor, I prefer to have this to a minimum in my Flander's ales just b/c I don't like the flavor, but a little bit is good to add some complexity. So far I'm thinking pitching 001 and a lacto strain for primary - mashing at about 150 with 15% unfermentables to give the bugs plenty to chew on over the course of a year. Just curious, what temp did you mash your oud bruin at?

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Old 08-08-2012, 04:37 AM   #5
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I was speaking with the brewer at Commons up here in Portland on Saturday and they sour mash their flemish red, he said that they can get their desired sour level in 24 hours with that method and then they use a ph meter to determine where to stop it... allows for much more consistency.

http://www.commonsbrewery.com/beers/

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Old 08-08-2012, 10:56 AM   #6
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I decided to check on my beer yesterday after reading this thread. I was reminded it was 1.082 not 1.070 I way over shot the gravity and decided to let it ride at the higher than normal gravity. The acidity is slightly less than that of a 5% rodenbach but it's at a nice level, not puckering, and quite balanced. If you're looking for an increased acidity a sour mash sounds like a good idea.

I mashed at 122, then pulled a decoction and to bring it up to 152, then I pulled another to bring it to 160 and at that point I ran off to my kettle with no mash out step just denatured in the kettle.

The gravity is currently sitting at 1.003.

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Old 08-09-2012, 08:33 PM   #7
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Dang smoking that's pretty darn close to what I'm going for OG/FG wise.
Well after looking around the forums I found this: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/cuvee-de-tomme-clone-group-project-142449/
...and it gave me some ideas for souring techniques - namely using Oenococcus perhaps in the barrel if the sourness doesn't get quite to where I want it, or trying to isolate some alcohol tolerant souring agents found in CdT and some other high gravity sour beers.

I also shot Al B some messages asking him about bugs and what not... He mentions that lacto strains will dissipate in population over time in the barrel, but pedio is fairly alcohol tolerant and will be just fine - apparently it produces a slime like substance that helps protect it in straining environments.

Right now I'm thinking of a sacc/lacto primary (aim for that fermentation ending in the 1.020-1.030's) and then putting it into a barrel that's inoculated with various brett strains and some pedio. If after a year or so the sourness isn't quite where I want it I would consider adding Oenococcus in with the newest batch, or try sour mashing 24 hours before the brew day. The good thing about this project is that it's a long term thing and it's tweakable.

And I just realized I've been calling it a Toyota car - It's Solera...

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Old 12-28-2012, 12:48 AM   #8
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Skib-
Literature would support that most pedio is less effective above 8% alcohol. Consider making a 1.070 OG beer for the first 55 gallons. It will finish about 1.010 (with a lot of crystal/caramel malt) and slowly get down to low single digits. This gives the beer a longer time to sour with the pedio. Then add your stronger 1.090 ish beer as you pull the old beer out. May allow you to build your pedio culture up AND have enough sour bugs alive when the beer approaches 11% alcohol.

Note: my experience with truly sour beers is only with ECY (Flemish red and bugfarm). ECY blends will make a <8% beer really sour in just 4-6 months... however, it will be closer to one year for the beer to become more finished (ie lambic-like or flemish red). I am finalizing my plan to repitch onto an older yeast cake with a lot of pedio for a >8% beer... I plan to try using 1.070 to start and then add dark candy sugar to boost the gravity after about 6 months (when pedio has done its part).

Bill



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