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Old 10-14-2010, 06:26 PM   #1
JLem
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Default sour without (too much) funk

I started a thread over in the Fermentation and Yeast forum - http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/wlp...an-mix-200523/ - but someone suggested my question might get more play here.

Basically, I am looking to brew my first sour beer - something along the lines of a Flanders Red or Brown. I would like to have something that is nicely sour, but without much (or any even) of the horsey, barnyard flavors that sometimes go with these sort of brews.

What controls these flavors? Is it the particular souring culture? Is it a timing thing? Is it a process thing?

I was thinking of first fermenting with a clean ale yeast (as advocated by Jamil) and then pitching either the Wyeast Roeselare Blend or the White Labs Sour Belgian Mix (WLP655). Would this technique give me a "clean sour"?

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Old 10-14-2010, 07:43 PM   #2
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i'm no expert, but i think the horsey, barnyardish flavors are generally contributed from brettanomyces, which you can easily exclude from your beers. a few things to think about are:

1) doing a sour mash (highly variable with lactic sourness, but you can make one without a huge punch). and you don't have to worry about adding a bacterial culture to your fermenter. search for 'sour mash' and you should find some good info.

2) consider using acid malt for a good portion of your grist. i started a thread called 'ithaca brewing - sour beers' or something along those lines, which has some good info from multiple posters about this technique.

i think you will get faster results and maybe a 'cleaner' sourness not affected by acetobacter or other bugs in those blends (and possibly brett). once you try those, you can decide if you wanna get real sour or funky.

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Old 10-14-2010, 07:55 PM   #3
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Sour mashes can get funky, so it is something have avoided (sour beers are variable enough). Acid malt is certainly an option but I've never gotten a really sour beer from using it (maybe I didn’t use enough ~1 lb in 5 gallons, but I’d be worried about getting conversion and a good primary fermentation if you added enough acid malt to lower the pH below 4.0).

I'd suggest going the Berliner Weisse route, pitching just lacto and a clean ale yeast and skipping Brett as the previous poster suggested. Lacto is very sensitive to hops (they are a preservative) so keep the IBUs to less than 5. I’d make a starter with the lacto first (keep it at 100+ F if you can and don't aerate, chill the wort to ~90-100 and pitch the lacto letting it cool the rest of the way naturally, the next day pitch the ale yeast to finish up the job.) Don't mash too hot since you won't have Brett to lower the FG for you as in a standard sout beer. I've got a Gose fermenting now that I did this method on.

As an added benefit it will be ready to drink in a couple months, rather than the year plus that a full multi-microbe souring fermentation takes.

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Old 10-14-2010, 07:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by android View Post
i'm no expert, but i think the horsey, barnyardish flavors are generally contributed from brettanomyces, which you can easily exclude from your beers. a few things to think about are:

1) doing a sour mash (highly variable with lactic sourness, but you can make one without a huge punch). and you don't have to worry about adding a bacterial culture to your fermenter. search for 'sour mash' and you should find some good info.

2) consider using acid malt for a good portion of your grist. i started a thread called 'ithaca brewing - sour beers' or something along those lines, which has some good info from multiple posters about this technique.

i think you will get faster results and maybe a 'cleaner' sourness not affected by acetobacter or other bugs in those blends (and possibly brett). once you try those, you can decide if you wanna get real sour or funky.
Are ithaca beers not made with brett or other souring critters? I had their Gold-medal Champagne Brut Golden Sour and it is exactly the flavor I am after.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:16 PM   #5
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In general sours tend to be more one-dimensional when fermented warmer after most of the initial fermentation has died down - this is because the temps favor the bacteria, which grow more quickly and quickly consume all the remaining sugars, this usually results in a more sour less complex beer, but it is still something that can taste pretty good

if you use pedio, you will need brett, pedio can produce copious amounts of diacetyl, luckily brett will clean this up

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Old 10-15-2010, 05:10 PM   #6
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Are ithaca beers not made with brett or other souring critters? I had their Gold-medal Champagne Brut Golden Sour and it is exactly the flavor I am after.
you should listen to the brewing network podcast with Ithaca brewing co, he gives out a ton of nice info on how they do their sours. i don't remember for sure, but I'm pretty sure the Brut is like 15% acid malt and they ferment it normal at first and then add brett and let that go a while before bottling. but to answer your question, there is no lacto added to the beer other than what lactic acid is on the acid malt.
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:23 PM   #7
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I used white labs and a folie clone recipe, along with dregs from many different beers and mine is not too funky yet. It's been in secondary for over a year. I like the funkyness of Brett so I hope it come out more, if I bottled now and drank it soon it wouldn't be too funky.
With sours there's so many different factors without computerized equipment and a lab that its going to be a crapshoot either way.

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