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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Kentucky Common and Sourness
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
FLDanimal
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Default Kentucky Common and Sourness

Im currently researching the kentucky common style and cant seem to tell if this beer is supposed to be sour. Many recipes I have seen call for a berliner weisse style sour mash. The wikipedia article on kentucky common states that the beer used a whiskey type sour mash. It would seem that the spent grain from the whiskey type sour mash is heated and would not have any lactic bacteria and would be used to acidify the mash to control and limit bacteria. Most recipes seem like a brown-corn-berliner while a few have no sourness at all. How noticeable is the sourness in this beer supposed to be?

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Old 12-12-2012, 07:31 PM   #2
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I address that topic and provide a couple links to discussions on that in my "Kiss Yer Cousin" Rye Kentucky Common Ale thread Evidently two different listings of the beer, in two different "handy" books don't agree. One says sour and one doesn't address it. Based on my readings I believe they weren't intentionally sour, as a style, though some may have been sour simply from poor brewing practices, while others may have been brewed by moonshiners who obviously brewed sour mash.

I look at them as a particular regional syle, that had variations from brewer to brewer.

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Old 12-12-2012, 07:43 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I just got done reading through that thread and am still unsure what method of "sour mash" was used. I assume that since it was brewed in bourbon country where whiskey sour mash techniques were well known, and the recipe was based off an inverted bourbon mash, a berliner type sour mash was not used on the beer. I too would guess any sourness was either unintentional or was used to drop ph in order to control bacterial infections.

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Old 12-12-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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It's one of those things, no one ever is really going to know.

The other thing that leads me to believe they WEREN'T purposefully soured is simple, we have no OTHER intentionally soured styles here in America. The Berlinner Weiss is German, The other sour beers are traditionally Belgian styles. You don't hear anything necessarily at all in the entire canon of American Brewing about any purposefully soured beers. So why would we expect a virtually extinct regional style to be any different than any other American beer from that period? You would think it would have escaped out of the hollars of Kentucky in some form somewhere.

I tend to think that the Kentucky Common is really just like any other common/cream ale/(even steam beer) of that period, just a regional variant that was darker than other versions, and none of the other versions are thought of as intentionally soured.

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Old 01-21-2013, 10:01 PM   #5
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Have a friend who brewed this and it is conditioning in the bottle right now...too bad he lives over 1,000 miles away! Think this will be one of the next recipes I try. Added it to Beersmith and tweaked slightly....can't wait!!!

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