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Old 05-01-2008, 06:32 PM   #1
landhoney
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Default No excuses now - Sour in a Bucket Test

Did the Green Arrow get your attention?

Whether or not you can brew a sour/wild beer in a bucket has been coming up lately and I said I might give it a shot as an experiment. Today at lunch in a local sub shop they were selling 5 gallon food grade buckets* with lids for $2, so I got one.
The plan is to brew a Flanders, only ~4 gallons though to mimic the headspace you'd have in a ~6 gallon bucket with 5 gallons of wort in it. I was thinking of doing a side-by-side with glass, but I'm not sure that's necessary. The beer will turn out good, or it won't. Also I think even them same wort in the same type of vessel will turn out differently when making a sour beer. I'm going to make a pretty 'standard' recipe/gravity and use Roeselare. I have some that is 'second generation' so I may have to buy some to mimic 'normal' conditions.

Any thoughts or input on this? Something you like to see added/changed about this?

I get to drink the beer, but I'm doing this 'experiment' for the community. I realize that just because mine does or does not work, that it doesn't mean you can or cannot make a good sour beer in a bucket. There's little doubt that it has worked for some, and has not for others. My experiences will just add to the general knowledge, and help you make a better decision on what you want to brew in.


*The buckets are pickle buckets. Anyone know if I need to be worried that the brine has tainted the flavor of the bucket. Is there a way to test before my beer goes in? Or to clean in such a way that I will be assured the been won't taste like pickles? I should try a search, but I've never used a 'second hand' bucket before.

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Old 05-01-2008, 06:49 PM   #2
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Landhoney I've got 2 pickle buckets I picked up when I first started thinking about brewing. I use them exclusively for soaking/cleaning due to the fact that you can't get rid of the pickle smell. I've also read where people have tried it and wound up with "pickled beer".

That's the problem, now the solution. Go to your local bakery, especially one in a grocery store, and ask for their cake icing buckets. Food grade with mild vanilla/buttercream icings in them (no carryover smells). My wife just started as a cake decorator I've already got a 5 and 2-2gallon buckets. You could probably score these at any grocery store, walmart, or most bakeries.

Wishing you happy experimentations!
Schlante,
Phillip

Ps I use a clorox solution for most of my cleaning, and after MANY MANY soaks my pickle buckets still smell of pickles. Note that they smell neutral just after cleaning but in a few days the pickle aroma is back so don't be fooled if you soak and the aroma disappears... IT WILL RETURN!

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Last edited by MVKTR2; 05-01-2008 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MVKTR2
Landhoney I've got 2 pickle buckets I picked up when I first started thinking about brewing. I use them exclusively for soaking/cleaning due to the fact that you can't get rid of the pickle smell.
That's what I was afraid of, oh well. Thanks for the info, I guess I'll just buy another one at the LHBS. The test will go on!
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Old 05-01-2008, 07:01 PM   #4
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Thanks for taking one for the team. I'm planning on a Flanders Red and have been trying to figure out how to mimic oak barrel aging. I know Raj Apte has used an oak table leg to stopper a carboy, but that seems a bit nuts. Of course I'm considering just buying a small barrel, which is perfectly sane

There are a lot of mixed experiences using a bucket. During Jamil's podcast on Flanders Reds he said he'd done it successfully and repeatably. Later, on another podcast, he says that his latest bucket version progressed too quickly and the pellicle dropped in a quarter of the time that the same wort in a carboy did, most likely due to too much oxygen penetrating the bucket. Other sources are equally split, so it will be great to have a first hand test as a baseline data point.

Thanks!
Chad

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