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Old 01-29-2012, 05:17 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Vessel for Sour

I'm planning on brewing my first sour, an Oud Bruin (JZ's recipe.) I've read mixed opinions on the necessity of transferring to a secondary over the course of the fermentation/aging process so I'm looking for a few more opinions.

I currently have a 6gal. Better Bottle that I'm planning on using to make the beer. It was scratched in the past and led to an infected batch, so I cleaning, sanitized and saved it planning on using it for this purpose.

Few questions:

Should I do the entire fermentation/aging in Primary, or should I eventually rack to Secondary (and when)?

I've heard too much headspace can lead to some issues down the road. Is 6gal. too big for a 5gal. batch in Secondary? I could scale up the recipe to account for the larger vessel if needed.

Finally, will plastic be OK to keep the beer in for up to 12 months or more, or should I go with glass? I understand the role of oxygen with regards to the fermentation/souring process, but don't want the beer to turn to vinegar either.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-29-2012, 06:46 PM   #2
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Were it me, I would secondary in glass, but I'm sure you'll get varying opinions.

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Old 01-29-2012, 07:48 PM   #3
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Same here. I would not age in the better bottle. Extended aging deserves a true secondary and if I were you would go with glass. Also 6 gal primary is perfect for a 5 g batch. If your secondary is a 5 gal glass that's perfect.

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Old 01-29-2012, 07:53 PM   #4
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I've heard glass doesn't always allow enough oxygen to enter the fermenter over the aging period though. One of the reasons many sours are aged in casks. In your experience, is there anything I could do to duplicate that? I don't want a pronounced vinegar presence in the beer, but would like it sour nonetheless.

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Old 01-29-2012, 09:52 PM   #5
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I can't remember which book this was in, but someone recommended using a wood dowel instead of an airlock to allow the right amount of oxygen in.

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Old 01-29-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
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East Flanders bruins don't typically have acetic acid, like West Flanders reds do. They derive their sour from lactobacillus and pediococcus, which makes lactic acid. Pedio, in particular, is anaerobic and oxygen will inhibit its growth. That's a result of East Flanders bruins being fermented in stainless steel after primary, while West Flanders reds are fermented in wooden foudres. The wooden foudres can be very huge, so oxygen permeability is minimal compared to the volume of beer.

Oud Bruins tend to be more malty and tart, with very low acetic sourness or Brett funkiness. If you like sour and funky, use a Roselare or Lambic blend, and the Brett will generally form a pellicle that protects itself (and the beer) from oxygen.

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Old 01-29-2012, 10:22 PM   #7
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There's a whole forum here devoted to Lambic and Wild Brewing. There are lots of sour and wild beer lovers trying to create these unique beers, and a lot of advice from experienced brewers on the forum. Since it takes so long to produce a good sour, we have a lot of time for answering questions, when we are able.

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Old 01-29-2012, 11:31 PM   #8
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Sweet, thanks much for the responses. Glass it is, then.

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Old 01-30-2012, 12:19 AM   #9
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You can definitely use the better bottle with no problems. It does not have the permeability issues that a bucket has.

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Old 01-30-2012, 10:33 AM   #10
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I guess my other concern at this point would be headspace. How much should I allow for this beer, once its in secondary, especially since someone mentioned earlier that oxygen exposure should be kept a minimum for this style. I will be using Wyeast 3763.

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