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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Sour Ale fermentation vessel
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:23 PM   #1
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Default Sour Ale fermentation vessel

I've been looking into sour ales and deciding which vessel is appropriate. I was thinking of doing the primary fermentation normally and then transferring to an ale pail for secondary (adding bugs here).

The thought is that the ale pail would help give the bugs plenty of oxygen to sour well. How long could I leave it in the ale pail like this without off flavors occuring?

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Old 08-23-2010, 07:35 PM   #2
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I've been looking into sour ales and deciding which vessel is appropriate. I was thinking of doing the primary fermentation normally and then transferring to an ale pail for secondary (adding bugs here).

The thought is that the ale pail would help give the bugs plenty of oxygen to sour well. How long could I leave it in the ale pail like this without off flavors occuring?
http://www.themadfermentationist.com...r-at-home.html

This link should answer most of your questions.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:31 PM   #3
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you should not be using a bucket for long term secondary aging of sours/lambics/brett beers. you will let in too much O2 leading to too much acetic acid production. if anything, start with a bucket and use the carboy, better bottle, corny or even better and oak barrel for long term aging. in wild brews there's a chart that shows how much O2 is let into each vessel. the bucket itself breathes, not the gasket or lid at the top, but the actual plastic itself. some have asked about submerging a bucket in water, but even that's prob not the best idea.

here's some talk on using an ale pail for secondary:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f127/age...uckets-181007/
and another thread with some good info:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/guez...tml#post600464
compliments of landhoney:
"Some oxygen can be good, too much is bad. From 'Wild Brews':

Type // Gallons(size) // ( O2 cc/L/year )
Rodenbach tun(small) // 3,168 // .53
Wine Barrel // 80 // 8.5
Homebrew Bucket // 5.3 // 220
Glass Carboy w/wood stopper // 5.3 // .10
Glass Carboy w/immersion tube // 5.3 // .31

The last number is how much O2 gets in contact with the beer per Liter per year. So the homebrew bucket is letting in waaayyyy more than any barrel commercial brewers are using. And I don't think the plastic 'flavor' ever comes out into a beer. People do leave beer in them for many months, and I've never heard of anyone complaining about this."

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Old 08-23-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
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I actually found that madfermentationist site just about an hour ago. I've been researching this all morning. It sounds like you only need O2 for the vinegary taste. I'm not a huge fan of that part of a sour ale so I shouldn't need to worry about it.

My only other question that that site didn't have an answer to is whether a secondary is needed or not? I've already decided that I will use the Roeselare Blend straight from the start. Is it preferrable to ferment for a few weeks in primary and then move to secondary for the remainder? Another thread I read had a few people say that no transfer is truly needed for a sour beer.

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Old 01-16-2014, 05:26 PM   #5
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I'm raising this thread from the dead...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMan View Post
I actually found that madfermentationist site just about an hour ago. I've been researching this all morning. It sounds like you only need O2 for the vinegary taste. I'm not a huge fan of that part of a sour ale so I shouldn't need to worry about it.

My only other question that that site didn't have an answer to is whether a secondary is needed or not? I've already decided that I will use the Roeselare Blend straight from the start. Is it preferrable to ferment for a few weeks in primary and then move to secondary for the remainder? Another thread I read had a few people say that no transfer is truly needed for a sour beer.
I actually found myself asking this exact same question. I found the mad fermentist thread on sour ales and wondered the same thing. I think I read some BYO article that recommends fermenting with a neutral yeast first, then racking onto the Brett or sour blend in a bucket for 3 months to get some air, and lastly moving to glass for the bulk aging. The Mad Fermentist mentions pitching the Brett/sour blend at the start, the same time as the neutral yeast. He says that's given him the best results. If you do this, do you want to get it off the yeast cake?

Say you pitch a sour blend with 1056. You may want the beer to sour for a year, but will the 1056 cake autolyze?
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Old 01-16-2014, 07:43 PM   #6
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I have done a couple sours and I would recommend dedicating whatever equipment comes in contact with the sour ale to be dedicated to sours. I also would plan to primary as normal and then secondary with the bugs.


If you can find them old Hoff Stevens kegs are PERFECT for long term aging and / or solera. I have found 3 and am planning just that. Yank the spear and pound in a tapered and charred oak dowel. Then use a drilled bung in the bung hole with your favorite airlock and your are set. This is also talked about in Wild Brews.

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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Jester King, a famous brewery in Austin TX, pitches bugs yeast souring bacteria and whatever else once at the beginning. They keep it airtight in a steel vessel to give the yeast a headstart and then after 3 months they rack into old wine barrels to allow some o2 in for the bugs to begin to take over. I'd try to follow some similar regime. Their stuff tastes great so they know what their doing. In fact, I'm sipping some Atrial Rubicite as I type.

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:34 PM   #8
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Jester King, a famous brewery in Austin TX, pitches bugs yeast souring bacteria and whatever else once at the beginning. They keep it airtight in a steel vessel to give the yeast a headstart and then after 3 months they rack into old wine barrels to allow some o2 in for the bugs to begin to take over. I'd try to follow some similar regime. Their stuff tastes great so they know what their doing. In fact, I'm sipping some Atrial Rubicite as I type.
So, this sounds like IF you pitch yeast and bugs at the same time, you want to get it off the cake after a few months?

I know it's recommended to re-pitch onto your sour ale cakes as they change over time. If you pitch together and rack off after 3 months, do you ever have a cake from the bugs? Or, can you only do this when you don't rack off or you ferment clean first, then rack and pitch bugs?
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
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So, this sounds like IF you pitch yeast and bugs at the same time, you want to get it off the cake after a few months?

I know it's recommended to re-pitch onto your sour ale cakes as they change over time. If you pitch together and rack off after 3 months, do you ever have a cake from the bugs? Or, can you only do this when you don't rack off or you ferment clean first, then rack and pitch bugs?
In general you don't want beer sitting on a cake for too long. Depending on the og/fg, idealy no more than about 4-5 months. At 6 months you may probably have problems with autolysis.

The change over time is usually more onto the sour side... which isn't usually much of a problem if you're making sours. The bugs won't make a cake but they'll survive in an existing cake without a problem. So if you wanted to recycle the cake/bugs just rack and re-wort. And yeast/bugs/bacteria are all suspended too. So even if you rack off the cake you'll be fine as far as keeping some of them along to continue extended aging in another vessel.

Souring bugs often benefit from very small amounts of oxygen. The kind experienced by barrel aging is excellent for example. So you may want to consider that. As a plus the wood will hold the bugs and yeast. For your next brew you could gently rinse the old trub out with water and add new wort. This isn't ideal as the pitching rate would be low but I'm just letting you know.

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Old 01-17-2014, 09:37 PM   #10
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Souring bugs often benefit from very small amounts of oxygen. The kind experienced by barrel aging is excellent for example. So you may want to consider that. As a plus the wood will hold the bugs and yeast. For your next brew you could gently rinse the old trub out with water and add new wort. This isn't ideal as the pitching rate would be low but I'm just letting you know.

Prosit!
The BYO article I read suggested the "poor man's barrel method" of aging in a bucket for 3 months to get some oxygen. However, because the bucket is more permeable than a wooden barrel, you move to a glass carboy after that period. I think they suggest fully fermenting with a neutral yeast first before pitching bugs, but I do like a tart beer. So, I would probably pitch yeast and bugs into a barrel, let ferment for 3 months, then rack off the cake into a glass carboy. Hopefully racking another beer onto the same cake.
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