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Old 02-02-2012, 09:11 PM   #1
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Default Souring a Barleywine

Well, I'm thinking of doing an experiment. I brewed a big (1.12 OG) barleywine a few months ago and under pitched my yeast. I used Wyeast 1672 and was trying to get a large amount of fruitiness out of it. Anyway, surprise surprise my FG ended up super high at about 1.048. I tried everything under the sun to lower it with no success. It's been in secondary for a couple of months now and I just don't know what to do with it. If I bottle, there's no way it would carbonate. And even if it did carb up I would think it would be way to sweet to want to drink.

So that's where I am at the moment. In thinking what to do with this beer, I'm considering throwing some brett into the carboy and seeing what will happen. I've never even had a sour beer but I've been dying to try one. Does this sound like it would be a good idea?

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Old 02-02-2012, 09:23 PM   #2
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Brett may attenuate it down...but it will take a long time. But it will be "funky", not sour. Sour comes from Lacto and Pedio. You could put a blend in like Wyeast Roselare or White Labs Belgian Sour Mix.

Also, you might be able to add some yeast nutrient (Fermaid K) and an active WLP099 (Super High Gravity) yeast starter to get it going again if you don't want to "sour" it.

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Old 02-02-2012, 09:30 PM   #3
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Brett may attenuate it down...but it will take a long time. But it will be "funky", not sour. Sour comes from Lacto and Pedio. You could put a blend in like Wyeast Roselare or White Labs Belgian Sour Mix.

Also, you might be able to add some yeast nutrient (Fermaid K) and an active WLP099 (Super High Gravity) yeast starter to get it going again if you don't want to "sour" it.
Funky, sour, I'm new to all of it! I guess you could probably tell. But yeah, I tried yeast nutrient and it didn't work. I've also tried wlp099 once before with poor results so I'm a bit hesitant to try again. As far as I'm concerned, this brew is worthless so I may as well try something crazy with it. Any recommendations for a sour or funky yeast strain? I'm open to anything here!
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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I've got a Belgian Brown that I put in an oak barrel for secondary along with Wyeat 3763 Roeselare Ale Blend.

It's got all the "bugs" plus sherry yeast. I took a test sample last night after a month...the gravity hasn't moved much, but the Brett takes 3 months to really get going and it's only been a month. It's starting to get hints of the wonderful funky/sourness...I think it'll be a winner.

I plan on brewing another batch for blending after 6 months in case I need to tone it down. You could split the barleywine and sour half, then blend to desired flavor too.

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Old 02-02-2012, 10:16 PM   #5
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I don't think anything that can sour it can live in that wort at this point, the alcohol level is too high.

You could always blend it with something though.

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Old 02-02-2012, 10:43 PM   #6
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I don't think anything that can sour it can live in that wort at this point, the alcohol level is too high.

You could always blend it with something though.
Because of the high FG its only about 9.5%. I'm sure bugs or champagne yeast would bring it down some, but your right at a certain point that environment would be pretty harsh to support "life."
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Old 02-02-2012, 10:46 PM   #7
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My vote would be to use brettanomyces claussenii, WLP645. This is a strain the was isolated from english ales from the turn of the century. It produces nice tropical fruity esters and minimal funky ness. It is a hearty bug, but for you Id recommend making a small starter of just pitching two tubes. I've had it take a belgium triple that was 1.090 down to 1.008, so it should at least make a good dent in your gravity.

for souring, supposedly the bugs from Russian river and Lost abby are fairly tolerant to high alcohol. I have a Quad that started at 1.085 that pitched White labs sour ale blend into two years ago. It's just starting to get perceivably sour.

Id scrap the sour Idea and go for the Brett C. It should make an Interesting beer, but the ester profile might be a bit off for a barleywine.

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Old 02-03-2012, 12:21 AM   #8
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Because of the high FG its only about 9.5%. I'm sure bugs or champagne yeast would bring it down some, but your right at a certain point that environment would be pretty harsh to support "life."
Well the bug that gives the type of sourness most people are after, lactobacillus, craps out around 3% ABV typically, and pedio's limit is around 9%. Sourness is really not an option at this point.

Funk and possibly mild tartness from wild yeast, sure, but not sourness.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:44 AM   #9
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My vote would be to use brettanomyces claussenii, WLP645. This is a strain the was isolated from english ales from the turn of the century. It produces nice tropical fruity esters and minimal funky ness. It is a hearty bug, but for you Id recommend making a small starter of just pitching two tubes. I've had it take a belgium triple that was 1.090 down to 1.008, so it should at least make a good dent in your gravity.

for souring, supposedly the bugs from Russian river and Lost abby are fairly tolerant to high alcohol. I have a Quad that started at 1.085 that pitched White labs sour ale blend into two years ago. It's just starting to get perceivably sour.

Id scrap the sour Idea and go for the Brett C. It should make an Interesting beer, but the ester profile might be a bit off for a barleywine.
So far this idea seems to make the most sense to me. What size starter would be appropriate if I use a stir plate?
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:25 PM   #10
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Brett Is a little bit of a different monster, and over the past year or so there has been some debate, At least with people I have talked with about it, about making a starter and pitching rates when making all brett beers. Grant it this will not be an all brett beer, so it will depend what you are looking to achieve.

Personally, my experience with Brett. C , when pitching a large pitch similar to Saccharomyces for primary fermentation. It produced a fairly clean beer with a noticeable pineapple/tropical fruit ester, but not very pronounced. The amount of Brett you get in a white labs vial is much less than a Sacc yeast vial, some thing like 300-500 million cells v's 3000-4000 million cells. So if you want to do a big pitch, you should do a 2 step starter with two tubes, that should get you to close to 4 billion cells.

On the other hand, if you want some more pronounced esters and slight funk, Id recommend just pitching two vials straight. It might take a couple weeks before you really see some activity, and you might not see any thing but the gravity will be dropping slowly. I'm not sure what to expect in your case. The current alcohol level might shock them a bit, and it might take a while for them to adjust, or they might get going right off.

Keep us posted on your results.

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