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Old 08-08-2012, 05:18 PM   #1
lunshbox
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Default First Sour Mash, Certainly Something Went Wrong

This past weekend I brewed a batch of Berliner Weiss and decided to try an experiment. After listening to the episode of Basic Brewing Radio with Michael Tonsmeire, I wanted to try his sour mashing method. So I used the following bill:

4 lb pale 2 row
2 lb white wheat
1/2 lb rice hulls
1 oz Perle, first wort

Dough in at 151*F. Allowed to naturally cool to 105*F. Added 1 lb pale malt, uncracked. Kept temperature between 90*F and 100*F to allow lacto formation. After 48 hours, mash was wonderfully sour. Batch sparked for 6 gallons of wort. Boiled for 15 minutes to pasteurize. Cooled to 75 degrees.

Here is where the problem comes in: I had an OG of 1.013! Is it possible that it soured too long and the black ate up all of the sugars or is there something else seriously wrong here? I used the same setting on my malt mill as always. I regularly hit 80% efficiency without trying. But with these numbers I hit around 20% on a drink that will come in at 1/2% abv. Any thoughts?

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Old 08-08-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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After you doughed in at 151 how long did you rest at this temp? The idea here is to convert to sugar first, then sour from there. It sounds like you didn't mash long enough.

And you don't need a whole pound maybe two good handfuls of whole or cracked grain is plenty.

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Old 08-09-2012, 07:30 AM   #3
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I've sour mashed by performing a regular mash with 50/50 2 row and wheat malt, then allowed it to cool to 100-120 and pitched a handful of raw malt, covered with plastic wrap to seal out air, and held at 100-120 for 1-4 days with good success and expected gravities (then boiled), so I doubt that the bugs were the problem. How about more detail on your procedures, as beeber asks above?

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Old 08-09-2012, 02:28 PM   #4
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So sorry everyone, I forgot to add that. I mashed at 151 for 85 minutes and performed an iodine test to ensure full conversion.

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Old 08-09-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
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Well in that case, that is interesting. My guess would be wild yeast, I don't know of anything else that would lower the gravity that much in 48 hours. Finish the beer and see what you get, you never know. Let us know how it turns out.

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Old 08-09-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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How about your methods for measuring gravity? The usuals; is your hydrometer accurate, did you adjust for temperature, and was your wort stirred up sufficiently when you took a sample to measure the gravity?

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Old 08-09-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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If you had some bubbles pre-boil, then something (lacto, wild yeast) fermented the sugars into CO2 and alcohol, both of which you would have subsequently boiled off. No bubbles, you had terrible efficiency or a measurement error. I would guess your efficiency was in the normal range, or it would have been difficult to get much sourness. When I brewed mine, I mashed, sparged and boiled like I usually would, then added a handful of grain once the wort had cooled to 110.

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