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Old 11-19-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default Little different Sourmash question

I am working through tweaking a Kentucky Common that I am sour mashing and need to ask a question about direction. The first time I made this I made a small batch mash that I inoculated with raw grain and let sit for two days. I then added this to my boil kettle at flame and did a 60 minute boil. The brew came out with barely any noticeable sourness and I want to bump it a bit. I could either make a larger batch, or sour the small batch longer. Then I figured that it might be a matter of adding the sour mash late in the boil--near the end--to hopefully reduce blow off of flavor compounds in the boil. If I do this, do you think adding it the last 15 minutes would help? Do you think it would have any effect?

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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I don't think it would have an effect. What you said is correct: you need to sour the small portion longer or sour a larger portion of the batch.

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Old 11-19-2012, 09:04 PM   #3
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when you did it the first time, how much of the mash did you sour?

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Old 11-19-2012, 09:07 PM   #4
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I only made a gallon size. I also only let it sour for two days. I think I'll let it sour for three on the next batch and make a couple gallons.

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Old 11-19-2012, 09:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I only made a gallon size. I also only let it sour for two days. I think I'll let it sour for three on the next batch and make a couple gallons.
so you soured the whole mash?
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:33 PM   #6
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No sorry. I soured a small mash of about a gallon and added it to about a six gallon boil.

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Old 11-19-2012, 09:45 PM   #7
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larger portion for sure. two days should be long enough.

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Old 12-02-2012, 01:24 PM   #8
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Funny, the finished beer has plenty of sourness to it--just as much I imagined it having. I think the sugars were masking it. Now that they have been fermented out the taste is quite nice and just enough astringency on the back end to give a very nice satisfying finish. It goes quite well with the vanilla from the oak chips.

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Old 12-02-2012, 02:31 PM   #9
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I see that the use of a "sour mash" is not understood here.

The use of a sour mash is a method to counteract the high alkalinity that some water supplies have. For instance in portions of the Appalachian Mountains, the water is quite alkaline due to the limestone formations that are prevalent there. The whiskey makers found that using a sour mash added enough acid to the mash to neutralize the excessive alkalinity from the water source. This was not done to sour anything. It was done to bring the mash pH into a 'good' range so that the starch conversion would be improved. A whiskey maker has no cares about body or flavor from the mash, they just want as much of the starch from the grain to be converted to sugars so that they end up with the most alcohol. That alcohol is then distilled out.

So in the case of a Kentucky Common that is brewed with that high alkalinity water, a sour mash could be effective in providing that neutralization needed for proper mash pH conditions. It would not necessarily be used to produce an overly acidic wort with a pronounced lactic taste. I can assure you that a beer produced in this way is thin and tart and not all that appealing.

A dose of soured wort into the kettle would not necessarily be the way to go if the mash pH was too high due to water alkalinity. The starch conversion in the mash would have already been adversely affected. The only thing that the dose of soured wort in the kettle would provide is a reduction in the overall wort pH that would help reduce the roughness of the bittering that would result if the mash and wort pH were high due to the local alkaline water.

A proper sour mash procedure is going to produce a beer from a poor brewing water source (too alkaline) that is not overly sour.

Enjoy!

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Old 12-02-2012, 03:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
I see that the use of a "sour mash" is not understood here.

The use of a sour mash is a method to counteract the high alkalinity that some water supplies have. For instance in portions of the Appalachian Mountains, the water is quite alkaline due to the limestone formations that are prevalent there. The whiskey makers found that using a sour mash added enough acid to the mash to neutralize the excessive alkalinity from the water source. This was not done to sour anything. It was done to bring the mash pH into a 'good' range so that the starch conversion would be improved. A whiskey maker has no cares about body or flavor from the mash, they just want as much of the starch from the grain to be converted to sugars so that they end up with the most alcohol. That alcohol is then distilled out.
Just because it is used for one purpose does not mean it is not available for other purposes. There are many homebrewers and some commercial brewers that sour mash to make sour beers, not just for ph correction.

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So in the case of a Kentucky Common that is brewed with that high alkalinity water, a sour mash could be effective in providing that neutralization needed for proper mash pH conditions. It would not necessarily be used to produce an overly acidic wort with a pronounced lactic taste. I can assure you that a beer produced in this way is thin and tart and not all that appealing.
I'm pretty sure all of us who have made sour mashed beer would disagree that it is thin, tart and not all that appealing. Considering the post above yours is OP talking about how much he enjoys the beer negates your would-be expertise.
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