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Old 01-21-2013, 06:17 PM   #1
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Default Sour Mashing-Small Vessel/Gallon Jug?

Along with other brewing activities I thought I'd start a Berliner Weisse sour mash today (2 gallon small batch). I've got a decent handle on the process between reading this BYO article http://www.byo.com/stories/technique...ing-techniques, viewing Sean Coates blog/listening to him on Basic Brewing Radio, and other research. Honestly it's a rather simple process.

My question is simple, does a sour mash off-gas? If placed into a sealed container would it need an airlock or risk exploding the container? I'm guessing it does off-gas. However if it doesn't there's no reason one couldn't seal up a container filled with mash while it's in the sour mash phase. The idea is once the mash is inoculated pouring it into a plastic jug, squeezing the air out to prevent oxygen exposure/acetobacter growth. This would also make maintaining a fairly constant temp easy as the 'mash jug' could be placed inside a cooler filled with proper temp water.

If as I suspect this isn't possible I'll be pouring the mash into a modified gallon jug, placing plastic wrap on top of the mash, then placing the jug in a cooler and adding proper temp water.

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Old 01-21-2013, 06:44 PM   #2
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I want to do the same in a half gallon in a tupperware container. But to maintain temps I wanted to put it inside my food dehydrator. Inside the dehydrator temps stay a lot more constant. I know head space is a bad idea for a sour mash your trying keep oxygen out from getting to it. But am sure some one with more experience will chime in!!

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Old 01-21-2013, 08:09 PM   #3
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double post

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Reason: stupid phone made me double post!!!
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:23 PM   #4
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I'm gonna try it lest someone stops me before I get to this part as I'm going to crush grains now. Worst that can happen is well nothing as I'm not going to have my jug floating or the lid covered, it'll be above the water line so no worries.

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:38 AM   #5
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Some strains of lacto simply split a sugar molecule into two lactic acid molecules, whichb won't produce any gas. Some will do that as well as ferment the same way that yeast does, producing ethanol and CO2. Most likely, you'll get some gas, but not nearly as much as what you're used to. If you're worried about oxygen exposure, you can sour mash in a 2-liter soda bottle or something similar. Squeeze the sides in a little and cap tightly. If any gas is produced, the sides will bow back out. A temp in the around 100 will speed things up, but isn't necessary. Lacto will do its thing in the 70s.

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:45 PM   #6
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Kingwood, the soda bottle thing is exactly what I was saying above. Instead I went with just cutting the top off a 1 gal jug and covering the mash with plastic wrap.

I plan on posting a pic later showing how I'm maintaining temps in a water bath inside a cooler. She's going well now!

And thanks for the answer that it does off-gas some... sometimes. I've got a bit under my plastic this AM, but only time will tell if that's off-gassing or if it's just air bubbles that worked their way out of the mash over night.

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:25 PM   #7
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Hey but is 2 liters of sour mash enough to sour a 5.5 gallon batch? Or how about .5 a gallon? Say I leave the sour mash for 5 days or will that be over kill?

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Old 01-22-2013, 06:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bratrules View Post
Hey but is 2 liters of sour mash enough to sour a 5.5 gallon batch? Or how about .5 a gallon? Say I leave the sour mash for 5 days or will that be over kill?
This is my first time to this event at the brewing rodeo, so take it with a grain of salt, but I've read quite a bit! I'll share a few links below well worth reading. The answer is a 2-liter if fermented for 48-72 hours would probably give you a 'wang/twang' flavor similar to a beer with acid malt ie Guinness worldwide stout, but given that a 2-liter would hold approx. 1.5 lbs of sour mash that would be 15% of a 10# grain bill so it might impart a bit more than a twang. No reason one couldn't use 3 or 4 2-liters though. For the record I'm using 1-gal empty water jugs left over from a recent brew session, bigger volume, bigger mouth, easier, more heat mass, etc if one decides to fill/squeeze method.

Further I'd add if you're wanting to make something with a 'sourness' perhaps a 1/5-1/3rd of the grain volume sour mash is in order. However if wanting to make a Berliner Weisse (what I'm doing) a full 100% sour mash should be employed. It's so easy a cave man (like me) can do it!

These 2 BYO articles are rather helpful and cover slightly differing aspects. http://www.byo.com/stories/technique...ash-techniques
http://www.byo.com/stories/technique...ing-techniques

Finally Sean Coates wonderful blog entry about his Berliner Weisse beer and process: http://seancoates.com/blogs/berliner-weisse
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:35 PM   #9
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As for sour mash for 5 days, I think it'd be fine. No reason to think otherwise if bad bugs aren't in the mix. Btw one of those BYO articles is fantastic in covering the exact desired range of temps to help keep the likelihood of bad bugs to a minimum.

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:06 PM   #10
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Sour mash stinks pretty badly. I just did some after reading somehting that recommended splitting half the runnings and boiling with hops and pitching yeast in half, and souring the other half. Then the soured half can be boiled to kill bugs and you can let the yeast work without lacto and the lacto work without the hops form the boil. Then you can blend.

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