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Old 01-24-2011, 04:58 PM   #1
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Default Question about secondary for sour beers

Hello all,

I am about to brew my first couple sour beers and after doing a bunch of research I still have a few questions.

The primary question I am left with is to whether or not to add the everything in the primary (i.e. pitching a packet of roselaire blend + bottle dregs) or doing a neutral yeast in primary and bugs in secondary.

I hear that you can get more souring characteristics by fermenting with bugs in the primary. However, if I go this route should I still rack to a secondary for aging? And, if I do transfer after a couple weeks would I there be enough yeast for the aging in secondary.

Sorry if some of these questions are confusing. I appreciate any help.


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Old 01-24-2011, 05:38 PM   #2
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When I made my lambic, I followed BYOs instructions and pitched Notty for the primary. Then 3 days into fermentation, I pitched the bugs. That allowed ample time for the yeast to do there thing and ensured enough yeast cells for the bugs to feast on later. I left it there for 9 months and only transferred to the secondary so that I could add 9# of raspberries.


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Old 01-24-2011, 08:22 PM   #3
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For my taste (sour-head) adding everything in primary is the only way I've gotten the sourness of something like a Russian River or Cantillon beer. With barrels it is much easier to get a beer to sour after a clean primary fermentation, not sure if it is the oxygen, the wood, temperature stability or what... If you want a mild tartness, you can do a clean primary fermentation, and pitch the bugs in secondary.

I rack to secondary after 2-3 weeks, never had an issue. Beer starts looking "clear" when it still has something like 100,000 cells per ml, and trust me your beer won’t look clear that young. So, no worries about leaving the bugs behind. I do leave my Lambics in primary for 12-15 months, it gives a funkier more rustic character (but not more sourness) that I don’t like all the time.

Good luck.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:27 PM   #4
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Thanks, Mike.

I spend much time digging into the archives of your blog. Today, in fact, I was looking at the evolution of your sour brewing practices to answer this very question.

Thanks for all the helpful info.
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