I just moved to Ohio (from the desert in CA and NV), where I have discovered this wonderful thing called a "basement". Ambient temps tend to stay around 68 in the summer. Not sure about winter yet, but I can always use a fermwrap if need be.
Since I'll be here for a few years, I decided now is the time to make some beers that need age. First up is a flanders red.
I've been doing some research on it (thanks again to The Mad Fermentationist website) and decided on the following:
Jamil's Flanders Red Recipe- (est OG 1.059 - a tad high, may tweak, IBU 11.6)
5.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain
5.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain
0.80 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain
0.50 lb Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain
0.50 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain
0.50 lb Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)
1.0 oz Medium Toast French Oak Cubes in secondary (put in near boiling water for 15min first)
Mash @ 154 for 1 hour
60 min 0.80 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min)
Yeast (both pitched concurrently):
Jolly Pumpkin bottle dregs
Spend about 3 weeks in primary located in temp controlled chest freezer (6.5 gal better bottle), then rack to oak in secondary to sit in ambient basement temps (5 gallon BB) for as long as necessary.
Here are my questions:
1) Should I do a small starter for the bottle dregs? I realize only the Sacc and Brett may grow up, not the bacteria so much. I'll have 2 bottles of Jolly Pumpkin (La Roja bottled 12-10-10 and Oro de Calabaza bottled 1-7-11). Both have been at room temp in the bottle shop until last night. I plan to leave them in the fridge for the next 2-3 weeks to settle. There have been suggestions of a 1.020 starter right in the bottle of dregs. That sounds really simple.
2) Do I use the Mr. Malty pitching rate for the WLP550?
3) Good primary temp for WLP550? I was thinking 65F for entire primary, since I really don't need it to fully attenuate. It's easy enough to raise it though.
4) Will the Caramunich provide good head retention or should I also throw some wheat in there?
5) What water? My house has an R.O. system so I was planning on buying Sparklets or something similar. I haven't tweaked water profiles before and am not all that comfortable with tweaking my water yet. I'll do some experimenting with shorter turn beers in the upcoming months, but I'm open to messing with R.O. if recommended.
Any critiques and responses are appreciated! If turns out nice, you all are invited over for a beer sometime late next year!
I'm also planning on starting another sour in a couple months so it can start going. Oh, the possibilities now that I have a basement... *sniff*