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Old 10-20-2012, 03:44 PM   #1
Mar 2011
Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 96
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

I'm planning to start my first sour (woohoo!) next weekend, but wanted to check with everybody here to figure out the best plan/logistics for the aging process. I'm using the Flemish Ale Blend and plan to pitch that vial for the "primary" fermentation and leave it on the lees until the pellicle drops/after around 12-18 months or so without transferring to a second vessel.

When should I add oak to get the nice barrel character? When I start the fermentation or wait a few days/weeks? Should I use oak cubes or the chair leg trick I've seen (the major advantage to the latter method would be microoxygenation throughout the ferment/souring process)?

Any other thoughts on the process of making sour beers generally? The plan is to just leave in a closet at a fairly constant temperature (65-75) until it's ready for packaging. What advice would you give a newbie to prevent screwing things up too terribly? Thanks!

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Old 10-20-2012, 03:54 PM   #2
Jun 2012
oakland, ca
Posts: 212
Liked 64 Times on 41 Posts

I have had really good luck using a four months schedule. I brew one batch and ferment with bugs for four months in a bucket. Then rack off the bottom into a carboy with fruit and/or oak and immediately put a new batch in the old bucket on top of the yeast/bugs from the first batch. After four months, I bottle or keg, and continue the cycle. My beers have been nice and sour with this method.

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Old 10-20-2012, 04:34 PM   #3
Jan 2009
Corvallis, OR
Posts: 456
Liked 17 Times on 17 Posts

There's not really any reason to do the chair leg method since you will already have that microoxygenation going on. Has everyone just been pitching the blend solo right into primary or fermenting down with a clean yeast first? I just mashed in on a flanders red 5 minutes ago and am still debating but am leaning towards just pitching it right away.

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Old 10-20-2012, 10:00 PM   #4
Registered User
Jul 2009
Keller, Texas
Posts: 4,882
Liked 254 Times on 196 Posts

I think that whole furniture thing went out several years ago. I've never read anybody using it other than Raj.

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