I brewed Northern Brewer's Oud Bruin de Table all-grain kit the other day. I'm super excited to be stepping into the world of sour beers.
Here's the recipe for those that aren't familiar with the kit:
6.75 lbs. Belgian Pilsner malt
0.5 lbs. Flacked Maize
0.75 lbs. Belgian Caramunich
0.75 lbs. Briess Caramel 120
0.125 lbs. Weyerman Carafa III
1 oz. German Tradition - 60 min.
Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Ale Blend
The instructions called for a multi-step mash (122°F for 20 min., 145°F for 40 min., 162°F for 30 min., 170°F for 10 min.). It didn't specify whether it should be infusion, direct fired, or decoction. So, I took that as an invitation to do my first ever decoction mash. Woot!
Yep, that's a BIAB-on-the-stove-triple-decoction mash. I am limited in equipment, but not at all limited in ambition or imagination.
I use the BrewPal app and it did a great job of calculating the decoction volumes for me. I overshot the first rest and hit 130°F, but that's most likely because I input the wrong grain temp. I think the app was calculating the temp for the initial infusion based on the grain being at 70°F and it was probably closer to 75°F.
No worries. I rolled with the punches and guesstimated a lower volume for the first decoction and almost nailed the second rest temp. Except,... I thought I had overshot it. I hit 144°F when it was supposed to be 145°F, but for some reason I had a brain fart and thought it was supposed to be at 140°F. So, I added some cold water to drop the temp. Whoops. 10 minutes later, I realized my mistake and turned on the stove to gently bring the temp back up.
I had the second decoction pulled and heating up to 212°F when a friend stopped by. While talking with my friend, and managing my not-very-happy-7-1/2-month-old daughter, I got distracted and suffered a mild boil-over. Jumping back and forth between the hot stove and the daughter was a bit hectic for a few minutes, but I got everything settled and from that point on things smoothed out quite a bit.
The final decoction, to bring the mash up to the mash-out temp, went perfectly.
And after a short rest at 170°F, I pulled the bag and started my massively-labor-intensive sparge technique (that I know is probably not necessary or even very effective). I do it anyway, because it makes me feel like I'm really putting some sweat equity into the beer that will be returned in flavor later on down the road.
Anyway, after that was done, I got my boil going, added my single hop addition, and coasted through the rest of the process.
The wort did react pretty violently when I added the hops. It was almost an instant boil-over. But I had a hand on the burner controls before I dumped the hops in, so I was able to cut the flame quickly and avoided a 2nd boil-over for the day.
Chilled down to about 68°F, transferred to a 5 gallon carboy, and pitched the yeast.
My OG reading for the 4 gallons was 1.065. After asking the interg00gles for help I calculated that I'd have to top it up to 5.75 gallons in order to get it down to the 1.042 predicted OG. In other words, when I add water, I don't have to worry about diluting my Oud Bruin too much.
Although I'm pretty sure I don't need to worry much about dedicating a glass carboy to only sour beers, I also didn't want to bother with transferring this beer multiple times. So, since my boil only started at about 4 gallons, and ended just over 3 by the end of the boil, I only topped up the fermenter to about 4 gallons in order to leave plenty of headspace for fermentation (I am not a fan of using blow-off tubes). I figured that once the initial violent fermentation finishes, I can top up to the intended final volume of 5 gallons and as it matures/ages/continues to ferment over the next year or so, the extra water will have plenty of time to fully blend with the 4 gallons that started in the fermenter.
Anyway, it took about 24 hours before there was significant activity in the airlock, but it has been fermenting away ever since and there is still a ton of swirling going on inside of the carboy 72 hours after pitching yeast.
Look at that krausen:
Still pic of all the gunk swirling around:
Another good one of the krausen:
I know the reflection makes it hard to see, but here is some video of the swirling action inside the carboy as the Oud Bruin ferments at 72°F:
I will definitely post update pics as soon as I see anything resembling a pellicle or otherwise-gross-looking picture-worthy stuff, but it might be a while. So, I may not have anything significant to add any time soon, but I wanted to share my journey into sour-beer-land. Wish me luck.