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Old 09-30-2013, 11:27 PM   #1
Feb 2009
Charlotte, Michigan
Posts: 80

Greetings All!

I am aging my first sour ale right now. A month ago I brewed a Flanders Sour Pale recipe from an issue of BYO. I did a Flanders style mash and pitched Ardennes Yeast and Roselaire Blend, both from Wyeast. I transferred the beer after three weeks onto 1 ounce of medium toast french oak cubes. I let it sit in secondary for about a month before tasting it. At this point, the beer is still not very sour at all, even though the gravity is sitting at 1.003. So, I have some questions for all you experience sour brewers out there:

1. Does the extremely low gravity indicate that no more conversion will take place and that the sour bugs have nothing left to eat?
2. Can I boost the gravity at this point by adding DME to give the bugs something to eat?
3. Should I pitch another smack pack of roselaire blend to get more sour bugs in there.
4. Should I pitch the dregs of some a commercial sour beer in an attempt to sour the beer up? I have several bottles of Cantillon that would probably do the job nicely.
5. Or...should I just wait and let the beer sour because I haven't waited long enough yet.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 09-30-2013, 11:33 PM   #2
Dec 2008
Posts: 509
Liked 47 Times on 42 Posts

Hey Hokenfloken,

Good questions, and congrats on your first sour being underway! I'm no pro, but would think that adding a starter / DME slurry might be your best bet. 1.003 is a pretty low gravity, so even if the bugs are able to eat what is left, there's not enough in there to get it real sour. Bumping that up to a 1.012-1.016 would probably give you enough sugar for the bugs to work their magic, but perhaps someone else has a little more experience with something like this?

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Old 10-01-2013, 12:24 AM   #3
Aug 2012
Posts: 6,656
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5.) Wait at least 3 months (if you can't make it 6). If you're not happy with the flavor, add some Jolly Pumpkin La Roja dregs. I've heard people recommend adding maltodextrin to give the bugs something to chew on, but I've never done it.
The only thing worse than dumping beer is serving beer you should have dumped.

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Old 10-01-2013, 01:52 AM   #4
Jan 2010
Louisville, KY
Posts: 334
Liked 40 Times on 20 Posts

If you add dme the yeast will just eat the sugars, not the bugs. I would just wait. Jolly Pumpkin dregs work quick. The fresher the better.
Brute Brew Works
Primary: Epic Flemish Brown(15g) waiting to go into a bourbon barrel, Brett C. Blackberry Berliner, lambic waiting for fruit
Secondary: Sour Brown Ale from Black IPA second runnings sitting on 2.5lbs. blackberries and 2.5lbs mulberries
Bottled: Traditional Mead aged on Maker's 46 soaked oak, Brett Maibock

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Old 10-02-2013, 02:06 AM   #5
Mar 2010
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You pitched too much yeast. If you had just gone with the Roselaire, it might be a little sour. The pack is designed to allow the bugs some time (not much) to increase their population before alcohol is created. Adding the additional yeast probably helped get the fermentation started, slowing down the bugs.

Either way, you should not be expecting anything for at least 6 months, and probably not until 12 before it is decently sour.

The bugs you have will work, they will just take a long time.

Adding dregs from commercial will not hurt, and may help. Some of the commercial bugs are supposedly a little more aggressive than the blends you buy.

If you want to add some more sugar, make it malto-dextrin; maybe 0.5 lbs max in 5 gallons. Don't over-do it.

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Old 10-07-2013, 12:41 AM   #6
AlphaWolf-Brewery's Avatar
Aug 2010
Posts: 153
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I agree with Calder, with the added pack of yeast it fermented to quickly, not letting the pedio and lacto get large populations. It will still sour but take longer. I personally would refrain from adding anything. I wouldnt expect it to be sour now even if you didnt add the added yeast it just needs time. In the future just use the roselaire.
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