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Old 10-10-2013, 06:34 AM   #1
fearwig
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Default Lacto surprise!

Yesterday I mashed AG#3, an 11-gal variation on BierMuncher's Centennial Blonde in one mash/two boils (except not so blonde because my homemade crystal came out dark--and no centennial). Danstar Nottingham. And I thought, why not--with it being a weeknight and all--do my mash today, and my boils tomorrow?

So you can guess how this story ends. I didn't think anything could take off in sealed preboil wort in just 24 hours, but I suppose lacto has its spores all up in the raw grain to begin with (or lives in the Rahr warehouse, as a hungry microorganism should).

But the thing is, it's delicious. I've never had a lambic or a proper sour, but this is light and refreshing and grapefruity (for a wort). I did my first 6gal boil with all cascade (before I tasted the wort at all), but I think I'm going to hit the second half with some citra to compliment the sour wort, maybe toss in some peel or zest to boot.

Will I have to change much to my ferm schedule/specs to deal with this pH? I was planning to secondary after a week or so (hydrometer readings permitting) with this being such a low grav beer, but I'm not sure how this will change that--yeast do actually prefer a lower pH than normal wort, don't they?

Given how bad my spent grains reeked after 24 hours, I probably should have suspected something...


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Old 10-16-2013, 12:14 AM   #2
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Stole a bit at 6 days in primary (spiced half) and 7 days (unspiced). It's good--basically uncarbed hard lemonade. Almost totally fermented (1.006 and 1.008 ). Neither has enough hops for me, which is surprising because I held back out of respect for the low grav and low ph. I think a dry hop will do it good, but I think a hop tea may be in order for the unspiced (slightly less sour) batch, the lemonade-like tartness really demands a touch of bitter (at least uncarbed). Both had a half ounce of cascade 7% at 60min and .75oz at 15min. I think I'm going to hit the sourer, spiced one with citra and the less sour, unspiced with some cascade hop tea and some dry goldings.


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Old 10-16-2013, 12:22 AM   #3
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Better a Lacto Surprise than a Pickle Surprise.

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Old 10-29-2013, 04:31 PM   #4
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Just an update, in case anyone makes the same mistake and considers ditching their wort--don't! But here are some tips.

Don't hold back too much on the hops. I read up on sours while this was ferming and almost everyone said not to over-hop a sour. Now this is a small beer to begin with, so I held back quite a lot:


Unspiced half
1/2oz Northern Brewer 60min
1/2oz Cascade 15min
1/2oz Cascade dry hop 5 days

Spiced
1 stick ceylon cinnamon (crushed) 15min
1 black cardamom pod (crushed) 15min
1/3oz Northern Brewer 60min
1/3oz Styrian Goldings 15min
1/3oz Styrian Goldings dry hop 5 days

Danstar Nottingham
OG: 1.040
FG: 1.005

Bottle primed both to 3.5 volumes.

I'd double all those quantities and be very happy, even with these 1.040 beers. If it were really, really sour, maybe I'd think again. In terms of acidity these both fall somewhere between a hard lemonade and a citrus hefe, and the high fizz helps reinforce that association. Overall I like them, and the more days they sit in the bottle the more content I am with this batch. I don't think I'll be sending this to any competition, but it's well past drinkable.
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