Am I following this correctly?

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BoB Lever

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Thinking of brewing a sour, maybe Gose or Berliner. After reading lots, I still have lots of questions. It seems a good entry to the sour brewing would be sour mash. I'm going to list my understanding of sour mashing and please let me know if I understand it or not.

1. Mash in normally, keeping some grain (a cup or so?) set aside.
2. Mash out and collect wort.
3. Allow mash temp to drop to around 120F and add grains that were set aside.
4. Allow mash to sour up to 72 hours
5. Sparge to bring wort volume to desired amount.
6. Boil and continue as normal.

It feels like I'm misunderstanding something. Do I really just leave the first runnings laying around for 72 hours. I get that any undesirables should boil out but seems odd.

Please, school me.
 

PoppinCaps

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For your first, I would use a commercial lacto culture. Make a 500ml starter like you would for yeast, let the lacto go for 2 days, keep warm if possible, no stir bar. Make wort as usual after the starter is done, boil for a few minutes, no hops. Chill to 90F, dump whole lacto starter, and keep warm for 24-48hr. Then boil and hop as usual, pitch yeast.

Natural grain bacteria sometimes throw some weird stuff, plus any yeast in there will go to town on the sugar at that temp. Not what you want for a first try. Make sure you use a lacto culture made for kettle sours, not long term aging.
 

Kent88

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That is certainly a way you can make a sour wort, although I would sparge after step #2. Unless you are referring to the removal of the grain you used to inoculate as sparging as well.

Many people use lab cultures of lacto, like this (for a kettle soured wort):
  1. Follow any preparation instructions from the lab you bought your culture from
  2. Mash & Sparge
  3. Boil for about 10-15 minutes to kill existing bacteria
  4. Reduce wort temperature to about 105 degrees fahrenheit (+/- 5 or even 10 degrees should be fine)
  5. Inoculate wort with lacto only
  6. Maintain warm wort temperatures until wort reaches desired level of sourness / pH, typically 2 or 3 days
  7. Boil wort again for 15 minutes. If you want to add hops this would be the time to do it
  8. Chill wort and pitch a clean Sacc' strain
  9. Ferment until terminal gravity is reached, package, chill, and quaff
 

cactusgarrett

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As Poppin and Kent suggested, I would also suggest going the kettle sour route versus a sour mash. The souring with grain is just way too uncertain: yeah it can produce, but the failure rate versus kettle souring is way higher. For just getting into wort souring, I recommend the procedure Kent provided. Temp would be dependent on the strain of lacto you use, by the way.

Once you get a procedure down, you can even source the lacto from other options (probiotic pills, yogurt, GoodBelly shots, etc.), but those are details for when you're running. Figuring out a good walking plan right now is key.
 

JLump

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I would also suggest the kettle sour route. It seems to be the most popular and it has been working for me personally very well.

Collect your wort in the kettle like normal, bring to a boil just to pasteurize, cool to 95F or so. Add lactic acid to bring it down to a ph of 4.5. This decreases chances of contamination and is very beneficial for head retention believe it or not. Add lacto culture. I use probiotic pills: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BZ3YWXC/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

I personally have just been dropping the pills(3-5) straight in, no starter.
 
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mirthfuldragon

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I did my first kettle sour this weekend. It is pretty much that simple. The mash went as normal, collecting the total volume. I boiled for a few minutes, then transferred to a sanitized bucket (HDPE is good to 248° F), covered, then chilled it in a water bath. I pitched 2 Goodbelly StraightShots ~ 100°, waited 30 hours, then re-boiled the wort, chilled, and pitched yeast.
 
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BoB Lever

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Thanks for all the input, I appreciate it and will certainly consider doing a kettle sour. However, can anyone comment if the process I posted of sour mashing was correct?
 

cactusgarrett

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That's like asking "what's the correct way to make beer?" It was noted that what you plan on doing will work, but a more reliable, less risky approach is to sour the wort.
 
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