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Can you sour any beer?

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cmdrico7812

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This might be a dumb question, but can you turn any beer into a sour (ala Jolly Pumpkin brewery)? Could I, for example, brew up a straightforward amber ale and, and it's finished its primary fermentation, add Brett and let it sour? Does it work that way? Just curious. thanks
 

peck

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Yes, I believe so. I have a chunk of oak which I left in a sour fermentation. After I finished that fermentation, I would take that chunk of oak and throw it into a normal batch. It would sour it quite nicely and fairly quickly too.
 

boxcar

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you can, but some styles lend to "souring" better than other imho.

also, just adding brett wont necessarily add "sour". Orval for example, isn't particularly sour, but has alot of leather like funk
 

boxcar

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Yes, I believe so. I have a chunk of oak which I left in a sour fermentation. After I finished that fermentation, I would take that chunk of oak and throw it into a normal batch. It would sour it quite nicely and fairly quickly too.
not to hijack, but I have been thinking about using the "dowel in the stopper" for this very reason. Getting a dowel good and infested with brett, and then using that in the stopper instead of an airlock when I want to add brett to the secondary.
 

brewmonger

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Brett doesn't sour a beer that much, it mostly adds the funky "barnyard" aroma. Also, I think Jolly Pumpkin actually uses wild yeast harvested in an open fermentation.
 

boxcar

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IIRC jolly pumpkin pitches yeast like any other brewery, but ferments in an open fermenter, which they claim adds some of the character to their beer, but most of their brett funk comes from the barrels they age their beer in
 

squeekysheep

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you gotta be carfull with bret too if you us a 80% yeast and then pitch brett and bottle in 3 weeks and leave those bottles for to long they will blow up as brett will finish most of that 20% over time.
 

peck

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not to hijack, but I have been thinking about using the "dowel in the stopper" for this very reason. Getting a dowel good and infested with brett, and then using that in the stopper instead of an airlock when I want to add brett to the secondary.
Hmm... I'm a little confused by this. Wouldn't it be more efficient to just drop the dowel in the beer? Or are you worried about contamination of your dowel with whatever Sach you're using?
 

nealf

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Hmm... I'm a little confused by this. Wouldn't it be more efficient to just drop the dowel in the beer? Or are you worried about contamination of your dowel with whatever Sach you're using?
Someone correct me if I am wrong... but, I think the use of a dowel allows for "microoxygenation" the same way aging in a barrel would work. It allows for the exchange of small amounts of oxygen over time to the beer so that, in theory, the brett can stay healthier longer.

Neal
 

zoebisch01

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Neal is correct on this, the main reason a dowel is used is to restrict O2 transfer into the environment. The permeability of plastic is very high and glass is essentially a medium that allows no O2 transfer, so the dowel allows a decent surface area for a standard carboy. Now the bugs can possibly take up residence in the Dowel, but it would be a crap shoot if there is a significant amount to get a solid inoculation in a future batch. In the case of an immersed chunk, it seems reasonable that this should work. Personally, I'd just choose to reserve a small amount of inoculating liquid and refrigerate it.

As to the OP, as has been answered...some styles just lend themselves better to being soured.
 

brewmonger

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Neal is correct on this, the main reason a dowel is used is to restrict O2 transfer into the environment. The permeability of plastic is very high and glass is essentially a medium that allows no O2 transfer, so the dowel allows a decent surface area for a standard carboy. Now the bugs can possibly take up residence in the Dowel, but it would be a crap shoot if there is a significant amount to get a solid inoculation in a future batch. In the case of an immersed chunk, it seems reasonable that this should work. Personally, I'd just choose to reserve a small amount of inoculating liquid and refrigerate it.

As to the OP, as has been answered...some styles just lend themselves better to being soured.
Brett lives in wood, from what I understand. Also, if you are planning on aging your beer for a while, I don't think it should take much to inocculate the beer with brett & lactic bugs. If the conditions are right for them, they will do their thing if you give them time.
 

boxcar

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Hmm... I'm a little confused by this. Wouldn't it be more efficient to just drop the dowel in the beer? Or are you worried about contamination of your dowel with whatever Sach you're using?
sorry, I wasnt very clear. I would be using the dowel to infect successive batches of beer. instead of buying new cultures, just stick the dowel in the beer, much the same way people use innoculated wood chips
 

boxcar

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Brett lives in wood, from what I understand. Also, if you are planning on aging your beer for a while, I don't think it should take much to inocculate the beer with brett & lactic bugs. If the conditions are right for them, they will do their thing if you give them time.

qft. after a year or two, I dont think it matters too much in regards to pitching rates. I bretted up a beer quite nicely with just one bottle of orval dregs
 

brewmonger

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qft. after a year or two, I dont think it matters too much in regards to pitching rates. I bretted up a beer quite nicely with just one bottle of orval dregs
That's what I'm saying. High ABV might inhibit lacto, but brett can handle fairly high alcohol.

Barring high alcohol, it doesn't take much to inoculate your beer with this stuff. If you give it time, it will do its job.
 

ftlstrings

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So, i could take a coupla cases of Busch Lightning, fill up a carboy, add some brett, and get a Belgian Sour?

Awesome!
:cross::cross::cross::cross:

~M~
(sorry, couldn't resist)
 

flyangler18

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This is going to be a very interesting release from Victory:



Hop Devil + Brettanomyces = WIN.
 

OldDogBrewing

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Technically, yes, you can sour any beer, even high gravity ones, Pedio can do it's thing in really alcoholic beers, if it tastes good or not, is another subject, as roasty or smoky beers tend to taste weird or even bad, no every beer will be bad but most attempts will

I see this is an old post but for everyone who might be asking themselves if you can sour anything, yes you can with the right conditions and time, well maybe you can't sour one of those big beers distilled by freezing, I have no idea how lactic acid would evolved if submitted to ice distillation
 

Snuffy

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Technically, yes, you can sour any beer, even high gravity ones, Pedio can do it's thing in really alcoholic beers, if it tastes good or not, is another subject, as roasty or smoky beers tend to taste weird or even bad, no every beer will be bad but most attempts will

I see this is an old post but for everyone who might be asking themselves if you can sour anything, yes you can with the right conditions and time, well maybe you can't sour one of those big beers distilled by freezing, I have no idea how lactic acid would evolved if submitted to ice distillation
Have you ever soured something that was not great when it was done? I have only co-soured one Saison with LP and it came out well. I have heard that high IBU beers like some IPAs don't sour well, but that is not a big issue with LP cause you can't hop til the end of fermentation so it's not that easy to get a high IBU with hop tea and dry hops. What styles sour best IYO?
 

OldDogBrewing

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Have you ever soured something that was not great when it was done? I have only co-soured one Saison with LP and it came out well. I have heard that high IBU beers like some IPAs don't sour well, but that is not a big issue with LP cause you can't hop til the end of fermentation so it's not that easy to get a high IBU with hop tea and dry hops. What styles sour best IYO?
I've only made 3 sours (traditional ones) and in the three of them I avoided bitterness so I didn't stopped lacto growth and roasty and any other harsh flavour, two of them turned out really good, the other one is still in the fermenter as it's an spontaneous one and needs time

In my opinion, blond beers are the best to sour as it's harder to create any flavour that will taste bad with the sourness, if you are brewing using traditional methods, bitterness and high IBUs is a no no, although some strains can keep with a high level of IBUs (Jolly Pumpkin strain is known to go as high as 35 IBUs)

The thing with IPAs is that hops don't behave the same way at different pH levels so you need to take that into account, NEIPA in my opinion are pretty sour friendly if done right, following an already tried receipe and hopping schedule, specially dry hopping schedule, should give you pretty good results using L. plantarum through the modern sour method and then dry hopping it, bitterness can be added through extracts or hop teas but I really can't see a West Coast tasting good but who know, logic tells me that bitterness would be way more noticeable and harsher when sour as it happens with smokiness and roasty notes, something to take into account if making a bitter sour

Tripels can be a good option to sour too, I've been planning it for some time but never brewed one yet, but sounds good, anything blonde and belgian sounds good when it comes to sours really, you can really sour a dubbel or a quad if not using roasty malts but IMO, the darker the sour is, the harder it gets to make it right so it's better to stick to the blond ones for the first sours and then try with trusted and tried dark sours before creating your own grist
 

Snuffy

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I've only made 3 sours (traditional ones) and in the three of them I avoided bitterness so I didn't stopped lacto growth and roasty and any other harsh flavour, two of them turned out really good, the other one is still in the fermenter as it's an spontaneous one and needs time

In my opinion, blond beers are the best to sour as it's harder to create any flavour that will taste bad with the sourness, if you are brewing using traditional methods, bitterness and high IBUs is a no no, although some strains can keep with a high level of IBUs (Jolly Pumpkin strain is known to go as high as 35 IBUs)

The thing with IPAs is that hops don't behave the same way at different pH levels so you need to take that into account, NEIPA in my opinion are pretty sour friendly if done right, following an already tried receipe and hopping schedule, specially dry hopping schedule, should give you pretty good results using L. plantarum through the modern sour method and then dry hopping it, bitterness can be added through extracts or hop teas but I really can't see a West Coast tasting good but who know, logic tells me that bitterness would be way more noticeable and harsher when sour as it happens with smokiness and roasty notes, something to take into account if making a bitter sour

Tripels can be a good option to sour too, I've been planning it for some time but never brewed one yet, but sounds good, anything blonde and belgian sounds good when it comes to sours really, you can really sour a dubbel or a quad if not using roasty malts but IMO, the darker the sour is, the harder it gets to make it right so it's better to stick to the blond ones for the first sours and then try with trusted and tried dark sours before creating your own grist
I think I will try a Tripel for my next sour. Belgian styles seem to naturally go well with souring. The Saison I did used BE-134 yeast and it worked well with the Swansons LP capsules. I may beef up the dry hop volume a bit. Didn't get much hop character at all using half the hops after fermentation stopped. I split the batch and made tea from 1/2 the bittering hops and then dry hopped with half the dry hops in the sour batch. Boiled and hopped the other half per recipe. Very different beers from the same kit. Sour half is the best. Wish I'd just soured the whole 5 gals now, but being my first try, I was a bit gun shy.

Thanks for the response. Cheers! :bigmug:
 

OldDogBrewing

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I think I will try a Tripel for my next sour. Belgian styles seem to naturally go well with souring. The Saison I did used BE-134 yeast and it worked well with the Swansons LP capsules. I may beef up the dry hop volume a bit. Didn't get much hop character at all using half the hops after fermentation stopped. I split the batch and made tea from 1/2 the bittering hops and then dry hopped with half the dry hops in the sour batch. Boiled and hopped the other half per recipe. Very different beers from the same kit. Sour half is the best. Wish I'd just soured the whole 5 gals now, but being my first try, I was a bit gun shy.

Thanks for the response. Cheers! :bigmug:
IMO splitting batches seems a good approach, if you keep the hops similar, you can see which difference makes sourness by comparing them, at least in the first batches, looks like an interesting approach

I brew 1 gallon batches as it allows me to brew a lot more styles than bigger volumes, I prefer variety over quantity so I can't really split them, but if I could, it's something I would definitely do
 

Snuffy

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IMO splitting batches seems a good approach, if you keep the hops similar, you can see which difference makes sourness by comparing them, at least in the first batches, looks like an interesting approach

I brew 1 gallon batches as it allows me to brew a lot more styles than bigger volumes, I prefer variety over quantity so I can't really split them, but if I could, it's something I would definitely do
Splitting is fine, but it's kind of a PitA. I had to build the wort using my Mash and Boil unit at mashing temps and then cool it down to pitching temp, pull off 2.5 gals unhopped for souring and then fire it back up to boil again to finish the other half per recipe - which meant yet another pass with the old chiller coil. Makes for a long brew day.
 

OldDogBrewing

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Splitting is fine, but it's kind of a PitA. I had to build the wort using my Mash and Boil unit at mashing temps and then cool it down to pitching temp, pull off 2.5 gals unhopped for souring and then fire it back up to boil again to finish the other half per recipe - which meant yet another pass with the old chiller coil. Makes for a long brew day.
Yes, it's more work during the brew day, is really up to you to see if it's worth it or not

I think a basic tripel can work really nice with sourness so I'm sure you'll be able to drink through a whole batch
 
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Have you ever soured something that was not great when it was done? I have only co-soured one Saison with LP and it came out well. I have heard that high IBU beers like some IPAs don't sour well, but that is not a big issue with LP cause you can't hop til the end of fermentation so it's not that easy to get a high IBU with hop tea and dry hops. What styles sour best IYO?
I made a sour out of buckwheat, chili, lemon zest, and soy sauce to recreate a beer from one of our favorite soups. Long story, don't ask.

End result: a sour that has a distinct umami flavor. My wife loves it. I'm thinking it needs to be blended, as I thinking the umami is too strong.

I am going with the guys on the Manhattan Project on this one, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."
 
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I've only made 3 sours (traditional ones) and in the three of them I avoided bitterness so I didn't stopped lacto growth and roasty and any other harsh flavour, two of them turned out really good, the other one is still in the fermenter as it's an spontaneous one and needs time

In my opinion, blond beers are the best to sour as it's harder to create any flavour that will taste bad with the sourness, if you are brewing using traditional methods, bitterness and high IBUs is a no no, although some strains can keep with a high level of IBUs (Jolly Pumpkin strain is known to go as high as 35 IBUs)

The thing with IPAs is that hops don't behave the same way at different pH levels so you need to take that into account, NEIPA in my opinion are pretty sour friendly if done right, following an already tried receipe and hopping schedule, specially dry hopping schedule, should give you pretty good results using L. plantarum through the modern sour method and then dry hopping it, bitterness can be added through extracts or hop teas but I really can't see a West Coast tasting good but who know, logic tells me that bitterness would be way more noticeable and harsher when sour as it happens with smokiness and roasty notes, something to take into account if making a bitter sour

Tripels can be a good option to sour too, I've been planning it for some time but never brewed one yet, but sounds good, anything blonde and belgian sounds good when it comes to sours really, you can really sour a dubbel or a quad if not using roasty malts but IMO, the darker the sour is, the harder it gets to make it right so it's better to stick to the blond ones for the first sours and then try with trusted and tried dark sours before creating your own grist
Reds/Ambers make good sours too. I can't keep my Flanders Red Sour in stock with my friends and family, as it takes 8 months to 1 year to make a batch.
 

OldDogBrewing

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Reds/Ambers make good sours too. I can't keep my Flanders Red Sour in stock with my friends and family, as it takes 8 months to 1 year to make a batch.
Flanders red and oud bruins are really tasty, although here in Spain we just get the mainstream (big breweries) ones, and apparently there are some small breweries making amazing stuff in Belgium
 
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