Fast Souring - Modern Methods

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Spikybits

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Barrel or Foeder? Seems like foeders like the one David Heath recently covered are very nice, but now $1100. Seems a similarly sized barrel can be found at MoreBeer for $359 plus shipping. Thoughts?
you can try a local distillery - well AZ - a winery for neutral barrels or barrels they are parting with.
 

cmhaynes

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Man, I've been homebrewing for 10 years, and I can't belive how badly I've screwed up my first attempt at this method. I've made lots of mixed fermentation beers like long-aged sours and brett saisons with fairly good results. I was really excited to try this, so I brewed up a batch with a gravity around 1.040 and pitched wlp590 and wlp644 together along with a brett strain from The Yeast Bay. After 36 hours, I pitched to GoodBelly shots, and unfortunately, after 48 hours, it had barely soured. I really wanted to dry hop before fermentation had ended so I went ahead. I used 2 ounces of Zuper Saazer in a 4 gallon batch, which ended up being way too much. The beer ended up with a pH of only 3.94, and of course there is no bitterness at all. The dry hops are very harsh, and I get this slight aftertaste of mustard, probably due to the hint of sourness mixed with the hops. I should have just dumped the batch, but I went ahead and bottled. It was at 1.002, so based on previous experience, I thought I should be fine. Now today, after a bit more than 3 weeks in the bottle, I opened one and it gushed pretty badly. I think I'm just going to have to pour all these down the drain at this point, because I don't have enough space in fridge fot the bottles, and they taste too bad to drink anyway. So, there are lessons to learn no matter how long you've been brewing. Next time, I'll make a starter for the lactobacillus, and I won't dry hop a beer like this with a hop I've never used before.
 
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RPh_Guy

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Man, I've been homebrewing for 10 years, and I can't belive how badly I've screwed up my first attempt at this method. I've made lots of mixed fermentation beers like long-aged sours and brett saisons with fairly good results. I was really excited to try this, so I brewed up a batch with a gravity around 1.040 and pitched wlp590 and wlp644 together along with a brett strain from The Yeast Bay. After 36 hours, I pitched to GoodBelly shots, and unfortunately, after 48 hours, it had barely soured. I really wanted to dry hop before fermentation had ended so I went ahead. I used 2 ounces of Zuper Saazer in a 4 gallon batch, which ended up being way too much. The beer ended up with a pH of only 3.94, and of course there is no bitterness at all. The dry hops are very harsh, and I get this slight aftertaste of mustard, probably due to the hint of sourness mixed with the hops. I should have just dumped the batch, but I went ahead and bottled. It was at 1.002, so based on previous experience, I thought I should be fine. Now today, after a bit more than 3 weeks in the bottle, I opened one and it gushed pretty badly. I think I'm just going to have to pour all these down the drain at this point, because I don't have enough space in fridge fot the bottles, and they taste too bad to drink anyway. So, there are lessons to learn no matter how long you've been brewing. Next time, I'll make a starter for the lactobacillus, and I won't dry hop a beer like this with a hop I've never used before.
Did you use glucoamylase?
 

cmhaynes

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Did you use glucoamylase?
Alas, I did not. I now see that it was crucial, but at the time, I thought the low gravity, long low mash and agressive yeast would be enough as it's worked for me many times in the past. Now I'm wondering if it was just a matter of time before this caught up with me. The gushing gives me an excuse to just dump it all instead of choking it down. With no bitterness or sourness to balance it, along with the strange hop character, this beer is not pleasant to drink. The only positive is the aroma. Lesson learned.

*Edit: Opened another bottle yesterday, and it didn't gush at all and had normal carbonation. Strangely, it was as clear as a filtered beer even though I used French Saison and 644! Anyway, it's weird, but I guess I have to drink it now. Maybe when the hops fade a bit and the brett comes out it will be a bit more drinkable.
 
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Barbarossa

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I'm planning a Berliner weisse beer. I saw a video where the guys made all kind of tests and figured out that the most sour they could get was to let the Lactobacillus for a week alone, then pitch the yeast.

Seems a bit risky for my first attempt. Should I just do the co-souring method?

I'm will use yeast 5335 (buchneri) and wyeast 1007 (German ale).
 

Brewer dad

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Hop tea vs dry hopping question/s.

What is the difference overall between the two in regards to impact on the overall flavor? Does tea add more bitterness vs flavor/aroma? Would doing both(maybe with lighter doses) layer flavors in a beneficial way? Finally, is one generally recommended over the other for novices in particular?

I started a wlp644 post sour yesterday(man that stuff smells good). Made a lacto starter from Swanson capsules which I will pitch tomorrow morning. I have some Idaho Gem hops which I was hoping to use. I'm just doing extract batches in fermonsters/carboys, don't have any oxygen purging capabilities yet. My thought would be to either make tea(added to bottling bucket), or add dry hop before end of fermentation to diminish oxidation. For this first batch I'm keeping it fairly simple to get idea of process/flavors.

Thanks so much

@RPh_Guy and @Beer666 for all your help so far, as well as everyone else who has contributed to this thread!

*Edit to clarify when I'd add tea
 
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RPh_Guy

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I'm planning a Berliner weisse beer. I saw a video where the guys made all kind of tests and figured out that the most sour they could get was to let the Lactobacillus for a week alone, then pitch the yeast.

Seems a bit risky for my first attempt. Should I just do the co-souring method?

I'm will use yeast 5335 (buchneri) and wyeast 1007 (German ale).
5335 (bacterial culture) is incompatible with this method, and I don't recommend that culture in general because it's slow and requires higher temperature.


What is the difference overall between the two in regards to impact on the overall flavor? Does tea add more bitterness vs flavor/aroma? Would doing both(maybe with lighter doses) layer flavors in a beneficial way? Finally, is one generally recommended over the other for novices in particular?
Making the tea is a little more work than dry hopping. The hop tea is my preferred method because it avoids oxidation issues, allows a longer period of souring, and adds a little more bitterness which is important for overall beer character in my opinion. The flavor is comparable between them, although I may prefer the flavor from hop tea. I typically boil for 5 minutes and then chill in an ice bath. I've had the best results adding the entirety of the tea (including the hop material, contained in a hop sock or otherwise). I have tried using a French press but wasn't too thrilled with it. Still experimenting to fine-tune the process.

Cheers
 

Brewer dad

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Did a post sour with WLP644 that came out great! Went with a hop tea with Idaho Gem, will play with the hop/water ratio a little I did 1/2 oz to 1L. Used Swanson capsules from Amazon, they arrived perfectly fine.

Quite an interesting beer for what is really a simple process. I encourage anyone, even newer Brewers such as myself, to give this a shot. As for me up next is a Flanders red with WY5526 to give Brett a shot.
 

Beer666

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This is my latest fast and funky sour. It already has the seal of approval from one of my friends and is slowly clearing in the keg. I ran out of barley so this was my first ever beer without any.

20210518_144602.jpg

No boil no chill.
OG 1040 FG 1002
Ferment at 25c for 2 weeks then left to clear for a further week before racking for another week.

80% crisp wheat
20% flaked oats
WLP644 and WLP648 brett
soured with WLP673 lacto buchneri

I tasted it after racking and it was incredibly fruity. I added 50g of European hop pellets infused with oak powder. First time using them and i wasn't very impressed so added 30g of medium oak chip tea and 60g of USA hops. Mosaic and citra possibly. The odd flavour from the first lot of pellets has slowly faded.
and i am finding it really drinkable.
 

ryking13

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Making sour beer doesn't need to be complicated!
These techniques are a good alternative to the antiquated kettle souring method.

Co-Souring Method:
  • Make unhopped wort. Chill as normal.
  • Pitch Lactobacillus plantarum and the yeast of your choice.
  • Ferment as normal, at 65°F or higher.
  • Optional/recommended add hops when it reaches the desired sourness. (Dry hops or hop tea)
  • Package as normal.
Post-Souring Method:
Same as co-souring, except pitch the Lactobacillus after 1-2 days of fermentation (or 8-12 hours if using kveik and fermenting hot).

Post-souring is designed to maximize yeast flavor. It's great if you want to use an estery yeast like WLP644 (Sacc Trois) for example, which adds a nice tropical pineapple & mango profile.


FAQ
Q: Won't the Lacto ruin my equipment or contaminate my other beers?
A: No. Normal cleaning and sanitation procedures easily remove L. plantarum. Furthermore, L. plantarum is extremely hop-sensitive and will not sour your clean beers with hops, even if you directly add it. These techniques actually have LESS risk overall of contamination compared to kettle souring.

Q: Where do I get L. plantarum?
A: Several sources are readily available in the US: Swanson's L. plantarum capsules can be purchased online. GoodBelly liquid probiotic and Renew Life Ultimate Flora are both widely available in stores. Many are now even keeping the Renew Life refrigerated, which is awesome. Lallemand offers pure L. plantarum as WildBrew Sour Pitch. Other yeast labs sell Lacto blends of L. plantarum mixed with other species, often L. brevis (use these blends at your own risk because they are more hop-tolerant).
Store the Lacto in the refrigerator. The dry capsules will last a very long time.

Q: Do I need to make a starter for the Lacto?
A: Using a starter is highly recommended to ensure the culture is active.
Starter procedure for co-souring: 1-2 days before brewing, make about 200-500mL unhopped wort in a sanitary container. Add the Lacto and a few grams of calcium carbonate. Cover and let sit at room temp. When pitching, decant it off of the calcium carbonate.
Starter procedure for post-souring: After chilling, drain about 200-500mL wort into a sanitized jar. Add the Lacto and a few grams of calcium carbonate. Cover and let sit at room temp. When pitching, decant it off of the calcium carbonate.
The calcium carbonate is not completely necessary but it helps increase the Lacto growth.

Q: How much Lacto do I pitch?
A: Pitch rate isn't very important, but using a starter (at least 200mL per 5 gal) is the best way to ensure the culture will sour quickly.

Q: Won't it take months to sour?
A. No. L. plantarum sours quickly (within a couple days) anywhere in the range of 65-100°F. It will finish in the same timeframe as non-sour beer. I've gone from grain to packaging in 3 days.

Q: How long should I boil the wort?
A: Boiling is entirely optional since we don't need to isomerize alpha acids in hops. Mash temperature pasteurizes the wort.

Q: What amount of hops should I add?
A: Anywhere from 0.5 oz to 1 oz per 5 gallons adds a nice hop character (in my opinion) and completely inhibits further souring.

Q: Do the bacteria add flavor?
A: Generally, yes, depending on the source of L. plantarum you use. Frequently the Lacto contributes a nice lemony citrus tartness, notes of berry and melon, and possibly some slight funk. Adding hops after reaching desired sourness will reduce the funk complexity. The Renew Life blend probably adds more flavor than a single species culture and it also creates a more funky profile when used at high temperature (e.g. when souring with kveik at 95°F).

Q: Will it continue to sour if I don't add hops?
A: Yes, possibly, but Lacto's ability to produce acid is self-limiting. Normally this species finishes around pH 3.1-3.3.

Q: What is hop tea?
A: Boil the hops for 5-10 minutes in 300-500mL of chlorine-free water. Dump it into your batch. If you add it at bottling, strain through a hop sock. Added bitterness will be minimal.

Q: Do I need a pH meter?
A: Not really. If you're inclined to stop the souring before it finishes naturally, you can do it by taste.

Q: Do I need to pre-acidify the wort?
A: Nope!

Q: Should I pitch more yeast than normal, or add yeast at bottling?
A: Nope!

Q: Can I use yeast cake from a previous batch?
A: Only if there were absolutely no hops in the batch from which you harvested it.

Q: Will the beer benefit from aging?
A: Nope!

Q: Is this beer probiotic?
A: Yes!

Please share your experience with these techniques. Happy to answer any questions!
Cheers!
:mug:
If adding fruit, does it matter if you add hops before/after fruit additions? Thanks!
 

FrozenOcean

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I am working on a pineapple (1 lb fresh in boil) mango (5 lbs frozen in primary) beer co-soured with London Ale III and l. plantarum. It's tasting great after 3 weeks (about 4 days on the mango).

I plan to dry hop with 0.5 oz Amarillo, 0.5 oz Citra. Should I (or do I need to) make a hop tea? I want to get some hops in there for aroma and to stop the plantarum (and hopefully use my fermenter again without fear). Will the dry hop accomplish all that?
 

doogie

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I plan to dry hop with 0.5 oz Amarillo, 0.5 oz Citra. Should I (or do I need to) make a hop tea? I want to get some hops in there for aroma and to stop the plantarum (and hopefully use my fermenter again without fear). Will the dry hop accomplish all that?
It has done all that the 3 times I have made these sours. I just dry hop (no tea) with an ounce of hops (normally Citra or something similar).
 

DuncB

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I'm planning on using the lallemand philly sour yeast to make a sour ipa ( for the challenge ) got some for bargain basement price .
Any special water adjustments for this kind of thing ? I assume open ferment and it says reasonably tolerant of hops. My recipe is all whirlpool hops.
Temperature says between 20 and 27 is it fruitier at the higher end? I was thinking of a balanced mash to provide a good bit of glucose to kick it all off
so 62 for half an hour then raise to 69 for half an hour and then mash out at 76.
Grains are maris otter, pilsner, wheat and acidulated malt.
Wondering if I can substitute lactic acid for the acidulated malt and just add some more grain?

My first planned sour beer so any advice, not too late for me to abandon the plan.
 

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I brewed a basic sour recipe, added 2 capsules of goodbelly probiotic along with US-05. 1.5weeks later I kegged and it isn't sour at all. I've had luck just adding these capsules in the past. Did I just get lucky before and I need to find a more consistent souring source?
 

toadie

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I think it makes sense to do a lacto starter 3 days before brewing plus you should rely on a ph meter to get an idea where it is and if it is progressing.
 

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@ryking13 next time take some wort from the end of your mash or boil to make a lactobacillus starter with it, then pitch it into the fermenting beer 24 hours later.

I use the method described here and never had a problem: Sour beer - Brewing Forward wiki (with recommended calcium carbonate amount, and using wort from the batch, I don't add any nutrients).

I use a single capsule every time, in 200-300ml of wort. My capsules expired a while ago btw (I keep them in the fridge), but the starters work anyway.

Btw, make sure to decant the calcium carbonate, you don't want to introduce it into your batch when pitching the lacto.
 

ryking13

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@ryking13 next time take some wort from the end of your mash or boil to make a lactobacillus starter with it, then pitch it into the fermenting beer 24 hours later.

I use the method described here and never had a problem: Sour beer - Brewing Forward wiki (with recommended calcium carbonate amount, and using wort from the batch, I don't add any nutrients).

I use a single capsule every time, in 200-300ml of wort. My capsules expired a while ago btw (I keep them in the fridge), but the starters work anyway.

Btw, make sure to decant the calcium carbonate, you don't want to introduce it into your batch when pitching the lacto.
Thanks, that's helpful. 2 questions: 1) doesn't putting the lacto in later than ale yeast reduce the sourness? 2) is there a way to tell the starter is "successful" and will sour correctly?
 

tizoc

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1) probably not, you may be pitching it later, but you are pitching a far higher amount. It is the only method I have ever used, so I cannot really compare, but with this method I get pretty good sourness quickly. Btw, when making sours I always try to ferment at about 20C or more (or at least to have reached that temperature by the time I pitch the lacto 20-24hs later)
2) I just smell it, but I guess you could take a sample and check the pH
 

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I brewed a basic sour recipe, added 2 capsules of goodbelly probiotic along with US-05. 1.5weeks later I kegged and it isn't sour at all. I've had luck just adding these capsules in the past. Did I just get lucky before and I need to find a more consistent souring source?
There are reports throughout this thread about capsules not working. It seems that more often than not they will work, but even in-date they can fail (it's probably to do with how they were handled before they hit the shop shelf). The safest option is to either make a lacto starter a few days before, or use lallemand/wildbrew sourpitch (expensive, but you only need a quarter of the recommended dose rate using the co-pitch souring method, so a packet lasts for about 100 gallons of beer).
 

ryking13

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There are reports throughout this thread about capsules not working. It seems that more often than not they will work, but even in-date they can fail (it's probably to do with how they were handled before they hit the shop shelf). The safest option is to either make a lacto starter a few days before, or use lallemand/wildbrew sourpitch (expensive, but you only need a quarter of the recommended dose rate using the co-pitch souring method, so a packet lasts for about 100 gallons of beer).
How do you keep the non-used yeast from the packet of sourpitch? Just vacuum seal and freeze?
 

Gnomebrewer

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I just fold the packet over a couple of times and tape it, then put it in a sealed container in the fridge.
 

Gnomebrewer

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It doesn't need the dose rate they say if you're co-pitching. I'm assuming the dose rate they give is meant for kettle souring, where you want the souring to happen typically overnight. With co-souring it has a much longer time-frame to work, so a lower dose seems to be OK. I go with a quarter to half of the listed rate. The recommended dosage is 10g per 100L, which roughly equates to 2g for a 5 gallon batch. So I use 1/2 a gram to 1g per 5 gallons of wort.
 

ryking13

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It doesn't need the dose rate they say if you're co-pitching. I'm assuming the dose rate they give is meant for kettle souring, where you want the souring to happen typically overnight. With co-souring it has a much longer time-frame to work, so a lower dose seems to be OK. I go with a quarter to half of the listed rate. The recommended dosage is 10g per 100L, which roughly equates to 2g for a 5 gallon batch. So I use 1/2 a gram to 1g per 5 gallons of wort.
Awesome! Thanks for all the help.
 
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