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How high is too high to mash?

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dawn_kiebawls

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My first batch of sour dropped to 1.002 in like 2 weeks and my second batch (when I transferred to secondary after 9 days) was at 1.009 but is actively fermenting again so I can only imagine it will hit 1.002 or below in the next few days.

First batch was mashed at 154F for 75 minutes, no mash out. Direct pitch of BugFarm2
Second batch was mashed at 156F for 45 minutes, first runnings heated to 170F and batch sparged/mashed out to raise grain bed to 170F. Straight pitch of BugCountry

I was hoping, especially for batch 2, to stop around 1.011 so the Brett and bugs can slowly graze on long chains for the next year.

I can't find any solid information but I believe the Sacch in these blends is some variety of a diasticus Saison strain since it goes so low, so fast. If this is the case, will mashing higher even make a difference?

How high would be too high to mash? I'm tempted to go to 164F on my next batch to try and make highly 'unfermentable', yet still usable wort but am concerned about tannin extraction. Is this a crazy idea? Or, should I just keep doing business as usual and trust that the bugs know what to do?


As always, thanks for all the help!
 
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goodolarchie

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I can't find any solid information but I believe the Sacch in these blends is some variety of a diasticus Saison strain since it goes so low, so fast. If this is the case, will mashing higher even make a difference?
Yeah, it will. I routinely mash at 156-158 for 50 minutes before rising to 165 (mash out). I like my final product to finish somewhere around 1P / 1.004, technically on its third fermentation in the bottle.

3711 / French saison is an incredible attenuator, it also leaves a more silky, glycerin mouthfeel to make up for it. 3724 (Dupont) might eventually finish out in the same beer 5 or 6 SG points higher than the french strain though. So you have a few dials in your initial sacch fermentation if the goal is to "leave something behind for the brett." In general though, don't conflate SG at brett pitching with the ability to make interesting beers, because it can metabolize all kinds of residual esters, phenols, fatty acids, etc., even in a 0.995 beer. It's surprising how much gas is left in the tank.

LAB on the other hand will appreciate having some available sugars (and a bit of heat), including simple sugars, if getting any lactic acid production is your goal.
 
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dawn_kiebawls

dawn_kiebawls

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LAB on the other hand will appreciate having some available sugars (and a bit of heat), including simple sugars, if getting any lactic acid production is your goal.
I'm less concerned about the Brett, as it's going to do what it's going to do. My main concern is the LAB not having enough food to make it sour (I do prefer mine to be higher on the sour scale) without having to add maltodextrin. Either way, I'm producing damn fine beers so at this point I'm just chasing 'perfection' knowing damn well it doesn't exist.

For my next batch I'll try mashing at 160-164F and see where that gets me, but I'm pretty well convinced these ECY strains could just about ferment water. Thanks for the help!
 

goodolarchie

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I always take the path that it's easy to blend acidity in, it's really hard to blend it out. So I aim for about 3.50 - 3.70 (to say nothing of TTA) for most of my fermentations. This way you can do whatever you need to make the beer great from a hopping/mashing perspective, and if your LAB doesn't get you where you want it to be, I have a puckering-sour keg that even half a gallon will reign it in, and remain stable. Just something to consider, I wish I had done this method sooner.

To force the souring stock, brew a batch with just a pinch of hops (or pull aside a few gallons before adding your hops shortly after boil). Pitch a generous amount of your favorite lacto strain overnight at around 100F, then let it cool to pitch your sacch. After a few days if your pH is above 3.4, add brett/pedio damnosus for further souring if you want... should make a very clean, puckering sour that will continue to drop. My stock dials in at around 3.05 pH (!!). On its own it will strip the tarmac off a runway, and the enamel off your teeth, but it has a great raspberry-lemon warhead tang to it, just a nice clean incredibly-sour.
 
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