Kettle Sour Blonde Attempt

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Vanderfell

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Hello everyone. I have done a number of kettle sours in the past and had great results. This will be my latest attempt at a Sour Blonde. Anyone think I am missing anything? This is about the most extensive write up I have ever done in 5 years of brewing, so criticism is great too!

Recipe Type: All Grain

Yeast: Omega Lacto Blend + Imperial Yeast Citra (Maybe Imperial Flagship/Wyeast 1056, see primary fermentation)

Yeast Starter: Yes, for the Lacto. Imperial Yeast no, as it's so fresh here in the Portland area that it will be ripping within a few hours as a direct pitch. If I am really feeling it, I will do a small start to wake the yeast up ahead of my pitch, but this is not necessary.

Batch Size (Gallons): 5 gallons (I do 15 gallons at a time, so everything here will be tripled for me)

Original Gravity: 1.062

Final Gravity: 1.008

Boiling Time (Minutes): 15 for kettle sour, 60 for regular boil

IBU: 15 - 25

Primary Fermentation: Until it is done, usually about 10-14 days. At the 7 day mark (or when fermentation has slowed down), I may pitch a fruit puree in one of the three fermenters I will have, most likely apricot. If I were adding a non-citrus fruit, which I may, I will use Imperial Flagship yeast for that batch which is the same as Wyeast 1056 American Ale. Imperial Citra is a great yeast, as it mimics some Brett-like qualities while being a Saccharomyces strain, but also as the name implies, will add a citrus like quality. If adding say sour cherries, citrus is quite the clash. Flagship/Wyeast 1056 does not add any yeast characteristics, and is a great substitution in this case.

Grain Bill:

7 lb Belgian Pilsner malt
3.5 lb White wheat
8 oz Flaked rye
8 oz Flaked oats

Hops:
1 oz Cascade at 30 minutes (I may use mosaic instead, great citrus flavor)

Water:
I am spoiled on this. Pacific Northwest water, especially in Beaverton, is pretty pristine. I have gotten into the habit of pre-boiling my water the night before. I have a half-barrel system, so I will bring 20 gallons of water to a boil for 5 minutes to boil off any chlorine, and when I get up first thing in the morning I only need to bring the temp up a few degrees for my mash. It may be more anecdotal, but I have found my beer has been coming out better since I have been doing this. It also REALLY cuts down on the brew day. I usually am able to mash in, make my coffee, shower, make a little breakfast, all before 8am with no stress, and no need to use my thinky-thinky parts early in the morning.

Other:

I add whirl-floc and Yeast nutirant at the 15 minute mark as well, as well as a 15 min whirlpool prior to chilling.

Process:

Day 1
Make a 500ml starter with the lacto blend.

Day 2
Mash day/lacto pitch
  • Conduct 60 minute mash as normal using above grain and water
  • Collect enough wort that you will end up with your desired amount for preboil/post boil volumes.
  • Bring wort to a boil.
  • Boil for 15 minutes.
  • Chill to 95-100 degrees.
  • Bubble CO2 through the wort from the bottom. DO NOT OXYGENATE. Ideally, purge O2 Out of wort with CO2. I do this for 2-3 minutes. I start the next step while bubbling CO2 into wort.
  • Cover boil kettle with saran wrap.
  • Before kettle is completely covered, pitch the lacto
  • Finish covering kettle with saran wrap
  • Put lid on kettle over the saran wrap
  • Let sit 24-36 hours. That will drop pH into 3.2-3.7 range. Sometimes, I pre-acidify with lactic acid, I may do that here. Usually in the morning and the evening I will fire the kettle until it warms back up to 90 degrees when it drops below 80.
Day 3 (which is really day 4)

Brew like a normal brew day, nothing special here. Bring to boil, follow hop schedule, finings etc, chill, pitch yeast.

What are everyone's thoughts here?
 
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RPh_Guy

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Boiling Time (Minutes): 15 for kettle sour, 60 for regular boil

IBU: 15 - 25
You can cut down the boil times if you want.

That IBU is a little high for my taste. Is that how bitter you normally make your sours?

A20 Citrus sounds interesting. I may have to give it a try some time.

Make a 500ml starter with the lacto blend.
FYI calcium carbonate buffering drastically increases cell count and greatly reduced the starter volume needed.

Bubble CO2 through the wort from the bottom. DO NOT OXYGENATE. Ideally, purge O2 Out of wort with CO2. I do this for 2-3 minutes. I start the next step while bubbling CO2 into wort.
The benefit of this is debatable. It's not needed.

Day 3: I think you meant to say something along the lines of "bring to boil, follow hop schedule, finings etc, chill, pitch yeast."

Give it a stir before boiling to get the Lacto of the bottom = less risk of THP formation.

Overall, sounds good to me. Cheers!

FWIW I'm personally not a big fan of kettle souring; I prefer to co-sour or post-sour... More flavor, less chance of something going wrong.
 
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Vanderfell

Vanderfell

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You can cut down the boil times if you want.

That IBU is a little high for my taste. Is that how bitter you normally make your sours?

A20 Citrus sounds interesting. I may have to give it a try some time.


FYI calcium carbonate buffering drastically increases cell count and greatly reduced the starter volume needed.


The benefit of this is debatable. It's not needed.

Day 3: I think you meant to say something along the lines of "bring to boil, follow hop schedule, finings etc, chill, pitch yeast."

Give it a stir before boiling to get the Lacto of the bottom = less risk of THP formation.

Overall, sounds good to me. Cheers!

FWIW I'm personally not a big fan of kettle souring; I prefer to co-sour or post-sour... More flavor, less chance of something going wrong.
Thanks for the feedback, and yes, I did mean what you said for day three.

"calcium carbonate buffering" I have never heard of this and will be looking into it for sure.

A20 Citra is pretty great. Honestly, since I started using Imperial yeast, I only use something else if I absolutely need to recipe wise. All of their stuff is pretty amazing. Me and a few friends have a barley wine sitting in a 55 gallon whiskey barrel in my garage at the moment. We used imperial Darkness for it. Great products overall.

As for the hops, I may cut it down to half an oz per 5 gallons, as I am not a fan of bitter in this style of beer either. One of the other aspects of cascade hops, that I have found at least at the 30 minute mark, is you get a little bit of crispness out of it, which I do like in a sour.
 
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