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Recipe help. Belgian Sour

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millsbrew

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Hello all,

I'm trying to determine my mash and water profile for a belgian sour. I'll call it a belgian sour, because I don't know if it should be a "strong" or a "golden".

Grain bill:
9.5# German pils
.75# red wheat
.33# 20L
.33# cara-pils
.24# acid malt (2.25%)
1# D-45 candi syrup
1oz EKG @ 60min ~ 17IBU's.
Yeast: WLP 655 belg sour mix 1

I wanted the wheat for some body. I split the 20L and cara-pils to keep the color light, but still get some dextrines.

My questions:
1 - I am thinking of mashing at 156f to keep something extra for the brett/pedio/lacto. Is there any reason I shouldn't mash this high?
2 - I was going to use "Yellow Balanced" for my water profile. I'm worried the low IBU's will not be detectable after 10+ months. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
 

m00ps

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1) Get the notion out of your head that you need extra gravioty points for the bugs to chew on. Its just simply not true. I've done sours with a FG of 1.001 or 1.000 before adding the bugs and they still soured perfectly fine. Chad from Crooked Stave has been quoted saying the same. Id mash 150ish

2) Any sour that isnt kettle soured isnt gonna have any detectable IBUs. They simply cant. Either you have a decent amount, and the bugs care unable to sour it, or you have very little and let them do their thing
 
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millsbrew

millsbrew

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Thanks. Is 17 too high? I was considering dropping it to 12 since they say 15 is usually the limit on lacto.
 

m00ps

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most will say anything above 10 is pushing your luck. I think it all depends on the souring bug(s) have. A blend will definitely be more IBU tolerant. I've done 2 or 3 sours with more hops than most would consider recommended. The hop schedule for a saison looked like this.
~11%aa hop
1/4oz magnum for bittering
1 oz at 15min
3 oz at 0min, followed by 20min hopstand

sour IPA was like this
~13%aa hops
no bittering
2oz at 10min
6oz at 0min followed by 60min hopstand
8oz dry hop

Both are very sour, even after 1 month form pitching the bugs. I wouldnt worry too much about the IBUs, but definitely dont push it
 

secondbase

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I would drop the IBU to 5 or below. Anything above that will inhibit the lacto.
 

Agate

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Just for a different point of view, wlp-655 does have pedio in it, so the IBUs will be less of an issue over time. I've had some oude gueuzes that had noticeable bitterness, such as oude beersel. Also, jolly pumpkin has quite a few sours that have significant bitterness, such as Saison X. I actually found that one a little unpleasantly bitter.

So while it's true that you want to minimize IBUs to 5 or less for lactobacillus, it's not entirely true you want to avoid hops completely on a more traditional sour blend, as the pedio can tolerate pretty high IBU, in the 20-30 range.
 

secondbase

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Just for a different point of view, wlp-655 does have pedio in it, so the IBUs will be less of an issue over time. I've had some oude gueuzes that had noticeable bitterness, such as oude beersel. Also, jolly pumpkin has quite a few sours that have significant bitterness, such as Saison X. I actually found that one a little unpleasantly bitter.

So while it's true that you want to minimize IBUs to 5 or less for lactobacillus, it's not entirely true you want to avoid hops completely on a more traditional sour blend, as the pedio can tolerate pretty high IBU, in the 20-30 range.

This is true. Most lambic is hopped to inhibit the lacto and promote pedio as the prime souring bacteria. They age their beers anywhere from 1-3 years.
In my experience, I've not found first generation lab pedio to be very hop tolerant. Pedio can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to finish souring. If a shorter turnaround (<1yr) is what you're after, I wouldn't recommend anything above 10 ibu for a first gen lab culture unless you're supplementing it with some hardy dregs or house culture. If you don't mind waiting for some softer sourness, the pedio will give you some sourness if given enough time and the right wort composition.
 

Agate

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Oh, absolutely! I wasn't disagreeing with you at all, just providing a different path. With sours more than anything, there's many ways to brew them and they all end up with a somewhat different beer.
 

secondbase

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There are no right or wrong answers. Just experiences to share so you may draw your own path.
 
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millsbrew

millsbrew

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I dropped IBU's to 12 using BeerSmith with adjusted alpha/beta acids. Assuming some room for error, I'm happy with it. I brewed/pitched yesterday and it is happily fermenting away with some WLP530 as well. My plan is 2 months in primary and then transfer to secondary until it is tasty. I couldn't find anything on length in primary for WLP655. I know the brett will help with any autolysis or off flavors, and I do have some Brett B laying around in case I need it, but I really don't want too much brett character to come through . Any input is welcome on time in primary. Thanks in advance.
 

Agate

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As soon as active fermentation dies down, you could rack it. As far as length of time in secondary? I would plan for a good 7-8 months, at least. No harm in adding some dregs from some of our favorite commercial sours, too.
 
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