Recipe with a sour mash question...

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Mar 2, 2005
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Columbus, MS.
Today I will be making a brew with a sour mash.

Three days ago I followed these instructions: Steep 3oz 2-row pale malt in a pint of 150f water. Cover and let sit for 2-3 days.

The recipe goes on to say 'If this malt gets so stinky you could never imagine putting it anywhere but the trash can, it's perfect!' Well, lemme tell ya... IT STINKS!

Now for the questions. I believe I have done / am doing the right things but a little re-assurance would be nice.
1) After making the sour mash, should the grains and water both be kept and aged awaiting brew day or should the grains be saved and the liquid tossed (or even vice-versa). I am pretty confident that both should be aged together which is what I have done.
2) Surely you don't maintain the sour mash at 150f for three days!?! I'm sure I know the answer to this... let it get to and age at room temp after the steep...
3) On brew day, the sour mash is combined with other grains and steeped. Once again, just the liquid, just the grains or both? My intention barring any replies to this on the contrary is to use both the grains and the liquid to add to my recipe.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experiences on this matter... MAN this stuff stinks!
I'm thinking you should be using all of the liquid. You wouldn't want to steep it for 150 for 3 days. That would prohibit the micro-organism growth that makes it stinky. It also seems logical that you would drain the liquid to add to your boil, along with the runoff from the other steeped grains. You're brave to be trying such a thing since the rest of us do all we can to keep out what you'll be putting into your beer. I'm very interested to hear about the final results. What style are you making? Sounds like it would be good in a stout.
After mashing the grain at 150 degrees, you should let it sit for two to three days and try and keep it warm (about 100 degrees). Brew your beer and throw the whole mix into the mash tun with your regular mash. Mash and sparge like you normally do. The boil will kill any microorganisms that were around in the sour mash.

A buddy and I once made an entire Berliner Weiss by sour mashing the entire mash for 2-3 days. Turned out quite nice.

A buddy and I once made an entire Berliner Weiss by sour mashing the entire mash for 2-3 days. Turned out quite nice.


Berliner weisse is a style I'd like to take a shot at. Are there any commercial examples available?
Sam75 said:

Berliner weisse is a style I'd like to take a shot at. Are there any commercial examples available?


The real kicker is we made that beer in Newport News when I was stationed at Langley AFB back in 96. I know of no commercial examples available.

Here's an excerpt from the article I wrote for the HRB&TS newsletter way back when:

For a 10 gallon batch of Berliner Weiss, only 10 pounds of grain were needed (5 lb. of wheat and 5 lb. of 2-row malt) since we're shooting for an OG of 1.030. After a single-infusion mash at 151 degrees and sparging to collect 11.5 gallons, the mash was cooled to approximately 100 degrees and inoculated with freeze-dried lactobacillus capsules. The entire mash was kept insulated for 24-48 hours until the desired sourness was achieved. The wort was then boiled normally with 1 oz. Hallertauer (IBUs: 5) added at the beginning. Chilled normally and pitched with a one pint starter of Berliner Weiss ale yeast. Hopefully, this beer should turn out very sour and tart. Paul is getting some sweetening syrups from his sister in Germany so we can experience the real thing.

The beer turned out really nice and tart but I couldn't tell you if it was spot on since I have never tasted a commercial example. Hope this helps.

I'll be and my buddy (ORRELSE) are stationed at Langley, and we're headed to our first HRB&TS meeting tonight.

Thanks for the recipe....I'll copy it for future reference. Are these beers like lambics, in that they recommend using seperate equipment for them (due to bacteria and wild yeast)?
Now, I like me a good Hefe Weizen. I've been drinking them since 1975 (my 1st tour in Germany).

In '99 I went to Berlin (after a tour in Kosovo) and ordered a few of them. I went to Alexander Platz and spoke a bit of Albanian with one of the locals, but that's another story.

Berliner Weiss' actually come in red, with a raspberry syrup, and a green, which I didn't ask about because I was not impressed with either. :( I promptly ordered a HW.

I believe I'll stick with my HW.

I'll be back in Germany for a couple of weeks in July.

I have to go to: Frankfurt, Mainheim, Kaiserslautern, Ramstein, Baumholder, Friedberg, Budingen, Schweinfurt, Kitzingen and Vilseck. I've been to 8 of those cities already. Lots of beer sampling to be done. I wonder what kind of beer I'll bring back... :cool:

It's a tough job but someone's got to do it! :D

Festtime!! WooHoo!! :D