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Laurel

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Hello Folks!
I used to post here often, but after buying a house and having a couple tries at all-grain(upgraded my setup right before buying the house - I figured that beer equip would be a low priority after we closed) flop, I kind of lost interest in brewing. A good friend is interested in brewing, and asked about making a beer sometime. Being terrified of failure, I just bought an Irish stout recipe kit from a local homebrew store and was super careful about my mash temps (I'm pretty sure high mash temps were the culprit on my (way too sweet) failed brews) and it turned out fabulously. We're running it on nitro and HWMBO has been drinking it like water. Really. A glass with breakfast, one with lunch, and all through the afternoon.

Anyway, we will be brewing in a couple weeks again and were planning on doing another batch of something similar, and something that will require more time-consuming aging. So far, I have it narrowed down to a bourbon-barrel aged stout or something sour. The idea of sour is so very alluring to me, we're huge fans of very sour beers (though not huge fans of funky belgian-y ones), and admittedly don't know enough about any of them to speak with any level of authority.

The problem - I don't know anything about the process other than it generally involves making something pretty low on the bitterness scale, fermenting out in primary with a neutral yeast, then racking into secondary and letting it chill for several months while a pellicle forms and the beer sours. After that, all the equipment needs to be sour-only (racking cane, etc). As such, I imagine we'll probably be bottling instead or tearing apart the kegerator to replace everything once that one keg's gone. So.... what do I need to know? Basic styles and their characteristics? Where do I go for good recipes? Things that I'm missing?

Thanks!
 

inhousebrew

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Get the book Wild Brew. It's a good read and has everything you need to know. There are also some good Brew Your Own articles floating around online.

I've only done two and have yet to drink either but it sounds like you have some of the basics down. I started with preformulated recipes by the pros for this one so I didn't need to worry about that aspect of it. I pitched the bug/yeast blend right from the beginning also. One other thing to think about would be pitching leftover yeast/bugs from a bottle of your favorite sour to get some more action going on in there. If you like them sour I've read this is a good thing to do and I used the Jolly Pumpkin La Roja in addition to my Roeselare Wyeast blend.

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2010/06/harvesting-sour-beer-bottle-dregs.html

Also, on final thing to consider; you said several months when in reality you should be looking at a year or more for the timeline. I'm sitting at six months (only one month with the Roja dregs) and it's just starting to get more than a faint lingering sourness.
 
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Laurel

Laurel

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Sounds interesting. I would prefer to pre-ferment with yeast in my standard carboy (I only have 1x 6.5gal carboy) and rack it off as a "standard" beer. Then all of the buggies will stay in one of my spare 5gal carboys for aging. I will look into adding the gunk from a beer we like. I imagine that involves making a starter and pitching the goo sediment from the beer in question?
 

inhousebrew

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Nope, I think you can just toss the dregs in there. Check out that link, it lists which sours you can do this with. Some breweries pasteurize their beer so it kills off everything making it unusable.
 

Dynachrome

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