Sour Cherry Wheat (Fast and Fake Kriek)

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Buxton

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Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
WLP320
Yeast Starter
No
Additional Yeast or Yeast Starter
Wyeast 5335
Batch Size (Gallons)
5.5
Original Gravity
1.065
Final Gravity
1.012
Boiling Time (Minutes)
90
IBU
25
Color
18 (Red/Pinkish)
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
7 Days @ 68-72 degrees F
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
14 days @ 68
Additional Fermentation
Cold crash @32 degrees for 4 days before kegging.
Tasting Notes
Fantastic tart cherry beer!
I wanted to make a beer that was sour and cherry flavored without having to do all of the work of a turbid mash, or wait the year+ that Kriek Lambics take to age for tartness, so I decided to make a Cherry Wheat beer, using a sour mash method. It's not as difficult as it sounds but gives the tartness I crave, and the cherry flavor I love.

Recipe: All grain, 5.5 Gallon Batch

Grist:
-6 lbs. White Wheat Malt
-3 lbs. Pilsner Malt
-12 oz. Acidulated Malt

Hops
-Tettnang 1.5 oz. for 60 min.

Water
Moderate water, I used a 75% Carbon filter 25% RO water combination, the acidulated malt brings down the mash pH quite a bit so you don't want to go too soft.

***SOUR MASH***
This step is essential if you want a sourish beer, which I did. This step also MUST be done at the very least, 2 days before brew day although I recommend 3.

In any kitchen pot take 4 Qt. of tap water and bring it to 162 F., add 3 lbs. of milled Pilsner malt and keep it at 162 degrees for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes ramp the temperature up to 170 degrees F. for 10 minutes. After this is done let the mash cool down below 120 degrees F. When you are below 120 degrees F., move the mash to a small cooler, or pitcher that can be sealed off (you want to make sure you try to avoid any agitation of this sour mash the entire time during both rests). Then pitch the wyeast 5335 Lactobacillius packet to the mash try as hard as you can not to agitate the mash as you want to pick up as little oxygen as possible. When you have pitched the Lacto culture cover the mash in the container with sanitized plastic wrap to try to keep any oxygen from permeating into the sour mash. Let this sit in a warm environment, not to exceed 120 degrees F. I covered my sour mash vessel in a heating blanket for 3 days until brew day.

Brew Day

Brew like you normally would, I did a single infusion at 152 degrees for 60 min followed by a mash out at 170 for 15 min. The trick is to add the sour mash to your lauter. This way of sour mashing gives the most sourness to the final beer. Lauter for a good 20 minutes or so to allow all of the sour mash to get into your wort, then run off to the kettle for a 90 minute boil. Add the Tettnang hops for 60 min. I add 2 lbs of frozen cherries, found in my local grocery store frozen food section to the last 15 minutes of my boil when I also add Irish moss. At the end of boil cool your wort to 68 degrees F. and pitch the WLP 320 yeast. After it has gone terminal in about a week or so, rack to secondary and add 5 lbs of frozen cherries, but first pasteurize them by "boiling" them at 160 degrees F. in a ziplock bag for 15 min. Cool the cherries first of course, let the beer sit on the cherries for 2 weeks, follow that by a cold crash for 3 days and then keg or bottle as you normally would. You don't need to worry about contamination to any of your equipment either since the lactobaciillus is killed during the boil.

This beer is fantastic, has a great sourness, and delicious cherry flavor as well. It also doesn't take 1-3 years to ferment. Sour mashing is so quick and easy comparatively. Let me know if your batches turn out as well as mine. Keg was gone in a couple weeks.
 
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Buxton

Buxton

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Yeah, it doesn't even have to be a fruit beer. A local brewery where I live used this technique for a sour brown. I just wanted to make a kriek style beer without the time of fermentation.


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Theodokos

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Just for clarity: Is the 3lbs of Pilsner malt in the grain bill is for the sour mash?

Can't wait to try this: going to modify and use raspberries. Thanks for posting!


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Theodokos

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Just for clarity: Is the 3lbs of Pilsner malt in the grain bill is for the sour mash?

Can't wait to try this: going to modify and use raspberries. Thanks for posting!


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OP
Buxton

Buxton

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No I use 3 lbs separately. So it's closer to a 50-50 pilsner to wheat recipe. Traditional lambics are 70-30 pils to wheat but this is a hybrid wheat and sour beer. I encourage anyone who tried this to do a little research on sour mashing before they do it. I explained the very basics of it. BYO has a pretty informative article you can find by google searching on sour mash that I found useful. Good luck. Let me know how your brew turns out.


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Bluelinebrewer

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Interesting.. I may try this with raspberries instead of cherries also. I've been looking for a good raspberry sour for my first sour, and this looks pretty easy!


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UberHasselhoff

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I'm getting ready to try this technique this weekend and had a couple questions:

1) I have a pretty bad chloramine problem with my water. Do you think adding a small amount of campden to the 4QTs of sour mash will harm the Lacto? Maybe it's just better to use distilled/RO.

2) I found the BYO article you suggested (http://byo.com/stories/item/1691-sour-mashing-techniques) and it talked a lot about monitoring the pH level so that it doesn't drop below 5.2 for the yeast. Have you had to deal with this at all?

Thanks guys!
 
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Buxton

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Don't use RO or Distilled water for the sour mash. It will already drop the pH a lot with the production of the lactic acid from the lactobacillus, I'd use tap water and add a campden tablet to take care of your chloramine problem the night before you mash. If your pH drops too low for yeast tolerance then add chalk to bring it back up.


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Keith66

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Hopefully you're still around after a year, Buxton, I have a question. I live up in the granitic Sierra Nevada mountains in CA, so my tap water is very clean and soft. You mentioned adding chalk. Please explain. And thanks!
 
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Buxton

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Yeah no problem. You can order calcium carbonate online from any homebrew shop or site, it is chalk essentially. It helps bring the pH of your water chemistry up, without adding the sodium that other things like baking soda will add. Calcium carbonate (or chalk) isn't very soluble so it should be added to the actual mash rather than the brewing water.

Again you also can use sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to bring your mash pH up as well but doing so will also add a fair amount of sodium which can lend itself to off flavors. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions about this.


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BeastMaster

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I'll be doing this very soon with some minor changes to the fruit portion of the recipe and possibly a lactose addition before kegging. I'd like to brew something new and the wife really likes Kriek and Framboise.
 

jaylakejr

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Just a public service announcement... if you try this, make sure you maintain 100-110 degrees for the full 48-72 hours because if it drops below... it smells like death and it doesn't get sour. I speak from experience. I'll try it again but this time I will use a pot and stick it in the oven on warm setting for the sour mash duration.
 

BeastMaster

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Think a heating pad and some blankets for insulation will do the trick? I'm using an aluminum stockpot for the mash.

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trginter

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So you're not actually "dumping" the contents of the sour mash container into your mashtun? I would think that would be the point where contamination could occur.
 
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So, I read this last night and really wanted to try it, seemed like a good intro to sours which I would like to jump into. My LHBS did not have WYEAST 5335 however. Only option with Lacto was WYEAST Roeselar 3763 which includes lacto, brett and yeast. Will this still work to sour the 3 lbs of pils or should I just hold on to it for a sour Im willing to let sit for 12 months?
 
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Buxton

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So I have had luck not keeping it in that temperature range myself. I am not suggesting it is fail proof but it worked for me. And yes I suggest you put the entire sour mash in with the mash, that's how you get your sourness. The boil will kill any contamination that the sour mash might pick up.
 
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I made it. Turned out awesome. After reading other posts I just harvested lactobacillus from grain. I steeped the 3 lbs, got a gallon of wort cooled to 100 and pitched grain into it. Kept it at 100 with a crockpot.
 

scul

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Im thinking about doing this next and it will be my first sour. I want to make sure I have everything straight.

1. The grain you have listed under "Grist" is for the brew day mash? So I would need 3# more for the sour mash? Total of 12.75#?
2. When do I add the sour mash to the rest of the mash? Do the normal 60 min mash, add the mash out water and then add the sour mash? Then let sit 20 min before sparging?

Thanks for the recipe :mug:
 

jaylakejr

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Im thinking about doing this next and it will be my first sour. I want to make sure I have everything straight.

1. The grain you have listed under "Grist" is for the brew day mash? So I would need 3# more for the sour mash? Total of 12.75#?
2. When do I add the sour mash to the rest of the mash? Do the normal 60 min mash, add the mash out water and then add the sour mash? Then let sit 20 min before sparging?

Thanks for the recipe :mug:
I am not the OP but I have done this recipe. What I did was the following


1. The grain you have listed under "Grist" is for the brew day mash? So I would need 3# more for the sour mash? Total of 12.75#?


Yes 3# more for your sour mash

2. When do I add the sour mash to the rest of the mash? Do the normal 60 min mash, add the mash out water and then add the sour mash? Then let sit 20 min before sparging?

Again, not the OP but I added the sour mash with 20 minutes left of my mash. Because it is roughly about 100-110 degrees, the heat loss was not too bad. I wanted maximum funk extraction.

WARNING keep in mind that there is a good bit of liquid in the sour mash. If you batch sparge, collect your first runnings and see how much sparge water you will need. The first time I did this, I didn't take into account for just how much liquid was in the sour mash. I ended up with like 7 gallons of pre boil :cross::cross:
 

roddog

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Very cool. Keep us updated on your batch. I was trying to figure out how I could keep the mash at temperature for long periods, experimented with crock pots, heating pads, fermwrap, etc. Nothing was cutting it for me, until I saw someone using their ELECTRIC SMOKER! I'm trying this next weekend, I'll post my findings.
 

scul

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I am not the OP but I have done this recipe. What I did was the following


1. The grain you have listed under "Grist" is for the brew day mash? So I would need 3# more for the sour mash? Total of 12.75#?


Yes 3# more for your sour mash

2. When do I add the sour mash to the rest of the mash? Do the normal 60 min mash, add the mash out water and then add the sour mash? Then let sit 20 min before sparging?

Again, not the OP but I added the sour mash with 20 minutes left of my mash. Because it is roughly about 100-110 degrees, the heat loss was not too bad. I wanted maximum funk extraction.

WARNING keep in mind that there is a good bit of liquid in the sour mash. If you batch sparge, collect your first runnings and see how much sparge water you will need. The first time I did this, I didn't take into account for just how much liquid was in the sour mash. I ended up with like 7 gallons of pre boil :cross::cross:
Thanks. I had done a bit more reading, and that technique seems to be pretty common for adding the sour mash.

I'll update when I brew this:mug:

ETA: thanks for the reminder on batch sparging. thats what I do anyways, but the reminder doesn't hurt.
 

Soeze

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For brew day, how many pounds of White Wheat Malt would I need?
 

AntiVortex

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Sorry for the dumb question, but would this method also be applied to the Graff Cider recipes? Or would I have to take the long way around?
 

Soeze

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Is three days the maximum or minimum period the mash can sit before brew day? My sour mash has been sitting for 5 days now. Should I throw it out and start over again? Or is it fine to still brew with it?
 

Soeze

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The mash was really sour. I decide to go with what I had. I didn't want to throw it away. It's been in the primary for two weeks. I plan to rack the beer to secondary today and if it smells bad then I will throw it away. I call this brew the Monster because the fermentation was so strong it blew the bung out of the carboy twice. I wish I started with a blowoff hose.
 

Roughster

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Any other tips on brewing this? I have read through the entire thread and want to be ready to brew this in a week or so. Any tricks, tips, or just a end to end run down appreciated :)
 

Roughster

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Thanks for the link! I will read through that tonight. Can you recommend a good and relatively inexpensive (I am willing to pay for something that is not the cheapest but is the real deal) temp controller? I was definitely going to use a crock pot and have warned the family to not lift the lid because it will not be what you think it will be :mug:

Thanks again!
 
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FYI - When I used the crockpot I filled up two growlers with wort, almost like doing a yeast starter, and then pitched some milled grain from my grain bill that was not part of the mash for the lacto to take off. I cooled the wort to 100, filled the growlers and placed them in the crockpot which was filled with water. I had to refill the water every 12 hours or so but with this method I was able to keep the wort at 100 degrees steady for 3 days with the crockpot on the WARM setting. This method worked well for me and provided enough sourness to be a nice refreshing summer brew. The tart cherries definitely add a bit of bite and I put in a little acidulated malt into the grain bill as well.
 

Roughster

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Sounds good, thanks for the heads up! I have been drinking a few Krieks the last few weeks and the SWMBO is hooked on them. Really looking forward to making this one!
 
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Buxton

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Sorry I have neglected to answer questions lately, haven't been back on the forum in a while. There really isn't any "correct way" to sour mash, although I have had some unsuccessful attempts in the past. Just using the bacteria on the husks/malt has not been very successful for me, it lead to nasty rancid wort that ruined the brew. So honestly, I have found that mashing in 20% of your grain bill (in my case I chose the wheat but I have also added the Pilsner with great success too) to around 120-130 degrees F and then pitching a pure lactobacillus culture into the mash yields the best results and the most desirable sour flavor. After I mash in and pitch the lacto I then place plastic wrap over my sour mashing vessel and purge the head space with CO2. You can seriously use a 5 gallon plastic bucket, it works fine. I then store it in my attic or garage; just the hottest place I can find and let it sit there for 2-3 days. At that point I add the entire sour mash, wort and grain, to my normal mash. I usually taste the sour mash to make sure it is as sour as I wanted. I proceed as normal, run off my wort, boil, add hops, cool, ferment on a BIG pitch of yeast, at higher than normal temps. (72-80 F). Pitching much higher than normal rates is essential since the pH of your wort is very low by this point. Most ale yeast doesn't perform well below 4, but if you pitch big enough it should attenuate. I have also used berliner weisse yeast to help ferment this beer to, although if you choose to use this type of yeast you probably shouldn't add hops as the alpha acids will stifle the fermentation of the lacto. So as I said there are many ways to approach this, none are necessarily right but I have definitely had the most success with the process I just explained. Hope this helps/clarifies any questions or concerns. I think using a crock pot is over kill. As long as you sanitize well and then seal your container and purge with CO2 you should be fine even if it falls to room temp. You will be surprised at the amount of sourness you get in just 24 hours. Good luck all!
 
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Buxton

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For brew day, how many pounds of White Wheat Malt would I need?
Sorry, I don't know enough about Graff Ciders to be able to answer your question.
 

LBussy

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[...] and purge with CO2 [...]
NWIH I'm going back and reading all of this again to see if this was mentioned BUT: In other processes one uses saran wrap to cover the top of a surface which would be impacted by oxygen. Do you think that would work here? It's easier than purging with CO2 - especially as some of these guys will not have a kegging setup.
 

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I used my electric smoker, perfect temp control 24/7
 
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