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Sour Saison

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chode720

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I am new to the world of sour beers, only trying a couple, and never brewing any. I would like to have one ready for next summer and was thinking to do a sour Saison. I love Saisons and all the flavors that come with that yeast/style and I have heard other people brew sour ones and it really has me drooling over it.....

Anyways, my plan is to brew up a Saison (dont have a recipe yet) but ferment it with WLP565 Belgian Saison at 66 degrees. I know most Saison yeasts are lazy and wont ferment out if I dont ramp the temperature up. What I am hoping is that the yeast will leave a good degree of residual sweetness (in the 1.025-1.035 range) and then moving the beer to a glass carboy and pitching in WLP677 Lactobacillus.

I am not looking for a really strong sour but just something to add complexity.

My question is, does this idea sound like it will work and will the Lacto consume any of those sugars. Or should i just pitch the Lacto with a Brett strain as well?

I am planning on brewing this around the Thanksgiving/Christmas and aging until next summer
 

ryane

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I havent had much luck with either WY/WL lacto strains, they arent very tolerant of alcohol or IBU's ~10 and your dead in the water

if you wanted to do this I would pitch the lacto first and then add the saison yeast, if you get ahold of one of the VSS saison yeasts you shouldnt have any problems with getting it to finish, if it ends up not quite as sour as you like theres always 88% lactic acid
 

B-Dub

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Last week I brewed 10 gallons of WY3711 Saison with 80% Pils and 20% wheat. One carboy got strait yeast and the other a large, fresh pitch of lacto for 24 hours before adding yeast.

I will post up what happened when I taste it over the weekend.

BW
 

dreadnatty08

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You could also just pitch a couple bottles worth of dregs in secondary. I'd steer clear of 565 though, most folks hate it. If you can still find it, definitely give 3711 a shot, it'll give you faster attenuation and less for the bugs to eat controlling how sour it gets.
 
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chode720

chode720

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So it sounds like my best bet is to pitch a lacto 24 hours before I pitch my Saison yeast. Then when the saison yeast finishes out, I'll rack to a secondary, pitch a Brett to finish it out, and then age for ~6 months
 

Sixbillionethans

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I'm also considering a sour Saison, especially as I was influenced recently by a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire. It's described as a dark farmhouse ale. The book Farmhouse Ales indicates presence of lactic sourness in saisons, but doesn't give any production tips.

My guess is that this will be a tough style to brew well.

In order to get the lacto working, you're gonna need low alcohol. But at low alcohol, I'd be afraid that a Saison yeast will fully attenuate your sugars. (Ex: my 1.074 OG Saison w/ 3711 was 1.001 when I transferred to secondary, and it's still bubbling. No chance of that puppy getting sour.)

I suppose you could counter-act by mashing insanely high to give the bugs some food. Like I said, I think fermentation control will be a challenge.

Per previous post, will 24 hours of lacto fermentation really do anything? My lambic was only starting to get sour after 6 months.

But, you could consider 2-3 other much easier approaches, especially as you are new to sour beers:
1) Sour mash: take anywhere from 1 qt to 1 gallon of your runnings, let it cool, then add a handful of crushed grain. Cover it and leave it for 3 days and it'll smell awful and be really sour. Boil it to kill the bugs, then add to your fermenter. I've added tartness to a Saison with about 1 liter using this approach. I would use 2-3X more for true sourness.

2) Acid malt: I haven't done it, but adding acidulated malt is an easy way to get some lactic sourness into your beer.

3) Just add lactic acid. This would be the closest to "cheating", I suppose.


Again, this sounds like a challenging style to get right, but might be well worth it in the end.
 
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chode720

chode720

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In order to get the lacto working, you're gonna need low alcohol. But at low alcohol, I'd be afraid that a Saison yeast will fully attenuate your sugars. (Ex: my 1.074 OG Saison w/ 3711 was 1.001 when I transferred to secondary, and it's still bubbling. No chance of that puppy getting sour.)

2) Acid malt: I haven't done it, but adding acidulated malt is an easy way to get some lactic sourness into your beer.

Just add lactic acid. This would be the closest to "cheating", I suppose.


Again, this sounds like a challenging style to get right, but might be well worth it in the end.
I think this is why you pitch the lacto in first, before you ferment. I did some more reading and saw that alcohol and an active fermentation will kill off the lacto. My impression is that a 24-72 hour lacto pitch before fermentation will add the lactic sourness, but takes about 6 months to age enough for that sourness from lacto to come thru. Also, im not concerned about the yeast chewing thru all of the sugars. I know that Saison yeasts get lazy near the end. I will temp control fermentation at around 66 and hopefully it will stop around 1.03. I know the Wyeast Saison strain tends to stop around 1.035 if the temp isnt ramped up.

Then I will rack to secondary, pitch some brett, and let that finish the beer off.

I did think about adding some acid malt as well. Maybe I'll use lacto and some acid malt....
 

Orangevango

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Make a gallon of all lacto saison and a 5 gallon batch of saison with just saison yeast, then blend them to taste.
 

Tonedef131

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I did a 20% sour mash on my saision, it added a nice lactic tang to it. It isn't distinctly sour but you could do a 50% sour mash and get it real puckering if you wanted.
 

B-Dub

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The brew from last week had a SG of 1.058 and is down to 1.004 and the lacto batch is 1.002!

Only about 9 oz of sugar in a 13 gallon batch and the rest is all malt!!

NICE!
 

B-Dub

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Racked 10 gallons into 2 kegs today. The regular 3711 pils/wheat 80/20 went into the cold storage and the lacto 3711 is going to hang out in the garage for awhile. I will taste in about 2 weeks and see if we have any sourness yet. So far very little difference between the two; even though the lacto had a 24 hour head start!
 

sonetlumiere85

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I highly recommend culturing Dupont yeast from their Christmas beer, Avec les bons voeux. It is really strong and ferments well at high temps with great flavor and flocculation. Plus it doesn't get stuck like 565.

One thing you can try to simplify your yeast/lacto conundrum is to just use sauer/acid malt in the mash - I used a little bit on a summer blonde ale, and it works really well at giving a lemony tang with as little as 5%. If you did 20% sauer malt, 60% pils, 20% wheat, I bet it would be nice and sour, but you won't have to worry about whether the bugs will do what they need to do or not.
 

philrose

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WY3711 is a beast. It brought my bdg down 78 gravity points to 1004.

If you're interested in a commercial example, On the saison brew day we sampled some saison-brett from boulevard brewing. That is a fantastic beer.
 

JoMarky

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Any updates b dub?

Chode, not sure what you're current plans are but what were your intentions with pitching the brett? Brett won't add much sourness, mostly just funk. If you want sour and you have time to age, try a pediococcus culture. It is another type of lactic acid producing bacteria that can handle alcohol and keeps building acidity as it ages.

Lactobacillus cultures seem to be very difficult to get the desired results out of, I gave mine 24 hours before pitching my yeast, got minor results, and ended up back souring with lactic acid solution.
 

nealf

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I used another approach to making a sour saison. I made a 700mL starter (for a 3G batch). In my starter I had WLP568 and WY Belgian Lambic Blend. I fermented it alongside my Saison (starting cool and ramping to 85); after about 4 months it is a good beer, the brett adds a great complexity and only a slight tartness.
 

B-Dub

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Yeah, I tasted it yesterday with a friend. The lacto Saison has a slight lemony flavor, but not much different than the non-lacto batch. Our thoughts were if the lacto is just now flavoring the beer it should sit until tap space opens for max sourness. I have a keg on tap right now and 10 more gallons before I need the sour batch. So I am looking at a little while and letting the lacto work some more.

I am 3 Saisons and a Quad deep right now, so I hope that makes sense!!

Cheers!!!!

BW
 

Ketchepillar

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So I am looking at a little while and letting the lacto work some more.

I am 3 Saisons and a Quad deep right now, so I hope that makes sense!!

Cheers!!!!

BW
It's my understanding that the lacto won't do any more work at this time-can't handle the alcohol. Although with some time the sourness may come out some more.
 

B-Dub

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It's my understanding that the lacto won't do any more work at this time-can't handle the alcohol. Although with some time the sourness may come out some more.

I hear what you are saying and from what I have read that would be true. However, there are a few beers out there that are only soured with lacto and are in the 7% to 9% range.

http://www.raclodge.com/on_tap.php

Cascade Brewing has a lacto bottled conditioned beer that is 8.41%, the Cuvee du Jongleur.

Cuvee du Jongleur
A careful blending of select barrels of Flanders Reds and soured Belgian Triples aged in oak for up to 18 months. Then blended with fresh 25° Plato Blond Quadruppel. Hand-bottled, corked and then aged allowing lactic fermentation. 8.41% ABV
This is clearly a deviation from the common belief that laco dies out at higher alcohols.
 

Sixbillionethans

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This is clearly a deviation from the common belief that laco dies out at higher alcohols.
I suggest checking out the work that Raj Apte did (he got cited in Wild Brews). He explains with good detail the basic limitations that alcohol levels present for sour ale production. He also introduces the idea that in certain conditions, extremes are possible.

In the case of this Cuvee du Jongleur, it appears that the "careful blending" was to use highly soured, lower alcohol beers (Flemish reds) along with less sour, high alcohol beers (soured tripel) and some fresh, extremely high alcohol beers (quad) to get their finished product. I would hesitate to propose that this is a deviation from the historically-observed limitations of lactic-acid producing bacteria. It sounds like a delicious blend to achieve the best of all worlds (much like the process of blending lambics).

Also, there have been several posts that combined the terms "lacto" with "hours". Remember that lactic-acid producing microbes need ample food supplies and months to years in order to convert carbohydrates to lactic acid. They are unable to do anything in 24 hours, nor can they contribute much if any fermentation when the gravity is 1.002.

See my original post, I really think a sour saison is a tough nut to crack because Saison yeasts (especially WY3711) don't seem to make good bedfellows with lacto, pedio, or brett. I think it's achievable, but challenging. This is particularly true for the subset of saisons (super saisons) that have been most-discussed in this thread.

Orangevango and Tonedef131 made the most practical suggestions for non-traditional techniques.
 

B-Dub

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I hear what you are saying, really I do.

There just seems to be some exceptions to the common brewing belief that lacto is only for mid ABV beers. I tasted many unblended sour beers at the Cascade Brewing tasting room that were 8%-9% sours and they only use lacto.

The 24 hours alone with the lacto was just a attempt to make a "Berliner Saison."


I do hear what you are saying about the alcohol tolerance of lacto. Some guys say over 5 IBUs you can really slow or stop lacto. Although many brewers are using 15-20 IBUs and having great success souring with the Big "L."

True the 3711 takes all the bug food away. I to wonder if you mash at 160F, all malt and used 3711 it would leave enough sugar for bugs. When the 15 gallons of 3711 Saison is gone I might try it.
 

fivepoundpossum

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i had really good luck (probably the best beer i've ever made) with this recipe:

Starchild Surette

5.75 gal

6 lbs 8 oz Pilsner malt
1 lbs 4 oz White wheat malt
8 oz flaked wheat
8 oz Crystal 80
4 oz rice hulls
.53 oz Magnum (12.2%)—60 min
Wyeast 3711 French Saison plus Dregs:
allagash interlude, bruery oude tart, fantome hiver, jolly pumpkin io9, jolly pumpkin oro de calabaza

i pitched the yeast and dregs at the same time. brewed in late december, bottled in may. fantastically complex, sour but not too much.
 

sweetcell

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True the 3711 takes all the bug food away. I to wonder if you mash at 160F, all malt and used 3711 it would leave enough sugar for bugs. When the 15 gallons of 3711 Saison is gone I might try it.
i'm not experienced with lacto and pedio, but even 3711 leaves plenty for brett to eat. those funky & fruity brett flavors are the result of brett eating sacc by-products. it has nothing to do with how much sugar is or isn't left over. brett can survive off a lot more things than sacc. in fact, the lack of sugar means that brett gets to work on making its signature flavors faster than if there was sugar available.

folks need to stop worrying about "will the brett have enough left to eat"... it will. brett can eat cellulose from wood, for crissake.
 

Austin_

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I know it's an old thread, but no one mentioned the use of acidulated malt at higher percentages than normal. I have a sour saison on tap right now that used acidulated malt at 11% of the grain bill and then fermented it with a mix of 3711, Brett l., and Brett claussennii. Came out with just the right amount of tartness. Not in your face, but definitely more than slightly noticeable. All in all a fantastic beer.
 
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