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General Category => Homebrew Weddings => Topic started by: TANSTAAFB on February 18, 2018, 07:13:49 PM

Title: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on February 18, 2018, 07:13:49 PM
I posted this on HBT and figured the more input the better! This is me (the ugly one ), my buddy Michael, and his lovely wife Mary at Crooked Stave in Denver. I just met Mary today and found out they already eloped to the courthouse! Mary is a wonderful and beautiful person and I'm thrilled he found a great friend and partner, he deserves it!

They are planning a big party sometime this summer to fall, and I'd love to have an awesome beer to share with them to celebrate. I turned Michael on to sours a couple of years ago, and now it's pretty much all he drinks if it's not a night for the hard stuff! He had given up on beer because it gave him horrible headaches. He's in Ft. Collins now...sour beervana! His tastes tend towards the more acidic. Duchesse de Bourgogne is one of his all time favorites. He also LOVES lambics and krieks that are done well.
So here's the challenge. Please give me the benefit of your experience to brew a great sour in 5 months or so. Even if it's not as good as it could be at that time, I want something that I could Cork and cage that will continue to age in the bottle that I can give it to them as a wedding gift they can enjoy over the years.
I have brewed several Brett Saisons but never a truly sour beer. A one year old Brett I made was actually Michael's induction into the world of sours and wild beers! I have read a lot and have several books I will go back through for info. I'm in a homebrew club and live in an area with a lot of vineyards and a few breweries. I'd love to score a wine barrel but other than that I don't have a plan. I do induction BIAB in a 20 gallon kettle and I have lots of carboys and some space.  I'm even thinking of trying several things and seeing what works out the best. What'd'y'all think?
    (https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180218/3890718818ba07b26dfdea2ebc748fc8.jpg)

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: Stevie on February 19, 2018, 01:38:32 AM
You can’t fit a great sour into a timeline. Look into kettle sours and brew it close to the wedding.
Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: klickitat jim on February 19, 2018, 02:06:32 AM
You can’t fit a great sour into a timeline. Look into kettle sours and brew it close to the wedding.
What I was thinking
Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on February 19, 2018, 04:42:12 AM
I get that, and...
I know you can't rush a sour. I also know that a lot can happen in 5-9 months. And I'm looking to do something that might not be perfect at that timeframe but will continue to develop in the bottle. I don't want to do a kettle sour.

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: Stevie on February 19, 2018, 01:50:45 PM
Best chances will be with a good fresh pitch of a sour culture. Do you have access to a sour brewery that would let you pull some slurry?
Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on February 19, 2018, 05:57:27 PM
I actually had a HBT member offer to send me slurry of his 2 year old lambic culture!

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on February 19, 2018, 06:01:03 PM
There are obviously a lot of ways to approach this but I'm curious as to everyone's opinions re: fermentation process and vessel. Here's what I can think of, please add anything I might have missed and tell me what methods you prefer and why...

1) primary in glass with sacch (favorite strain for this anyone) and then pitch bugs a little later
2) primary in glass with the bug pitch and let it ride
3) transfer either of those options to a barrel or use a spiral or stave or chips or something
4) primary in the barrel with sacch then pitch bugs
5) primary in the barrel with the bugs and let it ride
6) pitch everything at the same time in either glass or barrel--bugs, brett, & sacch

What's your process?

I want to find a wine barrel but not sure what the pros/ cons are of fermenting in the barrel vs primary in glass and transfer. I plan on doing a solera with the barrel and keep it going with dregs from sour and Brett beers I like after pitching the bugs the cat on HBT is sending me!

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: Stevie on February 19, 2018, 10:39:49 PM
I would keep it simple and pitch the culture as is and let it ride. Bottle when stable across two readings two months apart. Don’t bother with a barrel for your first go. They are too temperamental.
Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: Stevie on February 19, 2018, 11:03:48 PM
Also, if you go with a small barrel, look into waxing it. Small barrels have too much wort to wood surface area and beer will oxidize much faster. A 5 gallon barrel has more than twice the surface area to volume ratio compared to a 53 gallon. I’ve seen people that wax the entire barrel except for the heads, others leave a few staves natural.
Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on February 20, 2018, 01:15:51 AM
15gal is the smallest I would go and I'm not ready for a big 50gallon. I was listening to The Sour Hour and they were talking to the guy from Funkwerks in Ft Collins (LOOOOVE they're stuff) and was talking about how on a Homebrew scale a glass carboy with an airlock let's about as much O2 in as a big barrel. I still want to do a barrel Solera but I'm really considering brewing 4 or 5 different recipes and using oak spirals or something to get the wood aged character. That way all my sours aren't in one barrel so to speak!

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: JT on February 20, 2018, 02:15:57 AM
You can absolutely do a great sour in that time frame.  Now, are you sold on using a souring bug like pediococcus?  Would you be interested in a sour with lactobacillus/sacc only?  You could easily do a Berliner Weisse - I brewed a recipe that was aged on tart cherries that guests were wild for, including those that didn't know beer came in "sour." 
My next brew of this beer was going to include some French Oak spirals. 

  "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on February 20, 2018, 02:29:16 AM


You can absolutely do a great sour in that time frame.  Now, are you sold on using a souring bug like pediococcus?  Would you be interested in a sour with lactobacillus/sacc only?  You could easily do a Berliner Weisse - I brewed a recipe that was aged on tart cherries that guests were wild for, including those that didn't know beer came in "sour." 
My next brew of this beer was going to include some French Oak spirals. 

  "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Now that I'm leaning towards doing a few different batches I would love to get your recipe. I think I'll go all out with the bugs on one and I'm thinking an American Flandersesque and then a few others that take different approaches. And I think a Berliner would be a nice, simple refreshing beer. Might even split that batch and do one on cherries. I also want to do a Kriek inspired batch, probably a golden sour (maybe with some wine grapes. That Crooked Stave Member Berries was amazing!), and maybe a kettle soured saison or some riff on that. And I love subtle Brett flavors as well.
If I don't go the barrel route I need to figure out whether I want to do oak spirals, staves, honeycomb, or cubes. Any preferences?

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: JT on February 20, 2018, 02:31:54 AM


You can absolutely do a great sour in that time frame.  Now, are you sold on using a souring bug like pediococcus?  Would you be interested in a sour with lactobacillus/sacc only?  You could easily do a Berliner Weisse - I brewed a recipe that was aged on tart cherries that guests were wild for, including those that didn't know beer came in "sour." 
My next brew of this beer was going to include some French Oak spirals. 

  "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Now that I'm leaning towards doing a few different batches I would love to get your recipe. I think I'll go all out with the bugs on one and I'm thinking an American Flandersesque and then a few others that take different approaches. And I think a Berliner would be a nice, simple refreshing beer. Might even split that batch and do one on cherries. I also want to do a Kriek inspired batch, probably a golden sour (maybe with some wine grapes. That Crooked Stave Member Berries was amazing!), and maybe a kettle soured saison or some riff on that. And I love subtle Brett flavors as well.
If I don't go the barrel route I need to figure out whether I want to do oak spirals, staves, honeycomb, or cubes. Any preferences?

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I've only used chips and spirals, stay away from chips.

  "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: JT on February 20, 2018, 02:55:35 AM
It's an easy beer to make. 
60% German pils
40% wheat malt
Looking for a mid-low 30s OG
Mash at 150 (or your preference).
I'd leave out the hops.  If you're a purist, drop half of a single pellet in the boil. 
You can pre acidify wort to 4.6 if botulism worries you, I didn't. 
Pitch a starter of Lactobacillus ( I used 5335).  This strain is hop sensitive, it stalled in a beer at 6 IBUs....

After acidity drops, pitch WY1007 - strain is low pH tolerant. 
Rack on to tart cherries (1-2 lbs per gallon, personal preference).  I will use 2 my next batch.  I plan on tossing in a French oak spiral next batch too.  Age 30 days. 
Hot weather thirst quencher. 

  "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on February 20, 2018, 03:25:35 AM
I just talked to the president of our homebrew club and he said they just tapped a beer they made with a culture they've been building up for a couple of years from a Crooked Stave Nightmare on Brett brew. He's also a microbiologist, so he's a great resource. And he said I can have some of that zoo as well as some funky stuff they haven't even played with yet! I'll go try the beer and pick his brain this week and then we have a club meeting on Thursday. I'm getting pretty psyched about this!

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on March 18, 2018, 03:55:13 PM
The first brew day has begun! 12 gallon batch
10# Colorado Malting Co Belgian Base Pale malt
5# CMC White Wheat Malt
5# CMC unmalted white wheat
Beta Glucan rest at 104(ish) per Jean-Christophe Larsimont in his saison article in the most recent BYO (March-April) because of the high percentage of unmalted grain. I'll raise it to 122 for a protein rest and then up through saccharification temps to mash out. Even though I BIAB I added .5# rice hulls and will take it to 165ish just to improve run off. I plan to boil to hot break before chilling and pre-acidify the wort to 4.5-4.2 pH

I'll cool to 105ish, pitch a bunch of Swanson lactobacillus plantarum, and transfer to glass carboys. Then I plan to add more strains of lacto either from the club bank or the LHBS, and then a variety of brett, again either bought or banked. I'll add a combo of Saccharomyces, probably DuPont, French, and Brux. Keeping pedio out of this one.

I brewed bigger than needed so I can save some wort for starters as needed. I'll boil and save in Mason jars. (https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180318/40c39411c26d7e0f39e868504ea6f14e.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180318/769b0e95a0c6fc04201509a51f616bc8.jpg)

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on March 22, 2018, 02:39:39 AM
Lactic acid 88% to drop pH to 4.3 prior to pitching Swanson's lacto probiotics (lactobacillus plantarum) and lactobacillus delbrueckii from the club Sunday night 3/18/18.
3/21/18 added saved blend of WLP 644 Saccharomyces Bruxellensis Trois and 590 French Saison. Saved in two flip tops and both gushed when opened. Infection or effects of diastaticus? Pitched anyway
Also pulled 2 cups from saison brewed with WLP565 DuPont and pitched into all 3.
Found dregs from a couple of sours, one was a Three Barrel sour, and pitched into only 6.5gal carboy


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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on March 23, 2018, 04:55:30 AM
And all the bretts!(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180323/5f6df9997d719a3ec7b049d0593fab9d.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180323/8ed9d90be323bbe81f40eadf4f7693a9.jpg)

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Title: Re: Help me brew a phenomenal sour to celebrate my sour loving buddy's wedding!
Post by: TANSTAAFB on July 16, 2018, 08:52:03 PM
A few weeks ago I added cherries to one, raspberry puree to another, and left one alone. Just tasted and the cherry is amazing, the raspberry is pretty meh so far, and the golden is nice but not very complex. I was hoping for more from the Brett by now but i guess it just needs more time

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