Author Topic: Sour question from a beginner  (Read 2362 times)

Offline tony perkins

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Sour question from a beginner
« on: July 04, 2013, 02:38:49 PM »
I have only tasted one beer that contained brett, and that was Orval.  I have never tasted a real sour.

However, I currently have a sour brown ale fermenting in secondary with ECY01, and a pale sour in primary, fermenting with a repitch of the brown ale's yeast and bugs.  My question today deals with the pale sour, which started with a wort of 50/50 pils/wheat, 1.029 OG, and 10 IBU.

The pale sour has been in primary for 94 days, and from about day 14, the gravity has been stable at 1.006.  No change the entire time.  I last took a sample 30 days ago, and again today.  Then and now, I would say that the flavor is only mildly tart.  It's pretty nice, but it doesn't seem to be getting any more sour.

Here's my question, one I know has been asked before: how sour is a sour?  I am prepared to let this pale sour ferment or condition for as long as necessary, but with gravity stable for almost three months, and the flavor pretty much constant, am I crazy for thinking about bottling?  And if I do bottle, might the sourness and funk I've heard about develop in the bottle?  Or is this mild tartness I'm seeing pretty much par for the course?

For what it's worth, ambient fermentation temps for this pale sour have been elevated, anywhere from 70-90 F.  The beer is very clear, but it seems like there is wild yeast active in there, because after I take a sample, a thin pellicle quickly forms.  The brown ale in secondary has a nice bubbly pellicle (though I haven't tasted that beer since it was racked).

I'm happy to answer any particular questions about recipe or process that might be relevant here.  I'd appreciate any insights you have about what might be going on with this beer, and suggestions to help it along.

Thanks, and happy 4th!
Drinking:  Pale Sour, Maibock, APA
Primary:  Patersbier
Secondary:  Sour Brown
Conditioning:  Barleywine
Up Next:  BDSA

Offline lornemagill

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2013, 05:30:01 PM »
I have only tasted one beer that contained brett, and that was Orval.  I have never tasted a real sour.


bump...

I don't realy have much to add but i'd like to see the comments.  from what I know brett is not really a souring agent though.  "real" sours are made with all or a combination of lacto, pedio, acetobactor, and sac.  I love sours but have only cheated and made fake sours with a sour mash.  they taste good but not great, they lack the mouthfeel and depth of character.  no real help but cheers.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2013, 05:49:04 PM »
The short answer is that it really depends. Yes the beer well continue to change and everyone for years either in primary or in a bottle. Is ecy01 bug farm? If so I would give it a lot more time our add more bugs. watch your o2 pickup so accetobacter doesn't get out of hand. I had good luck on a recent project adding some sugars with the bugs.i just used honey.
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Offline tony perkins

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2013, 07:49:02 PM »
Yes, ECY01 is BugFarm/BugCounty, and contains ale yeast, sherry yeast, lacto, pedio, and I believe seven strains of brett.  Keep the comments coming, thanks.
Drinking:  Pale Sour, Maibock, APA
Primary:  Patersbier
Secondary:  Sour Brown
Conditioning:  Barleywine
Up Next:  BDSA

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2013, 08:37:31 PM »
3 months, some of those bugs critters are just getting going. Give it time, lots of time.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline a witty man

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2013, 05:13:24 AM »
I'd encourage you to check out some commercial examples. Rodenbach and Rodenbach Grand Cru are both great moderately sour (yet approachable) examples that are readily available in most good craft beer shops. Either of these are a great baseline to give you an idea of a middle-of-the-road sour.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2013, 05:14:06 AM »
3 months, some of those bugs critters are just getting going. Give it time, lots of time.

Indeed. I have seen that sour beers change in character with a noticeable change in gravity.
Amanda Kertz
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2013, 07:58:31 AM »
Interesting that you would commit the resources to a sour beer having never had one. At three months you're really just starting to get really good brett activity and pedio is just getting warmed up. Pediococcus is where you're really going to get some serious sourness.
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Offline tony perkins

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 10:37:13 AM »
Thanks for the help, everyone.  I know it must seem strange to brew a style when you don't know what you're shooting for, but I've done the same for at least a few other styles, and with sours it made all the more sense because they're so pricey!  However, I will make sure to experiment with commercial sours, to ground my understanding a bit.

I think I'm a pretty patient brewer, but the fact that this pale sour had been stable at 1.006 for three months, was completely clear, and didn't seem to be developing any more flavor...it just made me wonder.  But if there's a strong likelihood of good things to come, then I'm only too happy to leave the beer alone for another 3-9 months.

Thanks again!
Drinking:  Pale Sour, Maibock, APA
Primary:  Patersbier
Secondary:  Sour Brown
Conditioning:  Barleywine
Up Next:  BDSA

Offline durschad

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2013, 06:04:12 PM »
Just to echo some others, I'd let it sit longer.  I've brewed a few sours and have let some of them sit 12 months or so prior to kegging.  I've always been a little concerned about bottling sours since the bugs are still working and could cause bottle bombs.  I'd recommend thicker bottles for these.

Offline tony perkins

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2013, 06:40:39 PM »
Just to echo some others, I'd let it sit longer.  I've brewed a few sours and have let some of them sit 12 months or so prior to kegging.  I've always been a little concerned about bottling sours since the bugs are still working and could cause bottle bombs.  I'd recommend thicker bottles for these.

Yep, I've got a ton of Martinelli's sparkling cider bottles lined up for this batch, whenever I end up bottling.

Thanks, everyone, for your help.  You'll be proud of me--I'm drinking a bottle of Rodenbach classic right now.  Wow, it's delicious.  My pale sour isn't quite to the level of sourness I'm tasting in this Rodenbach, but it's not too far off, either.  I'll wait at least another few months before tasting again.
Drinking:  Pale Sour, Maibock, APA
Primary:  Patersbier
Secondary:  Sour Brown
Conditioning:  Barleywine
Up Next:  BDSA

Offline a witty man

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2013, 09:16:43 PM »
Welcome to your next obsession, Tony!
~Aaron
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Sour question from a beginner
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2013, 09:46:53 AM »
Rodenbach is a blended beer so it's really not that sour. If your beer is less sour than that then you have a ways to go.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm