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I accidentally created a Sour Pale Ale

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So, I must qualify that I've recently upgraded to all grain brewing, and am eagerly trying to learn as much as possible.  My first recipe was a pale ale, that I sort of based on Sierra Nevada's famous version (though some liberties were taken).  I used BeerSmith to concoct the recipe, and have pasted it below (though I accidentally substituted Crystal 60 for the Crystal 80):

Style: American Pale Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 10.00 gal     
Boil Size: 11.45 gal
Estimated OG: 1.059 SG
Estimated Color: 12.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 44.3 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU     
256.00 oz     Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        72.73 %       
80.00 oz      Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)     Grain        22.73 %       
16.00 oz      Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)     Grain        4.55 %       
0.50 oz       Magnum [14.00 %]  (60 min)                Hops         11.9 IBU     
1.50 oz       Pearle [8.00 %]  (60 min)                 Hops         20.4 IBU     
2.00 oz       Cascade [5.50 %]  (15 min)                Hops         9.3 IBU       
1.50 oz       Cascade [5.50 %]  (5 min)                 Hops         2.8 IBU       
2.00 tsp      Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min)                Misc                       
1 Pkgs        California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [StartYeast-Ale                 

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 352.00 oz
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp     
60 min        Mash In            Add 27.50 qt of water at 165.9 F    154.0 F       

Now that we've seen the recipe, on to the outcome.  It tastes pretty good, except there's a slight sour note to it.  I'm not sure what could be causing it (though I have fears of contamination).  I've never done any of the strange belgian beers that supposedly permanently contaminate your equipment, and I'm careful with the sanitizer.  I've bottled the beer, and let it naturally carbonate. 

Anyone have any thoughts on what could be causing it?

Matt B:
I don't think there's anything off with your recipe, the sourness is probably from a slight infection of some sort. I can't think of anything you could do in your mash to give it that sour note (unless you sit for a couple of days.) The typical effects of an unintended mash is too dry (mashed colder), too malty (mashed too warm), and astringent (puckering dryness) from mashing *way* too high (above 172) where you start extracting tannins.

Yep. Sour sounds like infection. What do you use to sanitize? How sound is your cleaning regimen? How long in Primary? Bucket? Secondary? What did you use? How long?

First, thanks for the quick replies!  And, after I typed up the reply, this seems to be more of a bottling issue, so the topic may be better suited in the bottling forum, but I don't know how to move the thread.

I use StarSan for everything.  On brewday, I sanitize the wort chiller by running star san through it (the wort chiller consists of a counterflow setup, built from copper pipe and garden hose, and a March pump running the wort through the chiller).  I sanitize the Glass carboys by racking into them (after a good scrubbing using the carboy brush). 

Links posted for information purposes, not endorsing northern brewer (though they have treated me well!)

The bottles were sanitized using about 5 squirts from a vinator gizmo ( full of the regular star san mix, then letting them drain out.  I also wash bottles in the dishwasher as they are used, but they sit in the closet for up to a month or so before reuse.  I fill the bottles out of a plastic bucket with a spigot, a length of hose, and standard spring tip bottle filler (  Caps sit in a bowl full of sanitizer until they go on the bottles. 

Fermentation on this one went a little longer than I normally do, both due to vacation, and some incomplete fermentation I was getting on previous batches.  Primary was 11 days, and secondary was about 14.  It seemed to taste fine (no sour taste that I recall) before bottling, so I suppose scientific method narrows it down to the bottling regimen.

Thanks for the support!

 6lbs of crystal for 10gal???  :o :o


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