Author Topic: Sour beer question  (Read 520 times)

Offline jamminbrew

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Sour beer question
« on: May 14, 2014, 11:13:27 AM »
So, I have my first (intentionally) soured beer, and has been sitting on the bugs for about nine months now. I am about ready to package it, as it has reached a sour and flavor level I like. I put in 3 pounds of cherries, too. My question is this: I would like to do a solera type thing, and add more beer on top of the dregs in the carboy, and continue the sour process with another beer. Is it important to get rid of the cherries that are still floating about, or can I just leave them in there? I don't think they will impart much cherry flavor to the next batch, but will they throw some off flavors, like an autolysized yeast would? Thanks...
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Sour beer question
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2014, 11:39:02 AM »
Can't say for sure but I'm hoping it's okay as I've had the second half of my cherry sour sitting on the cherries for a year now. If it hasn't gone totally to vinegar I'm going to put something on top of it in a couple weeks.

I've certainly seen people leave fruit in the solera. eventually the bugs will totally consume all but the pits.
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Offline sambates

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Re: Sour beer question
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2014, 12:01:58 PM »
If you're tying to do a "true" solera, then you should only plan to pull out 2/5 to 1/2 of the batch (2 to 2.5 gal). Technically, putting a new batch on the dregs and fruit is really only reusing the bugs, not really a solera. You should consider fermenting the base beer with a lower attenuating, clean yeast strain and then transferring into the sour carboy and allow what's there to give you sourness. Fermenting a beer with cherries (or any fruit) in it would completely diminish any cherry or fruit flavor you're trying to achieve.

Some people in my club have put newer sours (after primary) back on the old fruit. I've tasted them and they're great! Just expect a more subtle fruit flavor, which could be a good thing if that's what you're looking for. Also, you're probably allowing more tannin in the flavor from the cherry skins by extended aging, but this won't be a huge issue. Hope this helps!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 01:41:08 PM by sambates »
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Sour beer question
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2014, 01:26:37 PM »
I bet the only problem you might have is haze as the fruit solids break down (maybe). But the acidity and alcohol should prevent any off-flavors from developing. And even that haze should settle out I think.
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Offline jamminbrew

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Re: Sour beer question
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2014, 05:49:53 PM »
I p;an on pulling out 2/3 of what's in the carboy, (its a 6.5 gallon) and the beer that I put in there was fully fermented before adding it to the bugs. It was a carboy I bought from a club member that already had about 1-1 1/2 gallons in it, already soured. Cherries were added after the beer had been on the bugs for 2 months.

Thanks for the responses guys!
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Sour beer question
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2014, 09:06:46 AM »
I wouldn't expect bad flavors from the cherries but one thing to think about is the volume of trub you will develop. I'm not sure whether you plan on fermenting the new beer and then adding it to the solera or if you are dumping unfermented wort in there. You will get more trub in the solera either way but if all fermentation is going on in your solera then you'll build up quite a bit of trub. The more trub you have the less beer you can get back out. May be worthwhile to clean out the solera before refilling it.
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Offline sambates

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Re: Sour beer question
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 04:45:31 PM »
I wouldn't expect bad flavors from the cherries but one thing to think about is the volume of trub you will develop. I'm not sure whether you plan on fermenting the new beer and then adding it to the solera or if you are dumping unfermented wort in there. You will get more trub in the solera either way but if all fermentation is going on in your solera then you'll build up quite a bit of trub. The more trub you have the less beer you can get back out. May be worthwhile to clean out the solera before refilling it.

As I said earlier, I agree to not ferment in the solera carboy, but I would not advise racking out and cleaning it. Especially with cherries in the mix, since they like to "break down" and clog your siphon. You're going to run the risk of oxygenating your wort like crazy, which could lead to some pretty disgusting acetic/vinegar off-flavors. Use some wort that's already fermented and cold-crashed. Then do the swap. You may even considering purging the carboy headspace with CO2 after your transfer off the cherries, before racking in. Just my $.02
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