Author Topic: brew steps for sour beer  (Read 567 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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brew steps for sour beer
« on: February 12, 2015, 01:29:35 PM »
Another sour beer thread.

Russian River applies  the following steps when making Supplication:
1. ferment with ale yeast
2. pitch Brett & cherries
3. pitch bacteria & more Brett

American Sour Beers claims that this method is good when working with barrels, but with glass Mike prefers the following method:
1. Pitch yeast, Brett and bacteria
2. When primary fermentation is complete, transfer beer off yeast cake
3. Add oak cubes
4. When gravity is stable (6-20 months), add fruit

Does anyone have experience with these methods and wishes to comment?       
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: brew steps for sour beer
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2015, 02:03:12 PM »
I just pitched a question towards Mike FB chat to verify that racking part. To me, it seems counterintuitive to dump all those critters in primary, then rack of and leave the beer without extra lifeforms for the better part of two years.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: brew steps for sour beer
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2015, 02:17:45 PM »
You still have a lot of bacteria and yeast floating around in the beer even if you rack out of primary but my practice is always to keep the beer in primary. I seem to think he is racking those beers into five gallon fermentors so that might be more about reducing headspace than concerns about leaving the beer on the trub.

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Offline narvin

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Re: brew steps for sour beer
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2015, 02:56:55 PM »
It depends.  If I want a true Lambic style beer, I'm going to pitch everything in the primary because this is how the beer is traditionally made and it definitely seems to get the most sour bang for your buck.  If I want a beer with less acidity but lots of Brett B character, a secondary pitch is fine.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: brew steps for sour beer
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2015, 03:08:17 PM »
All good and true, but Mike claims the difference is related to working with barrels or not.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 03:34:20 PM by homoeccentricus »
Frank P.

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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: brew steps for sour beer
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2015, 07:52:58 PM »
Got word from Mike himself:

Quote from: UncleBrazzie
Doesn't the racking without repitching leave you with a beer that's pretty low on fermentig agents for the better part of its ageing process?


Quote from: MikeTonsmeire
Pretty much, depending on the batch. The microbes that fall out of solution are dead or dormant. It is the microbes floating around in the beer that do almost all of the work. They won't be left behind.
...
I don't chill, don't see a reason to. I'm fine with some Sacch making it to secondary. A little autolysis won't hurt. Some brewers who wait to secondary to pitch bugs do crash, fine, or filter.

So: racking is done just to get the majority of the cake out of the way. Anything still in suspension at fermentation temp is expected to be hail and alive. The Sacch will start dying off eventually, and the Brett will eat the autolysis products. All the while, L&P will be producing acidity and whatever flavour components they're expected to deliver.

This, as homoeccentricus points out, under the assumption you're not using a barrel but are fermenting under glass.

Makes things a lot easier, really. Brew wort, ferment in primary with the whole kit&kaboodle, rack into secondary, add oak and fruit, and wait. I like that.
Only concern I have, and a good reason to pitch Sacch first and only pitch non-sacch once you've racked to (glass) secondary would be that this way your primary (and likely plastic) vessel doesn't become contaminated.

All truth is fiction.
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