Author Topic: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions  (Read 6261 times)

Offline enso

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 449
  • Northeast Kingdom, VT
    • View Profile
    • Bristle Bros. Brewing Blog
Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« on: June 17, 2010, 11:32:20 AM »
I have recently acquired the taste for sour/wild beers.  Big time.  At least most of the ones I have the pleasure of trying.  A recent privilege/delight was getting to sample some of Allagash's efforts from there koelschip project which is not yet available commercially.  Thanks AHA and Allagash!!!

One I have been enjoying a lot that I am able to purchase is Jolly Pumpkin La Roja.  I fear once i buy all of the 1 case the paskage store bought it will be gone as it was a hard sell to convince them to get it in the first place.  Not to mention it is $11 a bottle.  Adds up quickly.

So, after seeing Allagash's setup and reading Wild brews and anything I can find on the subject, I really feel it is time to take the plunge.  My objectives are, make something near to la Roja without too much risk and have a repeatable results that are not overly complicated and save some moila...

Any suggestions?  I am at once fascinated by it all and terrified/intimidated.  Part of me wants to dive in over my head and another just want to get something simple going that will yield a tasty result not too long off.  I know it takes time, it would be great to have something ready in 6 mos...

I have a Saison I have "Orval-ed" that should be ready in a bit but I would really love something funkier like la Roja.  Tannic and bone dry and oaky and funky.

Iam rambling on here, guess I am not sure what I am asking for.  I am actually moving in a little over 1 month which will put a serious monkey wrench in the brew workings.  Not the best time to start getting into this I guess, but then that is usually how I go about things!

I don't even know for sure how something like la roja is produced, meaning what the base style is.  I it patterned after a Flanders Red?  Can I even come close simply without brewing multiple batches over a course of several years and then blending?  Can it be done with a simple single infusion mash and standard procedures?

Can anyone get through all this mental diarrhea to provide an answer to whatever the question actually is?

 ???
 ::)
Dave Brush

Offline narvin

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1374
  • Baltimore
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2010, 11:44:35 AM »
Read "Wild Brews" : ). 

I believe La Roja is supposed to be Flanders Red-ish, yes.  You want a malty, dark amber beer with a lot of residual dextrines for the bugs to eat over time, so Wild Brews recommends a recipe with lots of Vienna, Crystal, Special B, and other malts.  There's a basic Flanders recipe in Brewing Classic styles as well.  Use the Wyeast Roselare blend (3763).

You'll still need to wait at least a year for the beer to be even close to ready.  If you want more complexity or funkiness / sourness, you can also throw some other Flanders or lambic dregs in as you go to introduce more bugs, as long as the beers are unpasteurized (this rules out Lindemanns and I believe Duchess de Bourgogne as well).

You can reuse glass carboys for non-sour beers after a good cleaning, but keep all plastic for your sour beers separate.  And be patient... it's not easy, but you can start another sour beer while you're waiting for the first one to finish to keep yourself occupied : )
Please do not reply if your an evil alien!
Thanks
Chris S.

Offline pyrite

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 443
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2010, 01:48:33 PM »
I don't know how La Roja tastes like but I do have a suggestion for a simple sour brew..

I suggest to keep it at as simple as possible by brewing your favorite triple recipe, something in the ball park of 7% give or take a %. Once you have fermented your favorite Belgium triple, transfer this beer to a glass carboy add 2oz of oak cubes and pour in a vial of WLP655 Belgian Sour Mix 1.  http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/strains_wlp655.html

Leave the beer in contact for no less than 3 months aging at room temp or around 75F even the the garage at summer time will work and you can even leave it longer if you desire more sourness.  But after 3 months time, bottle or keg it, and you can taste the difference the sourness provides to a beer you are already familiar with.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 01:50:26 PM by pyrite »
If you don't get in over your head, how are you ever going to know how tall you are.

Offline tankdeer

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2010, 01:55:26 PM »
As was stated, La Roja is closest to a Flanders Red as far as a classic style goes. It will take time, that is for sure. Especially if you want the complexity and bone dryness that it has. In my experience the Roeselare blend is a good place to start, but it won't get there on it's own. You need to start adding bottle dregs to up the complexity. Since you're on a JP kick, start with the dregs from a few of their bottles. I've used them before and they do in fact work great.

After you brew that, if you want something with a quicker turnaround, try a Berliner Weisse. They can be quite tasty in only a couple months.

Oh, and a huge +1 on the Coolship series. They are all fantastic.
No TV and no beer make Homer something something...

Offline 1vertical

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2603
  • Ozone Layer. Actual location
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2010, 09:51:06 PM »
Enso, goto the Burgundian Babble Belt....read and glean LOTS of great info there
A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

Offline tankdeer

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2010, 10:59:13 PM »
^ Good advice right there.
No TV and no beer make Homer something something...

Offline dean

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 922
  • Me and Hayden, my newest grandson.
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2010, 06:23:07 AM »
I've been reading some of my books and they talk about how long some of the sour beers take to finish, if they ever do?  I made a sour mash, after about 4 or 5 days transfered the wort to the fermenter and hit it with S05, the yeast cake is nearly gone now but only after a week.... longest lasting active yeast cake I've ever seen! 

So what is typical fermentation time with wild yeasts  ???  this batch definitely had wild brett as it smelled like a barnyard.  It smells malty, leathery and spicey right now.  I'm going to try to get to taking a gravity on it today (and a taste) if the yeast cake is gone completely. 

Offline brewbeard

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2010, 06:42:32 AM »
Read this post on this blog. That entire blog is a great read for anyone interesting in homebrewing sour beers. The problem with Sparrow's book is that it makes is seem intimidating, like you have to do a turbid mash and age in barrels if you want to your sour beers to come out right. From reading The Mad Fermentationist blog, I realize it really isn't that hard.

I have yet to brew any sour or funky beers at home, but I'll build up the courage to try soon.

Offline dean

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 922
  • Me and Hayden, my newest grandson.
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2010, 07:05:39 AM »
Thank you so much brewbeard!    I think I'll make another larger sg batch in a couple of weeks and re-use the yeast cake from this one, it will give me time to read the entire blog.   ;D

Offline tankdeer

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2010, 08:13:34 AM »
Mike's (OldSock) blog is a great resource, as is the BBB, and don't let Sparrow's book become overwhelming. While a turbid mash and barrels may be traditional and arguably more effective, you can still get great results using carboys and buckets and normal mashes. While I do plan on getting a barrel or two in the future, I have yet to use either of those methods and I still make some pretty good sour beers if I do say so myself (Let's not jinx my Flanders Red at the NHC tomorrow  ;))

Dean, to answer your question as to what a typical fermentation time is it really depends on the mix of bugs you have, the pitch or inoculation rate, and the grist and gravity of the beer. Although typically, I've noticed that primary fermentation lasts about as long as a normal ale or maybe lager. A couple weeks of good, strong fermentation, but then comes the extended aging, and that can take anywhere from a couple months to a couple years, again, depending on the beer. If you're only using brett a la Orval, you will likely have a nice tasty beer in a few months, but if you're going for more of a lambic style, then all the various bugs in the mix need time to work and to get the superattenuation that one expects in that beer, it will take a while.

I've also noticed that sour beers in carboys and buckets generally take longer than their commercial counterparts that are aging in oak. I know that most of Vinnie's beers are in oak for a year or less. And while in Belgium Frank Boon told us that most of his lambics spend about 12-18 months on the oak tuns, and if left longer they start to go south. For comparison sake, I have 4 lambics going in my attic right now, the eldest of which is about 2.5 years old, and while it's headed in the right direction, it's still not there yet. And my Flanders Red, although it is a blend, the base beer was about 18 months old when bottled. About 2 years now.

The point of my rambling? Be patient. And brew lots of sour beers.  ;D
No TV and no beer make Homer something something...

Offline dean

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 922
  • Me and Hayden, my newest grandson.
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2010, 09:32:58 AM »
I just posted in the general forum about the batch I've got going now, the SG is at 1.014 after a week of solid fermenting and still has a small head of foam.  The temperature is at 74 degrees now (was in the mid to high 60's with a couple of jumps between ice bottles), I stopped adding bottles of ice to the tub of water a couple of days ago and the temp has held steady just sitting in water.  With the gravity where it is should I take it out of the tub of water or just leave it?  It doesn't taste bad, interestingly its like a spicey lemonade with other subtle flavors that jump out at different times as I drink it or after.  It has a notable pepper taste yet I added no spices to it.  It was quite a bland recipe really because I thought I'd probably make a dumper anyway.   :D  The OG was only 1.043 and no boil involved with the main wort, I did boil about a gallon with hops for about 30 minutes and added that wort back to the main wort to add some bitterness which I don't detect yet.

Offline tankdeer

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2010, 09:37:02 AM »
Dean, I commented on your other post too. But I would leave it alone as far as racking goes. Nothing good ever came from racking a beer too early. As far as temp goes, at this point you can let it just sit at room temp. No need to fuss with the water bath anymore.
No TV and no beer make Homer something something...

Offline dean

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 922
  • Me and Hayden, my newest grandson.
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2010, 09:54:30 AM »
Thanks tankdeer, I'll set it out and let it go for a while, however long that will be.   :D


Offline tankdeer

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 272
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2010, 09:57:04 AM »
Go by taste. When it taste good, drink up!  ;D
No TV and no beer make Homer something something...

Offline 1vertical

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2603
  • Ozone Layer. Actual location
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for a foolproof sour beer recipe/instructions
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2010, 11:20:12 AM »
^ Good advice right there.  ;)
A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.