Author Topic: Sours  (Read 497 times)

Offline Brewmeisters

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 91
    • View Profile
Sours
« on: July 11, 2018, 01:01:17 AM »
My brew partner and I are about to start back up brewing after a 2 month hiatus.
He said he wanted to try to brew a sour beer.


I've taken a look at recipe kits, and they're around $70-$90.
And the overall time length is incredible, around a year or so.


What do we need to know before venturing into this new beer style?
When you brew, brew with a happy heart.

Offline TANSTAAFB

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 89
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 03:40:58 AM »
Read. A lot! Here's the start of a list off the top of my head

American Sour Beers https://www.amazon.com/dp/1938469119/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_SNxrBbDQ2AK06

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/6-tips-brew-sour-beers-mad-fermentationist/

https://www.themadfermentationist.com/?m=1

http://sourbeerblog.com/dr-lambics-guide-to-brewing-your-first-sour-beer/

http://www.milkthefunk.com/


Also some good podcasts

http://www.milkthefunk.com/podcast/

http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/the-sour-hour/

Not trying to overwhelm you with information, but knowledge is key to not wasting a sh!tload of time and money!

After tons of research and about 8-9 years of homebrewing, I just started my first sour beer project for a buddy's wedding.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/index.php?threads/645587/

What other resources can y'all think of?

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk


Offline dannyjed

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1024
  • Toledo, OH
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 03:53:30 AM »
Some people kettle sour beers that can be done relatively quickly. And some people take the longer approach that can take up to year or more to reach the desired flavor. I have done both and I prefer the longer method because the beer flavor tends to have multiple layers and nuances. The kettle sour beers tend to be more one dimensional. The price for the kits seem really high. The grain bill can be very simple or complex. You can start out with Pils and Wheat (1.050)and under 10 IBU’s. Use a mixed culture like WY 3763 Roeselare with lacto, Brett, and Pedio. I use separate equipment for fermenting and transferring my sour beers. I also have a keg dedicated to sours with its own picnic tap. I hope that helps a bit.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Dan Chisholm

Offline James K

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 363
  • Flagstaff, AZ
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 07:24:31 AM »
I’m not sure on how sour you are trying to get your beer but you can make a tart beer in less than a month. I recently turned a Berliner Weissern in three weeks.
7#pils
2#flaked wheat
Add 2-3# acidulated malt 30mins into the mash and cover with hot water. Rinse grains before boil.

Like I said, not super sour like 3.2ph but the acid malt lowers your ph. I have been using mostly distilled water for his, but am about to try a gose next using his method. You can also turn a sour in 6 months.  I feel like the year is to get more complex notes, but I have pitched WLP655 before and had a sour in much less time than a year.
Vice President of Flagstaff Mountain-Top Mashers
2017 Homebrewer of the year
"One mouth doesn't taste the beer."

Offline ynotbrusum

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2852
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 11:35:42 AM »
Maybe try a simple kettle soured beer first?  That can be as sour as you like it and yet will finish as quickly as a regular ale...not as complex, of course.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline jtoots

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 309
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 12:03:50 PM »
i've only tried one so far, and it was a kettle sour. it went ok, wasn't too tough, give it a shot!

Offline TANSTAAFB

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 89
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2018, 07:56:55 PM »
And if you want something a little more complex but that you don't have to wait months or years for you can kettle sour with lacto then add Brett but keep pedio out

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk


Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3175
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Sours
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2018, 05:02:29 PM »
There's no reason to pay that kind of money for a recipe kit.

Kettle sours are a good way to get your feet wet brewing sour beer as long as you can keep wort warm for an extended period of time (or can find one of the lacto strains that doesn't need more warmth than room temperature). With a kettle sour you mash as normal and when collecting your runnings you'll pitch lactobacillus and keep the wort in the 80s-90s for 1-3 days (mostly depending upon how warm you can keep the wort) and when it is sufficiently sour you boil and continue as normal. Keep the wort in a container with as little access to air as possible.
Keep IBUs very low. Your beer will be ready to drink within normal timeframes for clean beers and the resulting beer does not carry over bacteria to worry about with your racking/bottling equipment. This creates a boring but sour beer. It's sufficient as a base for adding fruit or dry hopping.

If you want to create a sour beer with more character you will want to look at the "normal" process for long term aging. It's still not an expensive or difficult process. You just brew as usual, pitch a sour blend and have a lot of patience. Aside from patience you need to check every 3-4 weeks to make sure the cap/stopper is secure on the carboy and the airlock is full of liquid. Letting in air through the top of the carboy will result in excessive amounts of acetic acid. You'll also want to think about getting separate racking/bottling equipment.

If you need to buy a kit or premade recipe just buy a hefeweizen kit and swap out the hefe yeast for a sour blend that has lacto, pedio and brett. This is the base recipe for the majority of pale sour beers out there. No need to pay several times that price because somebody wrote sour beer on the kit. If you want to kettle sour swap out the hefe yeast for a neutral ale yeast (or you can use any Belgian yeast) and buy lacto. Lots of people have good luck kettle souring with the good belly juice from the grocery store.

You can sour pretty much anything although I'd recommend keeping away from anything with roasted barley or black patent which sometimes create acrid or burnt tire flavors. If you're buying kits you can buy some of the basic recipe kits for brown ale, pale ale, wit, pilsner, altbier, etc. and change out the yeast and keep the IBUs below 20 for sour beer you're aging, right around 10 if you're kettle souring.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline chinaski

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2018, 06:10:47 PM »
Don't do what I did when I was curious about sour beers- that is, brew a kit that takes 9 months to a year to be ready.  It worked out great and produced a great clone of a well-know sour beer, but I figured out that I don't really like non-kettle soured sour beers very much.  A kettle-soured Berlinerweisse is what I prefer.  Taste some sour beers to find out what you like before you put the effort in.

Offline BrewBama

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1611
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2018, 07:01:46 PM »
.... I figured out that I don't really like non-kettle soured sour beers very much.  ... Taste some sour beers to find out what you like before you put the effort in.

+1. I found out the hard way after a 5 gallon batch; I don’t like sour beers.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Huntsville AL

Offline JT

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1390
  • Bloatarian Brewing League - Cincinnati, OH
    • View Profile
    • Bloatarian Brewing League
Re: Sours
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2018, 08:57:00 PM »
Kettle souring is absolutely fantastic for a beer like a Berliner Weisse.  I soured this beer in 38 hours using 2 shots of Goodbelly held at 95°F.  Edit: it is sour in 24 hours (info from previous batch).
After mashing, the wort was brought to 210° for 15 min to pasteurize then chilled to 95° when the Goodbelly was pitched (no starter). 
After souring it was brewed just like a normal beer.  Hour long boil to kill any remaining bugs, then fermented with a kölsch strain. 

« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 09:51:54 PM by JT »

Offline James K

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 363
  • Flagstaff, AZ
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2018, 09:54:06 PM »
Don't do what I did when I was curious about sour beers- that is, brew a kit that takes 9 months to a year to be ready.  It worked out great and produced a great clone of a well-know sour beer, but I figured out that I don't really like non-kettle soured sour beers very much.  A kettle-soured Berlinerweisse is what I prefer.  Taste some sour beers to find out what you like before you put the effort in.

One of the problems I have had with souring and Brett beers is that when you do pitch with lacto or Brett, your carboys are full for a long period and you can’t make anything else. When I first got into souring I made two beers back to back, Belgian sour mix and Brett b. I had to buy another carboy (which wasn’t really bad) to keep brewing for my monthly homebrew club.

I have never tried a kettle sour, it’s on my list of things to experiment with, but again I would try acid mashing. I’ve used 2-3 pounds to lower ph during the mash. Produces a nice tartness.
Vice President of Flagstaff Mountain-Top Mashers
2017 Homebrewer of the year
"One mouth doesn't taste the beer."

Offline yugamrap

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 351
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2018, 09:04:07 PM »
Kettle sours are your answer if you don't have the time or patience to wait a while.  As others posted, a Berliner Weisse is a good place to start.

If you really like sours, it can be all about blending - but you need time for that.  One of my favorite styles is Flanders Red.  Back in 2013, I switched to fermenting in stainless because I don't like plastic and am afraid of breaking and getting injured by glass carboys.  I had three glass carboys and debated whether to give them to our club's monthly raffle or find another use for them. 

Enter the solera.  The three carboys are all filled with Flanders Red of different ages.  The "oldest" carboy is a blend of batches dating back to February 2013 and has two ounces of medium French toast oak cubes that have been in there the whole time to simulate the inside of a barrel/foeder.  I've sealed it with a drilled natural cork and airlock to allow just a tiny bit of oxygen exchange which gives it a mild acetic character.

The "second oldest" carboy is one year behind the oldest one but has no oak cubes and is sealed with a carboy cap and airlock to try to minimize oxygen.  The character in this carboy is a little "fruitier" and I've added some organic tart cherry concentrate with recent batches.

The "newest" carboy has a batch in it that is typically under a year old and is usually only moderately sour. 

Each year, I get out my graduated cylinders and figure out blend proportions for a keg to be filled from the three carboys.  I always leave at least a half-gallon in each of the older two carboys - the idea being to develop "terroir" in the system over time.  Once I've blended the batch into the keg, I top up the oldest carboy from the second oldest (and some from the newest if necessary), then top up the second oldest from the newest.  That leaves the newest carboy empty and ready for a new batch.  I only handle/clean one glass carboy once or twice a year and, for me, that's a risk worth taking for the beer that the solera produces.

Maybe this isn't for you, or maybe you don't have the space for something like this - but it's a lot of fun and brings a really different aspect to brewing.  I'm hoping that my next adventure (if I can find the space in the basement of my small house) will be to brew-up a large batch - maybe 15 gallons or so - of straight Lambic for blending.  Brewing it won't be the problem - I need to find the right vessel and space for long-term storage.  And then there's my new foray into mead.... 
...it's liquid bread, it's good for you!

Offline ynotbrusum

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2852
    • View Profile
Re: Sours
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2018, 10:54:39 PM »
Kettle sours are your answer if you don't have the time or patience to wait a while.  As others posted, a Berliner Weisse is a good place to start.

If you really like sours, it can be all about blending - but you need time for that.  One of my favorite styles is Flanders Red.  Back in 2013, I switched to fermenting in stainless because I don't like plastic and am afraid of breaking and getting injured by glass carboys.  I had three glass carboys and debated whether to give them to our club's monthly raffle or find another use for them. 

Enter the solera.  The three carboys are all filled with Flanders Red of different ages.  The "oldest" carboy is a blend of batches dating back to February 2013 and has two ounces of medium French toast oak cubes that have been in there the whole time to simulate the inside of a barrel/foeder.  I've sealed it with a drilled natural cork and airlock to allow just a tiny bit of oxygen exchange which gives it a mild acetic character.

The "second oldest" carboy is one year behind the oldest one but has no oak cubes and is sealed with a carboy cap and airlock to try to minimize oxygen.  The character in this carboy is a little "fruitier" and I've added some organic tart cherry concentrate with recent batches.

The "newest" carboy has a batch in it that is typically under a year old and is usually only moderately sour. 

Each year, I get out my graduated cylinders and figure out blend proportions for a keg to be filled from the three carboys.  I always leave at least a half-gallon in each of the older two carboys - the idea being to develop "terroir" in the system over time.  Once I've blended the batch into the keg, I top up the oldest carboy from the second oldest (and some from the newest if necessary), then top up the second oldest from the newest.  That leaves the newest carboy empty and ready for a new batch.  I only handle/clean one glass carboy once or twice a year and, for me, that's a risk worth taking for the beer that the solera produces.

Maybe this isn't for you, or maybe you don't have the space for something like this - but it's a lot of fun and brings a really different aspect to brewing.  I'm hoping that my next adventure (if I can find the space in the basement of my small house) will be to brew-up a large batch - maybe 15 gallons or so - of straight Lambic for blending.  Brewing it won't be the problem - I need to find the right vessel and space for long-term storage.  And then there's my new foray into mead.... 

This is exactly what I do, except my oldest is in an oak barrel (my 10 year and running mother funkship), my middle one is in glass and my new one is in plastic.  I blend to taste on the small scale and rack out 5 gallons total into a keg.   Then I refill the oak from the glass and the glass with whatever is left in the plastics. Then I re-brew a new batch for the plastic.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"