Membership questions? Log in issues? Email info@brewersassociation.org

Author Topic: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?  (Read 4736 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2366
  • Ken from Chicago
    • The new Mayfair Court Brewhouse
Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« on: January 27, 2021, 09:02:27 pm »
If so, my apologies.  In another thread I mentioned that I was inspired to go to my local Aldi and grab some Wernesgruner.  When I tasted it, I was reminded of "sauergut" which is something I will get from various beers like Bitburger, DAB, Radeberger, Carlsberg and some others.  I assume most are familiar with it but for those who aren't, here is a description from the Google Machine:

Quote
Sauergut is a running supply of soured wort that is topped up with fresh wort every time you use some to sour a beer. The fresh wort becomes soured by the lactobacillus in the remaining wort that you add it to.

That description is open to all kinds of interpretation and discussion but you basically make some soured wort so that you can adjust the mash pH of a beer that you're brewing and you would use that instead of acid malt or lactic acid.  I asked about this on the LO forum and it was mentioned that sauergut is the best choice for lowering the pH of your mash with acid malt being #2 and lactic acid being the last option.  I use lactic acid.  But the fascinating part of this is that every beer that is made with sauergut may have a very distinct character because perhaps that brewery's sauergut is very distinct itself.  Every beer that uses its own sauergut could be very different than other beers based on just this one piece of the brewing process.  I noticed the flavor in the Wernesgruner tonight.  Some people have described it as a sort of "grape juice" flavor which I can understand but it doesn't REALLY taste like that.  My conclusion is that I really do not care for that character.  In some beers it's very faint while in others that character is screaming in the beer.  I don't necessarily have a question other than "who here makes their own sauergut?" and also... do you guys have any thoughts on this topic?  Cheers.
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline Bilsch

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 249
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2021, 09:25:24 pm »
I do and have been for years and so do a lot of members of another beer forum. Usually commercial breweries will use a fed reactor as described in your quote. Most home brewers make it batchwise because it is thought to be less work then keeping a reactor maintained. Either way it's a solid part of the flavor of German beer and I can't see how one could try to replicate them without sauergut.

Offline erockrph

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 7810
  • Chepachet, RI
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2021, 10:58:43 pm »
I don't have much to add, but this is definitely an interesting thought that I had never considered. A brewery's saurgut would be like a sourdough starter or a house culture at a lambic brewery. I will definitely keep this in mind when drinking German lagers in the future.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline ynotbrusum

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 4896
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2021, 05:18:45 am »
I use Acidulated malt in all of my pale beers.  I don’t trust myself with sauergut.  Maybe it is easier than I think, but I worry about nasties developing in that process.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 4736
  • Lord Idiot the Lazy
    • YEAST MASTER Perma-Living
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2021, 06:25:22 am »
I'm a German import lager aficionado.  I really love the white grape character that many of the traditional lagers have.  I believe it even has a specific chemical composition: ethyl heptanoate.  How it gets there I believe is more a malt + yeast thing than a sauergut thing.  I believe this is true because I have tasted homebrewed versions with this character which absolutely did NOT use sauergut.  Just sayin'.  I could be wrong.  If sauergut or pH or lactic has something to do with this character, I'm all for it.  But I don't think it necessarily NEEDS to come from sauergut as far as I can tell.  Some yeasts that I know produce some levels of white grape include 2206 and WLP833.  I'm not sure which others, I'd have a whole lot more experimentation to do to find out.

Cheers all.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline BrewBama

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 6097
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2021, 06:56:12 am »
It is an interesting way to add acid when required for lighter beers. I don’t brew enough German lagers to launch into a new hobby though. I applaud those who enjoy them to the point of cultivating and/or feeding a culture.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Offline Village Taphouse

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2366
  • Ken from Chicago
    • The new Mayfair Court Brewhouse
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2021, 07:54:21 am »
Let me ask this:  If I were to make a pale lager and use 4ml of lactic acid in my strike water (my bicarb is around 140ppm and 4ml is a common amount of lactic acid I need to reach a suitable mash pH), is there an easy way to convert that 4ml of 88% lactic acid to acid malt?  How can I know how much acid malt I need to achieve the same pH-lowering function as acid?  I suppose BNW is the answer but I was curious if there were any known conversions.  I originally brought the topic of "that flavor" to the guys on the LO forum and I can't even remember how I described it because it's an unusual flavor.  But I do pick it up in various commercial Euro beers and I have never gotten that character in my own beers, regardless of which yeast I used.  That is not breaking my heart because too much of that character is taking away from the beer, IMO.  Cheers Beerheads.   
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline Village Taphouse

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2366
  • Ken from Chicago
    • The new Mayfair Court Brewhouse
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2021, 08:41:00 am »
Someone asked a similar question HERE and the "ballpark" answer is that 4ml of acid is equal to about 5 ounces of acid malt.  If sauergut is the best option and lactic acid is the last option, trying some sauermalt might be an interesting possible upgrade.  I have a couple pounds of Weyermann sauermalt and I intend to brew this weekend (a Vienna Lager) so maybe I'll swap out some pilsner and use 5 ounces of sauermalt and see how my mash pH looks.  If it's high I'll knock it down with acid to get to the right spot and adjust on the next one.  Would I be able to tell the difference in the finished beer? 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline majorvices

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11341
  • Polka. If its too loud you're too young.
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2021, 08:44:25 am »
I've played with sauergut a little, not enough to have any advice or opinions.

Wyermann used to have a detailed directions on how much a percentage of Acid Malt lowered the pH in a mash of a certain size. But I can't find it. The best thing I can tell you is to do what I used to do. Add a certain amount, check the pH, write it down and make adjustments from there.

Personally I just think Lactic Acid is easier.

Offline ynotbrusum

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 4896
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2021, 08:47:17 am »
I use Brunwater and Brewers Friend in recipe calculation.  Typically I use something like a quarter to a half pound for a five gallon batch.  It is very much color dependent, which makes it grist component-dependent.  Martin can probably give the specifics on calculating pH movement in a typical lighter beer color.  Frankly, I tend to watch to make sure I don't overly sour my mash, as the pH seems so important in ultimately getting the clarity I want (5.2pH as a bottom-most line and 5.3-5.4 as a frequent mark to seek).
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 4736
  • Lord Idiot the Lazy
    • YEAST MASTER Perma-Living
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2021, 08:51:05 am »
If memory serves, each 1% of acid malt lowers the pH by roughly 0.1.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline Village Taphouse

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2366
  • Ken from Chicago
    • The new Mayfair Court Brewhouse
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2021, 09:07:52 am »
For those interested in this, there is an article HERE from the LO forum.  I personally do not see myself ever trying this but maybe I'll retire someday and feel compelled to look into it.  I know some people who adhere quite strictly to the LO concepts but do not use sauergut to lower their mash pH.  Still, an interesting concept and I agree with erockrph that it's like a bakery's sourdough starter... the character of it could completely make (or break?) a beer's flavor.  I'm willing to see how the acid malt works in this Vienna Lager over the weekend and I will report back. 

Oh, I meant to ask this too:  When I use lactic acid, I add it to my strike water so when the water & grains get together, there is no chance of the grain coming into contact with high-pH water.  Here, my water would be relatively high in pH when it comes in contact with the grains because I am not adding lactic acid to the water.  Would the acid malt quickly knock down the pH of the mixture so I don't have to worry about the pH?  Back when my understanding of pH was poor (to say the least), I made beers with that nasty, husky and grainy flavor because my high-pH water was coming into contact with the grains and I assume extracting tannins. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 09:12:06 am by Village Taphouse »
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 10689
  • Milford, MI
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2021, 10:04:19 am »
Let me ask this:  If I were to make a pale lager and use 4ml of lactic acid in my strike water (my bicarb is around 140ppm and 4ml is a common amount of lactic acid I need to reach a suitable mash pH), is there an easy way to convert that 4ml of 88% lactic acid to acid malt?  How can I know how much acid malt I need to achieve the same pH-lowering function as acid?  I suppose BNW is the answer but I was curious if there were any known conversions.  I originally brought the topic of "that flavor" to the guys on the LO forum and I can't even remember how I described it because it's an unusual flavor.  But I do pick it up in various commercial Euro beers and I have never gotten that character in my own beers, regardless of which yeast I used.  That is not breaking my heart because too much of that character is taking away from the beer, IMO.  Cheers Beerheads.

There was a file on the Weyermann site that said for every 1% of the fridge as acid malt, the pH would drop by 0.1.

Jeff Rankert
AHA Lifetime Member
BJCP National
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Village Taphouse

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2366
  • Ken from Chicago
    • The new Mayfair Court Brewhouse
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2021, 10:15:01 am »
There was a file on the Weyermann site that said for every 1% of the fridge as acid malt, the pH would drop by 0.1.
It seems then that I would need far more than 5 ounces of acid malt.  My source water pH is 7.9 according to Ward Labs and using 5 ounces of acid malt in (let's say) a 10 pound grist is just over 2.5% which means that 7.9 pH would only drop to 7.6 or 7.7?  Am I doing that math properly?  I realize it would drop further from the grains in the mash but not down to ~5.3. 
Ken from Chicago. 
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 10689
  • Milford, MI
Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2021, 10:23:57 am »
There was a file on the Weyermann site that said for every 1% of the fridge as acid malt, the pH would drop by 0.1.
It seems then that I would need far more than 5 ounces of acid malt.  My source water pH is 7.9 according to Ward Labs and using 5 ounces of acid malt in (let's say) a 10 pound grist is just over 2.5% which means that 7.9 pH would only drop to 7.6 or 7.7?  Am I doing that math properly?  I realize it would drop further from the grains in the mash but not down to ~5.3.

They are talking about the mash pH. Water pH means little.

Found it.

https://fliphtml5.com/qnjc/vhyz/basic
Jeff Rankert
AHA Lifetime Member
BJCP National
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!