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### Author Topic: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?  (Read 4801 times)

#### dmtaylor

• Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
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##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2021, 10:30:26 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.

No no..... the malt itself will lower the mash pH to around 5.8-5.9.  From there, any salt additions and your chosen acid addition will take it down the rest of the way to 5.4 or whatever your goal is.  Specialty malts like crystal, Carapils, and any dark roasted malts are also extra acidic so in darker styles you will likely not need any acid at 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.

#### Village Taphouse

• Brewmaster General
• Posts: 2368
• Ken from Chicago
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2021, 10:44:57 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.

No no..... the malt itself will lower the mash pH to around 5.8-5.9.  From there, any salt additions and your chosen acid addition will take it down the rest of the way to 5.4 or whatever your goal is.  Specialty malts like crystal, Carapils, and any dark roasted malts are also extra acidic so in darker styles you will likely not need any acid at all.
Okay, thanks for that.  I might try this over the weekend and see what happens.  I would start with the 5 ounces of acid malt and then see what my meter says.  If the pH is high I will make adjustments with lactic acid and bump up the acid malt on the next batch.  This Vienna Lager recipe comes in around an SRM of 8 so not a DARK beer by any stretch.  Let's see what happens... it's only beer.
Ken from Chicago.
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

#### fredthecat

• Senior Brewmaster
• Posts: 1949
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2021, 10:47:57 am »
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.

this is an awesome topic. will check and reply later. bookmarked

#### ynotbrusum

• Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
• Posts: 4900
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2021, 11:50:29 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.

No no..... the malt itself will lower the mash pH to around 5.8-5.9.  From there, any salt additions and your chosen acid addition will take it down the rest of the way to 5.4 or whatever your goal is.  Specialty malts like crystal, Carapils, and any dark roasted malts are also extra acidic so in darker styles you will likely not need any acid at all.
Okay, thanks for that.  I might try this over the weekend and see what happens.  I would start with the 5 ounces of acid malt and then see what my meter says.  If the pH is high I will make adjustments with lactic acid and bump up the acid malt on the next batch.  This Vienna Lager recipe comes in around an SRM of 8 so not a DARK beer by any stretch.  Let's see what happens... it's only beer.

I checked my last Vienna that I brewed last fall and it was 5.25 pH (using RO starting point):

8.75 lb    Avangard - Vienna              83.8%
0.85 lb    Avangard - Light Munich      8.1%
0.28 lb    German - Acidulated Malt      2.7%
0.25 lb    German - CaraMunich I      2.4%
0.25 lb    The Swaen - Melany              2.4%
0.07 lb    Briess - Midnight Wheat Malt   0.6%

Other Additions to strike water .5 g BTB and 3g each of CaCl2 and CaSO4
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

#### dmtaylor

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• Posts: 4736
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##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2021, 12:11:52 pm »
I checked my last Vienna that I brewed last fall and it was 5.25 pH (using RO starting point):

8.75 lb    Avangard - Vienna              83.8%
0.85 lb    Avangard - Light Munich      8.1%
0.28 lb    German - Acidulated Malt      2.7%
0.25 lb    German - CaraMunich I      2.4%
0.25 lb    The Swaen - Melany              2.4%
0.07 lb    Briess - Midnight Wheat Malt   0.6%

Other Additions to strike water .5 g BTB and 3g each of CaCl2 and CaSO4

Sounds right.  RO water plus base malt gives a pH of about 5.8.  Acidulated brought it down to about 5.5.  Dark malts and salts brought it down the rest of the way to 5.25.

This is an example of the math I do in my head on every single batch.  I use the Ray Daniels' Designing Great Beers method where he starts with 5.8, then says for the first 10% of the grist that is crystal or dark roasted, pH comes down 0.3, and at 20% it comes down by 0.5.  Yours was at or under 5% so you lost maybe 0.2 from the darker malts.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 12:13:53 pm by dmtaylor »
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.

#### Village Taphouse

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• Posts: 2368
• Ken from Chicago
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2021, 12:26:57 pm »
I assume that if my pH is out of whack (I'm expecting it to be high) that I have some time to lower it with acid before anything problematic happens, correct?  I have not relied solely on acid malt to do this for me so I am mildly twitchy about it.
Ken from Chicago.
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

#### dmtaylor

• Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
• Posts: 4736
• Lord Idiot the Lazy
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2021, 01:32:29 pm »
I assume that if my pH is out of whack (I'm expecting it to be high) that I have some time to lower it with acid before anything problematic happens, correct?  I have not relied solely on acid malt to do this for me so I am mildly twitchy about it.

Absolutely, you can adjust the pH during the mash whenever you want.  It's not like the enzymes will die or the world will end if you don't have the pH at a good point right away at the beginning of the mash.  No worries.
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.

#### Bilsch

• Assistant Brewer
• Posts: 249
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2021, 01:49:13 pm »
Some beers with SG can have a grapey character, like Hofbrauhaus Freising for instance, but sauergut itself tastes nothing like that. Nor to do most German beers containing it have the 'grapey' thing that is often incorrectly associated with it.  It is difficult to describe but tastes more like a faint lactic orange juicy malty citrus thing and really quite delicious to drink just by itself. Unfortunately though, similar to beer, it is very susceptible to oxidation where it turns from light yellow to dark orange and the wonderful fresh flavors disappear. Weyermann sells SG but as received is already damaged because of the cheap packaging they chose and does not taste like it should. Again the only way to get the correct flavors of the German macros we are all familiar with is making your sauergut. It really isn't terribly hard to do, there are just a certain set of steps you must follow. And if you follow the process, most importantly making sure it starts below a specific pH, there is nothing harmful that can survive in it and you are quite safe.

#### Village Taphouse

• Brewmaster General
• Posts: 2368
• Ken from Chicago
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2021, 01:54:49 pm »
I assume that if my pH is out of whack (I'm expecting it to be high) that I have some time to lower it with acid before anything problematic happens, correct?  I have not relied solely on acid malt to do this for me so I am mildly twitchy about it.

Absolutely, you can adjust the pH during the mash whenever you want.  It's not like the enzymes will die or the world will end if you don't have the pH at a good point right away at the beginning of the mash.  No worries.
I know that grains and water that are mixed together and over a pH of about 6 can start pulling that grainy, husky character so that's what I was referring to.  If my mash started at a pH of over six, I would be concerned that I would have that issue happening before I was able to correct it.  But I don't want to start with TOO much acid malt because I would rather lower the pH than raise it.  This will be a fun experiment, for me anyway.
Ken from Chicago.
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

#### Village Taphouse

• Brewmaster General
• Posts: 2368
• Ken from Chicago
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2021, 01:56:59 pm »
Some beers with SG can have a grapey character, like Hofbrauhaus Freising for instance, but sauergut itself tastes nothing like that. Nor to do most German beers containing it have the 'grapey' thing that is often incorrectly associated with it.  It is difficult to describe but tastes more like a faint lactic orange juicy malty citrus thing and really quite delicious to drink just by itself. Unfortunately though, similar to beer, it is very susceptible to oxidation where it turns from light yellow to dark orange and the wonderful fresh flavors disappear. Weyermann sells SG but as received is already damaged because of the cheap packaging they chose and does not taste like it should. Again the only way to get the correct flavors of the German macros we are all familiar with is making your sauergut. It really isn't terribly hard to do, there are just a certain set of steps you must follow. And if you follow the process, most importantly making sure it starts below a specific pH, there is nothing harmful that can survive in it and you are quite safe.
I noticed in that link to the sauergut reactor that the comments section had someone who ran into a problem where the SG smelled like cheese or vomit or something.  I would probably do what you do and make each batch of SG separately as opposed to maintaining a running supply of it.  When it's time to add the SG, what volume do you typically have to add to reach your pH numbers?
Ken from Chicago.
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

#### fredthecat

• Senior Brewmaster
• Posts: 1949
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2021, 02:25:19 pm »
ok, yeah. i can imagine sauergut could definitely be a factor or the cause of the highly distinctive ger pils/lagers "brand tastes". it would be very easy for me to pick out wernesgruner/konigpils/warsteiner/ etc

all decent german pils brands out there, even if they dont have a highly distinctive flavour like those above have that difficult to describe backbone that really makes it more than malt and hops flavours.

after ending up reading more and more of user "the(die :rolleyes: ) beerery"'s posts i definitely see how annoying and counterproductive he was, but i do really appreciate his extreme attempts to try to understand the nuances of german brewing (or at least what he perceives is "german brewing" aka contemporary bavarian).

would be awesome to find out that sauergut is a major part of the answer to his search, and in fact not necessarily LO brewing.

#### Bilsch

• Assistant Brewer
• Posts: 249
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2021, 02:28:52 pm »
I noticed in that link to the sauergut reactor that the comments section had someone who ran into a problem where the SG smelled like cheese or vomit or something.  I would probably do what you do and make each batch of SG separately as opposed to maintaining a running supply of it.  When it's time to add the SG, what volume do you typically have to add to reach your pH numbers?

Yes the vial butyric vomit thing can happen if you do not protect it from excess oxidation while souring. Nice part is if you mess up the process your nose will definitely tell you. How much SG you need depends on what acid content your batch reached. It can vary from 1% to 2% but more likely 1.2%-1.8% so amounts required vary. For a 10 gallon brew I use roughly ~350ml for the mash and another ~400ml for knock out addition. SG will keep batchwise if stored cold and sealed from oxygen for at least 6 months so you can do it in 5 gallon batches, or what ever your brew system and keg size is, and dispense as needed.

Making your own SG is like starting brewing, in that at first it seems daunting but after you do it a couple times it becomes a non issue.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 02:45:01 pm by Bilsch »

#### Village Taphouse

• Brewmaster General
• Posts: 2368
• Ken from Chicago
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2021, 02:32:38 pm »
I noticed in that link to the sauergut reactor that the comments section had someone who ran into a problem where the SG smelled like cheese or vomit or something.  I would probably do what you do and make each batch of SG separately as opposed to maintaining a running supply of it.  When it's time to add the SG, what volume do you typically have to add to reach your pH numbers?

Yes the vial butyric vomit thing can happen if you do not protect it from excess oxidation while souring. Nice part is if you mess up the process your nose will definitely tell you. How much SG you need depends on what acid content your batch reached. It can vary from 1% to 2% but more likely 1.2%-1.8% so amounts required vary. For a 10 gallon brew I use roughly ~350ml for the mash and another ~400ml for knock out addition. SG will keep batchwise if stored cold and sealed from oxygen for at least 6 months so you can do it in 5 gallon batches, or what ever your brew system and keg size is, and dispense as needed.

Making your own SG like starting brewing, in that at first it seems daunting but after you do it a couple times it becomes a non issue.
I don't know that I would ever do it but I like how you're making it sound manageable.
Ken from Chicago.
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

#### Village Taphouse

• Brewmaster General
• Posts: 2368
• Ken from Chicago
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2021, 02:36:59 pm »
ok, yeah. i can imagine sauergut could definitely be a factor or the cause of the highly distinctive ger pils/lagers "brand tastes". it would be very easy for me to pick out wernesgruner/konigpils/warsteiner/ etc

all decent german pils brands out there, even if they dont have a highly distinctive flavour like those above have that difficult to describe backbone that really makes it more than malt and hops flavours.

after ending up reading more and more of user "the(die :rolleyes: ) beerery"'s posts i definitely see how annoying and counterproductive he was, but i do really appreciate his extreme attempts to try to understand the nuances of german brewing (or at least what he perceives is "german brewing" aka contemporary bavarian).

would be awesome to find out that sauergut is a major part of the answer to his search, and in fact not necessarily LO brewing.
Remember that the original journey for that group was to find the elusive "German flavor".  Some of their search brought them to LO and the fact that O2 robs a beer of its deep malt flavors and character so there was a lot of time and effort spent on that.  But the concept of the sauergut (rarely heard of in homebrewing prior to this group looking into it) could easily have as big of an impact on achieving that German flavor as the LO thing.  They knew that it wasn't just this brand of grain or that strain of yeast or the freshest German hops, etc.  It was more than that and I spoke with one of the [fractured] people in that group at length about what they were looking for and how they expected to find it.  I believe that some of them have spent time in Germany, at breweries and with brewers discussing some of the finer details.  Clearly there has been a lot of research done.
Ken from Chicago.
A day without beer is like... just kidding, I have no idea.

#### Bilsch

• Assistant Brewer
• Posts: 249
##### Re: Have we had a conversation here about sauergut?
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2021, 02:43:42 pm »
would be awesome to find out that sauergut is a major part of the answer to his search, and in fact not necessarily LO brewing.

I think every brewer knows beer is the sum of all it's ingredients and process and there are many. It stands to reason then that sauergut isn't the key to German flavor but instead just one of the many things you can add and levers you can pull to get it right.