Sour beers

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Sour beers

Unread postby Nesto » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:31 am

cpa4ny asked me to post about a chat about secondary fermentation using Brett I had with Charlie Bamforth (brewing professor at UC Davis). I thought I'd talk about sour beers in general too.

I'm no Mad Fermentationist - an awesome brewing blog. I've only done 2 sour brews so far. Have another planned next month - a Sofie-style saison. You can read about them in my blog - sour #1 and accidental/on purpose sour #2.

Talking with Charlie first... there were a few things we talked about regarding time and temperature that I have since read about from other sources too. I think it was Dr. Bamforth who pointed me toward Chad Yakobson ( http://www.brettanomycesproject.com/ and http://www.crookedstave.com ).

I was trying a Consecration clone, so I asked about timing. He told me Brett is sensitive to pH, so when you pitch Brett vs. other bacteria (lacto or pedio) makes a difference in which characteristics get expressed and how much gets done by which organisms.. This led me to pitch Brett alone in secondary and wait a couple months before pitching Roeselare (which has pedio and lacto as well as Brett). I was also curious about the stuff I saw on the currants, which were floating right under the pellicle. Charlie said there was probably bacteria and/or wild yeast on the fruit.

One of the things he said about temperature was how resistant Brett was to higher ferment temps. This was later confirmed when I read Chad's research. So I didn't temp control secondary at all - Chad's research shows Brett works well up to 90F! Unfortunately, I didn't listen to Charlie's last bit of advice, which was to wait and wait. We kegged our sours too early. They are very good, but we probably should have let the bugs work longer.

Here are a couple other sources about sours from Vinnie:
Vinnie 2007 CBC Presentation
Brewing Sour Beers at Home Using Traditional and Alternative Methods

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmUjoJkKoYs
Vinnie MoreBeer Interview

I'd love to hear others experiences (or desires) to brew sour.
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Re: Sour beers

Unread postby cpa4ny » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:24 am

Thanks very much Nesto - that's a great write-up and a lot of references to good resources.

The best takeaway for me is that brett does very well at high temperatures and being on the equator I get plenty of those :wink:

Also - re Charlie's comments on "wait and wait" - what is the Brett fermentation time horizon that he recommends?
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Re: Sour beers

Unread postby Nesto » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:34 pm

cpa4ny wrote:Thanks very much Nesto - that's a great write-up and a lot of references to good resources.

The best takeaway for me is that brett does very well at high temperatures and being on the equator I get plenty of those :wink:

Also - re Charlie's comments on "wait and wait" - what is the Brett fermentation time horizon that he recommends?


He suggested 6 months to a year - mostly driven by the bugs and not the Brett. The idea being the bacteria do not work efficiently, but still work much past the time you reach your final gravity. Me and my buddy got a little too excited by reaching our final gravity and the beer was "sour enough" that we only gave the bugs 2 months before oaking our beer and bottling. Hopefully the beers will continue to develop in the bottle - we have some in the fridge (2C) and some in a wine cellar (12C) so it'll be interesting to see if the ones in the wine cellar get more sour over time.
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Re: Sour beers

Unread postby cpa4ny » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:14 am

6 months to a year is a long time to wait for a beer :roll: :drink:

Well worth it, I am sure :beer:
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