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NwMaltHead

Sours

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Anybody here have any success making a sour beer at all? I love sours and am curious as to how well the lactic acid works, or if there is another way to do it.

Insight is much appreciated!!

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research brewing with Brett C.

 

never done it but Mashani , who used to be a member here , loves making sours.  most of what he ended up with came out sours because of a rogue infestation of Brett C. in his air ducts.  be advised that you will have to likely use a lbk exclusively for this type of brewing because the yeast gets into things and will turn everything you make into a sour.  also be advised that brett c is a SLOW fermenter.  care must be taken to ensure it is done or you can get bottle bombs.  I think. 

 

i'll send you a pm with the site he can be found at usually .  I don't think he would mind if you asked where you could look for education on this..  he's a good guy and will likely not mind at all. 

 

https://www.beercraftr.com/beer-yeast-list/lambic-sour-ale/            lists yeasts that make sours.

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Lactic acid works just fine for basic sours such as goses (http://www.mrbeer.com/salty-dawg-grapefruit-gose) or Berliner Weisses. But it is a bit "one-dimensional" in flavor for more complex sours like Flanders Reds or barrel-aged sours. For that, I would recommend using a lactobacillus bacterial blend for brewing. Normally, you will start with something like US-05 to get it going, then add the bacteria in secondary and let it sit for about 6 months.

 

As mentioned above, you will want to get equipment dedicated for bacterial fermentations to prevent cross-contamination into other brews. If using steel kegs for aging and/or carbonating you will need to disassemble the keg and replace all rubber seals before using again for another beer.

 

I use stainless steel funnels and spoons that are much easier to clean than plastic or wood (avoid wooden utensils at all costs - wooden mash paddles are fine since they are typically used pre-boil). Steel can be used for both sours and non-sours. Bacteria cannot adhere itself to metal or glass like it does to plastic, wood, or other porous material.

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@MRB Josh R, are there any off-the-cuff methods for fermenting with Brett without a barrel? I'd love to procure a barrel, but didn't know if there were any alternatives (i.e. wood planks in a 5-gallon bucket) in the interim. If anyone could point me in the right direction, I would gladly do the research. 

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18 minutes ago, Big Sarge said:

@MRB Josh R, are there any off-the-cuff methods for fermenting with Brett without a barrel? I'd love to procure a barrel, but didn't know if there were any alternatives (i.e. wood planks in a 5-gallon bucket) in the interim. If anyone could point me in the right direction, I would gladly do the research. 

 

You don't need to ferment brett with a barrel at all. It's just a wild yeast, wood is not required. You can use any fermenter.

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1 hour ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

You don't need to ferment brett with a barrel at all. It's just a wild yeast, wood is not required. You can use any fermenter.

Well that's good to hear! I was under the impression that it was just about a requirement. Thanks again. 

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2 hours ago, Big Sarge said:

Well that's good to hear! I was under the impression that it was just about a requirement. Thanks again. 

 

Brett does well with barrel-aging for sure, but it's definitely not required.

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There seems to be a little bit of confusion around the terms being used. Brett is a yeast and I don't think that it in fact "sours" anything. Brett. short for Brettanomyces, is simply a different kind of yeast but it is a yeast that can create funky flavors and wine makers used to dread the presence of this yeast. More than that, Brett can ferment sugars that Saccharomyces  (the usual suspect) cannot, so for example, if you have a wooden barrel OR you have oak chips Brett can get inside the wood and transform some of the sugars from the wood into ethanol. So if Brett was found in a winery that used to mean that it was likely to have infected all their barrels. But today, a number of commercial and amateur mead-makers are experimenting with Brett.

 

Souring comes from the presence of bacteria - not fungi like yeast,  and those bacteria produce lactic acid - Lacto-brevis , for example. I may be wrong about this but according to White Labs lactic strains can only ferment one or two points so you need to either finish with an ale yeast or start with an ale yeast. The thing about wort is that it is very susceptible to lactic bacterial infection  and while you can certainly add cultured colonies of bacteria if you allow your wort to slowly cool and leave it "open" for 24 hours before pitching your yeast it will have begun to sour because of the bacteria in the environment.

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51 minutes ago, Brewer said:

Brett is a yeast and I don't think that it in fact "sours" anything.

 

This is mostly true, but depends on the Brett strain. Brettanomyces lambicus CAN create some sour notes as it produces more acids than the other 2 strains of Brett, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, and Brettanomyces claussenii. So while Brett on its own isn't much of a souring agent, it does work well with bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Pediococcus. This is why there are souring blends on the market that contain Brett yeast in addition to bacteria.

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