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Anyone tried/heard of this sour brewing method?

Was listening to The Sunday Session on The Brewing Network recently, and they had the head brewer of Flat Tail Brewing in Oregon. Sounds like a pretty smart dude.

He was essentially saying that the ‘traditional’ homebrewer way of making sours, while good and a scaled replication of how traditional Flanders brewers did it, is not really necessary these days to make a good tart beer.

Essentially, homebrewers (aka Jamil) advocates that you pitch your sacc yeast first, let it ferment (maybe a somewhat unfermentable wort), THEN pitch your Roseleare/bugs. The reason it takes so long to make a sour beer this way is that there is very little for the bugs to eat.

The way he was advocating doing it was make a dextrinous wort (using oats/spelt, etc. to get some starches int here), pitch lactobacillus FIRST, let it ferment at 75-80* for a few days and spit out some lactic acid, THEN drop the beer temp to the mid 60’s or so, and pitch your sacc yeast or brett culture. He did say that it still takes some time to age and allow the lactic acid to round out, but you don’t need to keep these beers around for years and years to make a sour.

Just wondering if anyone has heard of this/tried this/tried Flat Tails beers and thinks they suck, in which case i may disregard everything this dude said. But to me, this sounds like a time to be makin’ some expeermintin’

I guess you could go this route, or just do a sour mash in the first place although I guess that can be a little hit-or-miss. It’d be more expensive since the bacteria are as expensive as the blends.

I know some people have trouble getting sour beer from Roeselare, with the lambic blend I haven’t had trouble making a sour beer that is sour within 9 months. Both the Roeselare and lambic blends have Sach and sherry yeasts as components.

An easier way to bump up the sourness fast is to add dregs from a good bottle of gueze or lambic. I think that serves to bring bacteria levels way up and gives a more sour product in a fairly short period.

If impatience is bad enough, just try adding some lactic acid and maybe some acid blend (citric is nice and tart) to a brew.

I have a couple of buddy’s that brew a berliner weis every summer and thats what they do. They pitch the lacto first and ferment as hot as they can. They check the ph till it gets down to around 2.6 and then they pitch a kolsch yeast on it. They kolsch takes over and dries it out a bit quicker than the lacto does. The beer is amazing! At around 3%abv, its ready to drink in a week and a half to 2 weeks.

There’s a local brewery that does that for their Berliner Weisse. They avoid the bacteria entirely for fear of their other beers getting infected. Maybe I’m just bad at these things, but I can’t find a thing wrong with that beer.

I’m more skeptical about trying to hurry some of the sour beers that traditionally want a year or two of aging, including the Flanders ones. I think there’s more to them than just sourness that comes from the slow process, including oxidation from sitting around in the wood barrels.

There’s a local brewery that does that for their Berliner Weisse. They avoid the bacteria entirely for fear of their other beers getting infected. Maybe I’m just bad at these things, but I can’t find a thing wrong with that beer.

I’m more skeptical about trying to hurry some of the sour beers that traditionally want a year or two of aging, including the Flanders ones. I think there’s more to them than just sourness that comes from the slow process, including oxidation from sitting around in the wood barrels.[/quote]
Agreed. The “horsey” Brett character increases for several months too.

[quote=“bunderbunder”]
I’m more skeptical about trying to hurry some of the sour beers that traditionally want a year or two of aging, including the Flanders ones. I think there’s more to them than just sourness that comes from the slow process, including oxidation from sitting around in the wood barrels.[/quote]

I think for something like an Oud Bruin, where the Brett and sour notes are typically pretty restrained, then it would be fine. I’d be skeptical of rushing something like a Flanders Red or a Lambic, since the Brett is such a big component of the flavor and aroma. In addition, there’s just a hint of acetic character in a Flanders Red that, when done right (IMO), only comes from slow barrel aging.

This would be a good way to kick off a first pitch of Roselaire in an Oud Bruin, then targeting a Flanders Red for the second brew off that pitch.

I do like to mash my sours targeting a mash pH of 5.2. The lower pH slows the enzymes a bit (hopefully leaving some more dextrins), and gives the bugs a bit of a head start.

I’ve added a tablesppon of flour before to try and add some dextrins. Really though I’ve made an excellent kriek from an extract kit (Dawsons Kriek) so I think the 25% of unfermentables in any wort is adequate to feed the microbes through their progression.

Lambics: I agree that they cannot be rushed. Part of the character in them is from the Brett coming along and cleaning up the mess of all the different ‘bacters’ that have played around in the wort, and you can’t have that unless you’ve given the bacters time to develop.

Flanders Red/Browns and “New” American sours: I’d like to try this process. I agree that there is a vinegary/acetic acid character that comes with a well-aged flanders, but doesn’t lactobacillus spit some some acetic acid as well as lactic acid?

This might be next on my 5G brew in a bag:

80% 2-row
10% melanoidin
5% crystal 40
5% cara-red
1lb steeped oats for dextrins

IBUs to about 20

EDIT: Lactobacillus (not lactic acid) at the start @80*

Brett Trois to finish up @ 68*

I’ve only brewed one Flanders red, so not an expert, but I used only Roselare.

My last beer was a 10 gal batch w/ 5.5 in one carboy and 3.5 in the other. :oops:
I was thinking about brewing a 2 gal sour to blend with the short beer. Might be a good time to experiment.

I’ve had a couple of Flat Tail’s beers and enjoyed them, the brewery isn’t too far from home.
Time for a road trip.

There are a couple of ways to do this which don’t involve contaminating fermenters. One is doing a sour mash, as mentioned above, the second which some people use to make things like Gose and Berliner Weisse is to run the wort off the mash into the kettle, then keep the kettle warm (90-100F) and use lacto to create the desired sourness. Using a pH meter to check for your desired level of acidity helps. Then boil long enough to kill the bacteria and pitch your yeast to complete fermentation. Works well for Gose and Berliner Weisse, but probably not what you want for a lambic, or a Flanders Brown. Lots of different ways to get a sour though.

Is Gose supposed to be soured? I though it was a clean beer with coriander and salt to mimic the brackish water of Goslar?

[quote=“Pietro”]This might be next on my 5G brew in a bag:

80% 2-row
10% melanoidin
5% crystal 40
5% cara-red
1lb steeped oats for dextrins

IBUs to about 20

EDIT: Lactobacillus (not lactic acid) at the start @80*

Brett Trois to finish up @ 68*[/quote]
I’ve done a few lactobacillus and Bret Trios beers - no other yeast. Different grain bills, but followed roughly the same pitching schedule. They were delicious, but finished more like a berliner weiss than a Flanders. I would say they were ready to drink after 1-2 months, although I waited a bit longer than that.

[quote=“sl8w”][quote=“Pietro”]This might be next on my 5G brew in a bag:

80% 2-row
10% melanoidin
5% crystal 40
5% cara-red
1lb steeped oats for dextrins

IBUs to about 20

EDIT: Lactobacillus (not lactic acid) at the start @80*

Brett Trois to finish up @ 68*[/quote]
I’ve done a few lactobacillus and Bret Trios beers - no other yeast. Different grain bills, but followed roughly the same pitching schedule. They were delicious, but finished more like a berliner weiss than a Flanders. I would say they were ready to drink after 1-2 months, although I waited a bit longer than that.[/quote]

Nice thanks! I’m guessing the Trois just chews through everything? Did you add some dextrins from oats or anything? I’m thinking if I get the oats in there for body and some cara grains for color, it might move away from a thin, fizzy sour to one with a little more residual body. :cheers:

Same here. A local brewery makes a Berliner Weiss by pitching lacto B into the collected wort and let’s that go for 2 days, boils the wort to protect the rest of the brewery, then pitches sacc yeast to finish.

Darn tasty.

Is Gose supposed to be soured? I though it was a clean beer with coriander and salt to mimic the brackish water of Goslar?[/quote]

Gose is definitely a sour beer, supposed to be nearly as sour as a berliner weisse, although the salt tends to make it taste a little less sour. A lot of the US versions are less sour, but it uses lacto and maybe some other bacteria/brett. The older versions used bulb-shaped bottles with a long narrow neck that would get plugged with yeast/bacteria during conditioning.

The Trios and lacto didn’t dry it out too much … not like a normal berliner weiss. I think my batches stalled around 1.008 or so. I didn’t add oats or other dextrines. In fact, after trying it a few times I’m not a fan of adding oats to brett beers. Brett kills head as it is, and I feel that oats only make it worse. I made a couple batches of the trois/lacto beers that were just pilsner and wheat, with maybe a couple ounces of honey malt. Another batch was darker with a more complex grain bill, but I also added fruit and some other things too.

went ahead and tried this with a simple grain bill 50/50 MO and Pale Ale, 15-20 grains of roasted barley for color, 1# of rolled oats (50% added during mash, 50% added during sparge), galaxy hops @ 60 minutes, and another addition at flameout.

Lacto pitched cold at 65, warmed up to 78* for 5 days. Dropped back down to 65*, pitched BRY-97 (Danstar’s Chico). Going to let it go for another 14 days while I’m on vacation (!). Of course, didn’t measure gravity, trusting in my bugs. Will post tasting results.

Jamils pitch yeast first then bugs never worked decent for me. I always pitch bugs right in primary.
Sour take time to develop plain and simple, rushing it gets you one dimensional flavors I have found.

Most sours of mine are done in 6months to 1 year. I have a few that I have kept around even longer but deffinatly could have been bottle or kegged much earlier.

THe said process can be done but not sure how much faster it is going to be vs quality

Right, the brewer who spoke in the podcast said that it yields a ‘cleaner’ sourness as you basically getting lactic acid from the lactobacillus and then your typical yeast esters/phenols. He did make the distinction that he was not advocating making sour beers in 2 weeks, as the lactic acid will round out after a few months of aging.

As the zen master said, “We’ll see.”

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