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Kettle souring

I’m away from my brewery for awhile and have to quench my brewing bug by thinking about brewing and designing recipes. One thing that I would like to do is try some sour recipes. I don’t particularly like sours yet but I have enjoyed one here and there. This is something I can try in a small batch inside when it’s really cold out. One way I was thinking was a kettle sour using a hot plate and probe taped to my pot to maintain temperature for souring. Another thing I thought about was souring the mash using a coffee urn. I’m leaning towards the kettle because I have an 8gallon stainless I rarely use so it would be perfect for my experiment. Mash,boil,sour,ferment in the same vessel. This would be a beer I bottle. The problem is never made one so I’m reaching out to you guys for tips of how and how not. Would like to preempt any obvious mistakes

I was on a web site called sour beer blog. That may be a great place to read up on stuff until Pork chop weighs in. I’ll bet Pork chop will be all giddy, git one of the main peeps to try his beloved sours! Good luck! Sneezles61

Oh he’ll be here! Actually surprised his radar hasn’t picked up on the word ‘sour’ being mentioned on here! :joy:

I reached out to him a couple weeks ago on kettle souring. I will wait for him as I don’t want to mislead you on any misunderstanding on my part.

Still need to get around to this.

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Maybe not a very good presentation of sours, yet I tried lieninkugals garten party brew(I know I’ve misspelled that) and I was just not good with it. Its a sour offering. Not dissing sours, but I can’t git me tongue to embrace that style… Sorry Pork chop… sorry, Sneezles61

I’m a bit behind on the Basic Brewing Radio podcast, but James Spencer has been talking about leaving his electric BIAB system on overnight to kettle sour.

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I wouldn’t go the sour mash route - your old kettle will be perfect. Also, you don’t need to maintain temperatures if you go the lacto plantarum route with goodbelly or omega lacto blend. Boil, chill to about 90°F, pitch the lacto, and put the cover on. Let it free fall to room temperature. Should be ready in about 18 hours or so.

In a ordering screwup a company sent my wife a two year supply of probiotic pills. I have two cases of these. How do you recommend I start them

What’s the brand name? Most of the probiotics work great. I use Swanson lacto p tabs, it takes 3 in a 1-liter starter or about 8 direct pitched into a 5 gallon batch. They probably have several LABs in them, so they should work fine. If you can remember the brand name, though, we could check pretty quickly.

Now what

Should work fine! I’ve heard that some strains of streptococcus may be able to produce isovaleric acid, so that might be the only slight concern. I’d start with about 6 of the capsules in a liter of 1.040 wort. It shouldn’t get any kind of krausen, but should get tart after a few days and have a microbial haze.

Do you have a pH meter?

I have a meter. I’m planning a 3 gallon batch using my Weis grain bill

I like to go 50-50 pils/wheat, but any ratio less than that works well. The wheat brings a bready/doughy note that I like with the lactic acid.

Before you pitch the lacto, it’s a good idea to adjust the pH to 4.5. This will keep any spoilage microbes at bay, and will stop the lacto from breaking down the foam retention proteins. Most commercial sours have absolutely no head retention, but adjusting pH and the wheat provides for a nice pillowy foam on the beer.

If you want it tart, maybe shoot for boiling once pH is down to 3.5-3.6. If you want it Berliner Weiss sour, the plantarum should drop it to 3.2 or less. That’s SOUR!

No hops during the souring period, but whirlpool and dry hops are awesome in a lacto sour. Just keep it as flavor and aroma, bitterness clashes with sour.

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So no bittering hops. What about fruit ? Specifically cherries

I don’t use bittering hops. But a small amount would be ok, just use them when you boil after souring.

Cherries are great. Pretty much any fruit works well. Mango, pineapple, citrus, raspberry… I like to use a small amount of dry hops to compliment whatever fruit addition.

What are you using for yeast?

I was leaning towards a saison yeast

The low pH really suppresses ester formation, but a yeast with some character makes a more interesting beer. Clean yeasts are kind of boring. So that’s a great choice! Also, kölsch yeast works great, too.

I wonder how a lager yeast would work for this?? Hmm…

I’m in love with Hop Sours, rather than clashing I like that they have a bitter hoppy front and a nice sour finish that nullifies any bitter aftertaste. To me its not a boxing match of the two but rather a relay race of the hops passing the baton to the sour. Although I have no idea how to achieve this. How do you adjust PH and would it be an issue using distilled water?

Oh absolutely, hoppy sours are fantastic! The thing to keep in mind is that the hops in this style of beer should all be late addition or whirlpool. You simply cannot make a hoppy sour beer without souring the wort prior to adding hops. Hops stop the lacto dead in their tracks.

I’m honestly not a fan of the kettle sour method. But the exception is hoppy sours. Sour the wort, boil, and then add an obnoxiously large whirlpool addition once the wort is down to 180°F or so. Keep the IBUs to no more than 10-15 or so to keep it from clashing with the sourness. Juicy hops, mosaic, citra, Nelson, azacca… delicious! The world needs more hoppy sours.

Thanks for the input I want my first 5 gallon batch to be a hop sour attempt, what exactly is whirlpool? I’m assuming its heavily stirring in a pitch of hops after the boil but before chilling?

You got it… assuming you’re using an immersion chiller, cut the flame like normal and chill for a few minutes to drop temp below 180°F. Then add a few ounces of your favorite hops, let them steep/stir occasionally for a good 15-20 minutes or so. Lowering your kettle temperature to below 180 preserves some of the volatile compounds in the hops. Even better if you add another charge of hops after 15 minutes and steep for another 15-20 minutes. Just use brewing software to make sure you’re keeping the ibu below 15-ish, although lowering the kettle temp will minimize the bitterness of the hops.

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