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Sour Ale Question

In the Brewing TV episode on Sour Ales, Dawson made a sour beer from a NB Caribou Slobber kit, which has 35 ibus. Would a beer with such relatively high bitterness develop sourness with age?

What other kits would be good as a sour beer?

That’s a pretty good question and I’m just getting into this sour beer business (my first is bubbling away in the primary) but I was also under the impression that bitterness is bad as well. Maybe it will work because it is the guts as he called them from a few previous batches meaning that there is so much funky stuff that is going into the secondary that it will overpower any hop flavor.

Based on that episode, I tried the same thing with a split batch of honey brown. I actually just bottled it on Monday. I’m very concerned with how it turned out. I pitched it directly onto the “guts” of my previous Kreik. After 4 days, there were no signs of fermentation so I gambled and added a packet of US-05. By the next day there was a kraussen forming. At 1 month it was fairly sour but had a “bite” to it. At 3 months, much more sour, same “bite” and had some cherry notes. I needed the carboy so now at 6 months I had to make the decision to dump or bottle. I chose to bottle without tasting. I’ll open the first one in another 4 months and make my decision.

^How old were the Kriek guts out of curiosity? And what do you mean by bite?

Hop bitterness goes down with age, so by the time your sour gets ready (9mths or more) the bitterness will hopefully be lower and the sour will be out front. I don’t think sour and bitter are complementary either. You could always brew the Slobber kit with half the bittering addition.

A blonde ale or cream ale would make a decent lambic or kriek. A Northern English brown ale or Belgian dubbel will approximate a Flanders red or Flanders brown depending on how sour youlet it get. I wouldn’t go over 20IBU on any of them. I use aged hops on my lambic and Flanders red, those things have a very interesting aroma.

Hops or IBUs can hinder lacto production, so there could be some impact even before the hops begin to fade. I agree that sour and bitterness don’t always go together, but I think brett and bitterness can work. I had a very delicious belgian IPA with brett recently.

I was thinking of dry-hopping my Berliner Funk-a-weissen (brewed with Jolly Pumpkin dregs) with chinook 7 days before bottling–if only for the aroma, I think it could a lot.

The cake or guts were about a year maybe a little less. I’m going off of memory right now. the “bite” is hard to explain. Kind of an astringent bite under the sour. It could have been now that I think of it, hop bitterness. I didn’t find the honey brown to be bitter at all but I love my IPA’s and it might have been just enough to throw off the balance. I’m also a little scared that there may have been a secondary infection soley due to the apparent lag time from pitching and when I added the new yeast. If I were to do it again, I’d probably pitch some yeast, and let it get going for a while before I pitched on the cake. That or add extra yeast right away.
FWIW, I’ve been brewing just under a year and I still have a lot to learn.

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