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Sour Bottling Time

Well, it has been about a year and a half since I brewed my first sour. It’s mostly a red with Roselare, oak, sour cherries and a big shot of lactobacillus. I gave it an extra vial of lacto when I added the cherries a few weeks ago. My question is in terms of bottle conditioning, am I going to need to repitch some yeast when I prime since it has been so long or do you think that there’s enough going on in there to just prime it and let it rock?

Also, I haven’t tasted it since I added the cherries. Prior to that it had a great cherry pie funk going on but not as much sourness as I had hoped for. In anticipation of insufficient sourness, I bought a bottle of lactic acid to boost that if need be. If I end up needing to add it, will it effect bottle conditioning? Should I add it now and then repitch and prime at bottling time to give it a chance to settle out?

Any answers are much appreciated. I love sours but I don’t know enough about their bottling process to feel confident enough that it will turn out correctly. I hate to think I waited a year and a half to screw it up now!

I recommend yes— here’s why.
The bugs that survive the “steel cage match” that is a mixed fermentation beer will sometimes produce off-flavors as part of refermentation.
I have done it both ways… sometimes, it comes out fine, but I’ve had had other times where the beer developed rather intense diacetyl in the bottle, which I assume is from pediococcus. Better to add some wine yeast or ale yeast or brett at bottling time to be safe, especially after a long fermentation. You won’t be sorry you did, but you might be sorry if you didn’t.

[quote=“Wahoo”]I recommend yes— here’s why.
The bugs that survive the “steel cage match” that is a mixed fermentation beer will sometimes produce off-flavors as part of refermentation.
I have done it both ways… sometimes, it comes out fine, but I’ve had had other times where the beer developed rather intense diacetyl in the bottle, which I assume is from pediococcus. Better to add some wine yeast or ale yeast or brett at bottling time to be safe, especially after a long fermentation. You won’t be sorry you did, but you might be sorry if you didn’t.[/quote]

That will clean itself up though, the bottle shock can happen with wine or ale yeast to.
It may go quickly and it may take forever. Bottling sours is not like bottling an ale 2 weeks or so carbed and drink it may get sick again and go through some more changes etc…

I’d let it go a few months on the cherries and then decide if its sour enough. It should be. Then you can add some Sacch yeast and bottle.

+1 I missed that you only had it on cherries for a few weeks. It might not even be safe to bottle yet

[quote=“grainbelt”][quote=“Wahoo”]I recommend yes— here’s why.
The bugs that survive the “steel cage match” that is a mixed fermentation beer will sometimes produce off-flavors as part of refermentation.
I have done it both ways… sometimes, it comes out fine, but I’ve had had other times where the beer developed rather intense diacetyl in the bottle, which I assume is from pediococcus. Better to add some wine yeast or ale yeast or brett at bottling time to be safe, especially after a long fermentation. You won’t be sorry you did, but you might be sorry if you didn’t.[/quote]

That will clean itself up though, the bottle shock can happen with wine or ale yeast to.
It may go quickly and it may take forever. Bottling sours is not like bottling an ale 2 weeks or so carbed and drink it may get sick again and go through some more changes etc…[/quote]

Right, I’ve noticed that… but I’d like to help it go quickly, and if possible, avoid it altogether.

[quote=“Wahoo”][quote=“grainbelt”][quote=“Wahoo”]I recommend yes— here’s why.
The bugs that survive the “steel cage match” that is a mixed fermentation beer will sometimes produce off-flavors as part of refermentation.
I have done it both ways… sometimes, it comes out fine, but I’ve had had other times where the beer developed rather intense diacetyl in the bottle, which I assume is from pediococcus. Better to add some wine yeast or ale yeast or brett at bottling time to be safe, especially after a long fermentation. You won’t be sorry you did, but you might be sorry if you didn’t.[/quote]

That will clean itself up though, the bottle shock can happen with wine or ale yeast to.
It may go quickly and it may take forever. Bottling sours is not like bottling an ale 2 weeks or so carbed and drink it may get sick again and go through some more changes etc…[/quote]

Right, I’ve noticed that… but I’d like to help it go quickly, and if possible, avoid it altogether.[/quote]

If it was just that easy with sours. THey are their own beast and do what they want

I tried it last night and it is beautiful. Sour, a bit of malt, a bit of oak, a great dark and tart cherry flavor. It has been on the cherries for 6 weeks now. I think im ready to bottle tonight. Going to prime and repitch with some champagne yeast.

Why wouldn’t it be safe to bottle?

[quote=“spykeratchet”]I tried it last night and it is beautiful. Sour, a bit of malt, a bit of oak, a great dark and tart cherry flavor. It has been on the cherries for 6 weeks now. I think im ready to bottle tonight. Going to prime and repitch with some champagne yeast.

Why wouldn’t it be safe to bottle?[/quote]

because bugs will continue to work if you have sugars left, then carbing to a certain level and you will have bottle bombs. You should use heavy duty belgain bottle to.
What is your gravity at and has it been stable for at least a month?

Gravity is at 1.007 and holding.

Bottling in 750ML beer bottles accumulated from Cascade and The Bruery mostly. Heavy, thick, clunky bastards. Have the 29MM caps ready to go, will do a wax dip after I am confident that the sample bottles have carbed.

Any advice on how to save the bugs for future use? I normally wash my yeasts and store them in sanitized mason jars but I am not sure how I would go about getting the bacteria. Especially considering that I have to sort out the cherries and oak as well. Just pour it through a sanitized strainer?

[quote=“spykeratchet”]Gravity is at 1.007 and holding.

Bottling in 750ML beer bottles accumulated from Cascade and The Bruery mostly. Heavy, thick, clunky bastards. Have the 29MM caps ready to go, will do a wax dip after I am confident that the sample bottles have carbed.

Any advice on how to save the bugs for future use? I normally wash my yeasts and store them in sanitized mason jars but I am not sure how I would go about getting the bacteria. Especially considering that I have to sort out the cherries and oak as well. Just pour it through a sanitized strainer?[/quote]

That may be fine, and may continue to drop…I don’t know the history of the beer.
Never tried keeping it after the fruit and such sounds messy. You could just dump a litttle of the beer into a .5g jug and keep for inocultaing other beers.

Awesome. Thanks all.

Go for it. Sounds like you’re safe. I’m not even sure bugs convert sugars to CO2.

I just did a tasting of sours for some new people in our brew club. Had a Ducchesse and a Hansens experimental cassis lambic as calibrators, then some of my Flander red, straight lambic, raspberry lambic and currant lambic. I enjoyed them all but it really messes my stomach up the next day.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]Go for it. Sounds like you’re safe. I’m not even sure bugs convert sugars to CO2.

I just did a tasting of sours for some new people in our brew club. Had a Ducchesse and a Hansens experimental cassis lambic as calibrators, then some of my Flander red, straight lambic, raspberry lambic and currant lambic. I enjoyed them all but it really messes my stomach up the next day.[/quote]
Huh? Bugs don’t eat sugars?

Sure they eat carbs but do they produce CO2? Not everything that can metabolize carbs is doing anaerobic fermentation. I don’t know about lactobacillus or pediococcus. Certainly Brett does.

Edited to add: looks like the bacteria mostly convert sugar to lactic acid rather than CO2 and ethanol.

Brett will continue to work on the sugars, but most of the sugars should be consumed after a year of fermentation unless this is a high gravity beer, which most sours are not. Acetobacter is one of the main souring agents as well. Throwing in more laco is not going to produce that character. You have to let it get some exposure to oxygen. I did one sour by putting plastic wrap over the carboy opening for a couple of months, and one by putting it in a corny keg and leaving the pressure relief valve open. They both came out nice, but I eventually blended them with some fresh,oak aged, beer at bottling time. I think I added fresh yeast and you should too if you don’t want to have to rebottle at a later date.

You don’t want acetobacter a little is ok in some style. You will get oxygen in through bb’s and buckets if using glass you still get oxygen through airlock. Blending beer back in you still have to let it ferment out.

If the comparisons to glass carboys that BB puts on their website are correct, you should get about the same amount of oxygen transfer from plastic and glass carboys. It’s all getting in through the airlock or around the stopper.

It’s not the same buckets let s ton of oxygen in. Check out Raj Apate info on oxygen infusion between vessels.

The number 1 reason I ding sour reds in a competition is that they are missing the acetic character. I have had a lot of Belgian commercial reds and they all have it. The ones that are sweeter and less sour are definitely the ones I don’t buy again. It can also be over done. I think some of the La Folie examples are over the top. Of course Berliner Weisse does not have it, but that is not the style being discussed here.

Yes. My blending was a blend of sour beers and an oak aged beer that was on the oak for a couple of months. Blending in an equal amount of fresh wort would certainly cause bottle bombs.

It does not matter how you get the oxygen in there, you just need some for the acetic character, and you don’t want any insects or debris getting in your fermentation vessel while it develops and ages.

Our club has a few bourbon barrels. They have all made good sour beers. Most of the guys in on the barrel program brew and primary ferment a new beer to add to the barrel when they pull out some beer to be bottled or kegged. You can keep your bugs going, but you have to keep them fed by putting a new beer on them.

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