Sour by acidulated malt

Has anyone used acidulated malt to create a sour beer? I was going through old “Sunday Sessions” and listed to the one with Ithaca brewery and I believe he mentioned one of them being sour just through the use of acidulated malt. I realize you could do the same thing by just adding back lactic acid but wheres the fun in that. If you were to use acid malt wouldn’t that effect your conversion if it was contributing enough to actually make the beer sour? Would you add the acid malt towards the end of the mash so most conversion is done? Anyone done this?

I’ve done full mashes and steeped with it in extract beers. I’ve done up to 10% in farmhouses and a gose, came out nicely, and seems to age REALLY well. Its tough to gauge how much sourness you want over the internet, but Thomas Weyermann has actually suggested adding up to a half cup of heavily ground acid malt DURING FERMENTATION to develop a lactic acidity.

I’ve actually heard they use 1-5% in the mash for Guinness.

IME, the 1% for 0.1 pH “rule” holds well in the normal mash pH range - in other words, to drop the pH by 0.1, you add 1% of the total grist weight in acid malt. If you went to 10% acid malt, you would probably want to add maybe half of it in the mash and then the other half, along with any darker malts, 20 minutes before the sparge.

You can set this up in bru’nwater and play with the malt amounts to find out the proper percentage of the acid malt in the main mash.

I use Ez water calc they have a section for acid malt…I have looked at Bruin’water is it much better? Also I have a few extra pounds of acid malt coming, needed some for a wheat wine I was going to brew two weeks ago. I want to do a all pilsner malt beer with Trios and lacto then add peaches or peach juice. I was thinking about doing a dummy run with the acid malt and wlp001. I realize the two beers will be completely different I just think it would be a good drink either way.

[quote=“Mike Chapman”]I have looked at Bruin’water is it much better?[/quote]I think it is - I get very close to the estimated pH with it.

I would agree. My beers have turned out much better since I started using this program.

From my experience (and I’m not a scientist), I would agree with this as it relates to a “normal” mash. However, from experience I don’t think this “rule” holds up outside of the normal pH range. A few years ago I tried adding 1.5+ pounds of acid malt (some during the mash, some after conversion) to bring the pH down to berliner weiss levels (3.3 or so? can’t remember). I followed this rule but it got no where near that low.

In my opinion, lactic acid is a lot easier to work with if you are trying to make a cheater sour beer, and/or to drastically drop the pH. You can add it to taste after fermentation is done.

Also, if you’re interested, I recently did a bw using only trios and lactobacillus. It’s still aging, but samples taste awesome. Since you’re using bugs anyway, I’d recommend this approach.

Did you ferment with a “normal” strain first and secondary with brett/bugs? I like the idea of doing a all brett fermentation.

For this berliner weiss, I added no other yeast. I grew separate starters (at separate temperatures) for the trios and lacto. I then cooled the wort to about 100F and pitched the lacto. Let it cool overnight and pitched the brett the next morning at 68F. The gravity appears to haves stalled at about 1.009, so it’s not a thin as other berliners. But the flavors are delightful.

Sounds good. What kind of, if any pitching rate did you use for brett? Or does it matter? I have noticed that the white labs vials are much lower then the common strains.

I didn’t calculate pitching rates on this one, but I made my starters in 1/2 gallon growlers, with a little headspace, so approximately 1.5 liters each. Fermented the lacto at about 100, the brett at room temperature, for 1 week. Pitched them into ~ 5.5 gallons of 1.038 wort. I’ve made brett starters when I’m using it as a primary strain, but when I’m using it as a secondary strain with sac yeast I don’t bother with a starter.