Belgian sour beers

Discussion in 'Brewing Photos & Videos' started by Basquebrewing, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. Basquebrewing

    Basquebrewing New Member

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    I live in an area where it is hard to buy anything more exotic than a Bavarian wheat beer and the odd craft brews that are springing up. So ordered a selection of Belgian sours and a few British ales oof the web as a bit of 'research' ;) oh and a Sierra Nevada pale thrown in for good measure. Never tried the Lambic or Gueuze style before and dont know what to make of them. Definitely an acquired taste. What is your opinion, worth the one year or more fermenting time?
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Probably.... No. I can kettle-sour in 12 hours. Oh, yes, according to the purists I give up some "complexity" doing it that way but I get a cleaner sour beer. You can innoculate your kettle sour with sourdough starter, yogurt, a few grains of malt, even natural sourkraut and get different results. I'm not responsible if one of those turns out smelling of sweatsocks and barnyards....
     
  3. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    fully agree with Nosy. add to that list, the Belgians use old stale hops for those beers.

    I've had one sour mash turn out awesome, super clean tartness and almost wine like. In the short 3 weeks it was in the bottle, I also noticed a really big change in the intensity and complexity of the sourness

    and then one turn out smelling like puke (which I promptly dumped). Pretty sure it had to do with the amount of empty space in the mash tun.

    Personally, I'd lean on souring in a metal kettle, since that's going to get heated to boiling anyway, to kill off the little buggers after you're done with them. Otherwise, you'll need some dedicated equipment so you don't cross contaminate with your "regular" beers
     
  4. 7 Slot Brewing

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    Doing a sour mash in your normal cooler mash tun should not affect future beers. There is not enough time in a normal mash for those bugs to take a hold and sour your beer, besides you end up boiling to kill anything anyways after the mash. The downfall to the cooler is the ability to keep it warm long enough for the bugs to work. Upright Brewing in Portland did several of their mashes when they were starting out using this method and had good success.

    We have a local brewery that does a sour mash (overnight with yogurt) to create their Berliner Weiss. Which in and of itself is not an overly complex beer, so would be perfect for this.
     
  5. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    That's a fair point about the mash tun. If you had a plastic fermentor though, best to get a dedicated one for the wild bugs.
    I recently got a pretty big mylar blanket and am tinkering with a setup involvinga plastic tub, baking sheet, and one of the our old comforters (which is also currently the dog's). I'll still probably have to heat it sometime before the sour mash is done, but it should keep the right temp for a little longer at least
     
  6. 7 Slot Brewing

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    agree 100% since they are cheap.

    I like this idea. Except using a pizza stone as opposed to a baking sheet. You could even put a heating pad under the stone (be careful since possible fire hazard) to help heat it.

    excerpt from SunBeam:
    The surface temperature on all our resistance heating pads, except Soft Touch®, is a maximum of 135°F - 140°F. If you use one of our Soft Touch® or HeatSenseTM heating pads, you may choose a temperature from the following settings: Lo: 110°F Medium: 138°F Hi: 160°F Health at Home heating pads are engineered to never exceed 176°F, the temperature limit set by Underwriters Laboratory
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    For heating/temperature control for Belgians: Put your fermentor in a water bath and put an aquarium heater in the water bath. They're very accurate - they have to be for fish. Makes a great Saison fermenting at/around 80 degrees....
     
  8. Yeast Head

    Yeast Head New Member

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    Chiming in here. I just bottled my first Berliner Weisse that used the White Labs 630 BW blend. It turned out well for BW and I'm currently bottle conditioning it. Has a slight hint of sour which took over 2 months in the secondary for it to come out. Quite pleased with it actually.

    Right behind this BW is an experiment where I used some home made yogurt to do a kettle sour. I first made a starter using the a teaspoon of yogurt and then added it to the kettle for an overnight incubation in a warm oven. I was using a small 3 gallon metal kettle as to avoid "bug" contamination. So far no smell of sweaty socks or anything to indicate its bad. I plan on taste testing this one over the weekend and deciding if I should dump it or bottle it. I'm even considering added the yeast/bacteria dregs from the BW if it's kinda "meh."
     
  9. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    That's a coincidence, I did a kettle sour recently and brewed on Wednesday. Had a real clean, slightly fruity, vinegar smell to it, similar to the first time I did it.
    My second attempt didn't turn out so well, definitely smelled a bit like puke. That batch had a big amount of empty space which I think led to the wrong type of bacteria growing.
    I haven't worked up the courage to taste it before I boil the wort though.
    Also, for what it's worth, I've used wlp001 on the first batch and wlp008 on this last one.
     
  10. EbonHawk

    EbonHawk New Member

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    Hmmm... I recently got to try a Belgian sour, called Duchesse de Bourgogne. It was singularly unique to anything I had tried previously, although I have tasted some lambics and a couple of other Belgian sours... But if I could reproduce this one, I think I'd like to try it. It was outstanding. The bartender tried to talk me out of it, but I already knew what it was like and when I started tossing around the correct terminology, he shrugged and said, "Ok, but it takes a special kind of beer drinker to enjoy this one." I said, well, I'm in luck, because I am EXTREMELY special. :lol:

    Glad to know there are some around here that are knowledgeable on the subject, I might be hitting you guys up for some advice in the future.
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If you're kettle souring, keep the air out. Float plastic wrap on the wort or blanket with CO2 if you can. Air allows acetobacter to grow, giving you the vinegar smell. Lactobacillus - the one you want - loves heat so if you can keep your wort at or just below 120 degrees F, it will sour faster and cleaner. The vomit/sweat socks/generally nasty smells come from enteric bacteria - sometimes those nasty scents will boil out, sometimes not. They require oxygen, too, so if you boil the wort first, chill it with minimal splashing and keep oxygen from the wort, you shouldn't get much of them either. The thing I love most about kettle souring is no chance of contamination - everything in contact with future worts is heated and held hot for a while, killing off all the lacto and other bugs.
     
  12. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    that is really ingenious on the plastic wrap, i'll have to co-opt that idea.

    i second you on the no cross contamination part. needing to have basically a separate setup for any lacto, brett, etc. beers is a bit of a turn off for me
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I'm no opponent of spontaneous or wild fermentations, I just want to keep them to my cheeses and sauerkrauts.
     
  14. Marc ook

    Marc ook New Member

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    It's a Flemish Red, similar to Rodenbach, check out my recipe for a pointer:http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/embed/281235

    Took quite a long time to ferment, but is has developed a very authentic Flemish Red aroma.
     

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